[ A+ ] /[ A- ]

A lot of what makes our work is Design: Designing the picture plane = composition. Designing the form = how we use structure, surface, texture &, lighting!

5 ways to draw people

STRUCTURE. Remember this handout from the start of our classes? It shows the range of techniques for drawing the human body, from abstract gesture, to contour lines, to a simplified skeleton, to the geometric mannequin, to realistic liner rendering.

For our work on structure we’re focusing on the 3rd and 4th drawings here, the anatomical stick figure or simplified skeleton. And the constructive “marvel way”.

I have a few ways I approach using constructive methods in drawing. I fairly universally start at the far left of the sheet, with gesture. But then depending on the challenges of the drawing or sometimes mood, I use a mix of Constructive and Contour drawing to flush out to a figurative or cartoony form.

I cover some of it regarding specific parts of the body, from more realistic studies to silly and distorted cartoony designs in this set of clips! I’m going to add more to the playlist as I create them, and develop some worksheets for this page in the future. And scroll past my clips when you’re done with them to find see some other great youtube based content I’ve dug up on the subject! For those of you who attend my classroom lessons, you know I recomend learning from more than one source! 🙂 Enjoy!

Next! I think Stan Prokopenko has some of the best instructional drawing clips.

He’s really good at covering the basics for beginners so I recomend checking out his stuff for construction. One idea comes up in them that I think I should expond on a little for my students, see my footnote on the right about Tangents before hitting play on the clips bellow.


Done? All clear? Ok, now on with Stan’s show! It’s good stuff, take notes, try everything! He’s very generous with the resources here.

AN ASIDE on Tangents! Before you watch them, a design term I noticed being used idiosyncratically by Stan in the clips is “Tangents“. It comes up in art seemingly referring to different things, but always at its core the same idea.

In the Proko clips Stan refers to line describing the edge of a jaw on a face and other surface contour lines as “Tangents”. It comes out of the structures he uses to build up forms, the Planes, as demonstrated in his clips about “the Robo Bean“, “Mannequinization“, and “The Illusion of Depth“. In this way of thinking about it, a tangent is the point where any two or more planes meet.

Tangents as a wider design concept is worth taking a second to understand as well so let’s do that. To that end check out this slide show by Spencer Goldade. It connects very well with the material we cover in class on composing the picture plane. I’m working on my own general arts entry on the subject still, but I cover it to some extent in this post on page flow in comics page design.

Here’s another great set of demos, these aren’t as slick but still sold stuff by Kirk Shinmoto, doing a classic style of naturalistic constructive drawing.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.