If you want to learn how to draw people, you may search for a tutorial that will teach you everything you need. Unfortunately, this is not possible—drawing human characters is a very complex topic, composed of many smaller topics like gesture, anatomy, details, facial expressions, techniques, and others.
So instead of creating one huge tutorial that would be too big to swallow, I gathered different tutorials all in one place so that you can try them one by one, learning all the necessary elements at your own pace.
Figure Drawing Tutorials
The biggest difference between human characters and artificial objects is that the former are alive and moving, creating various poses depending on their action, personality, and mood. This is something you should start your drawing with, because even the most anatomically realistic human will look like a doll or a sculpture if you miss the gesture.
In drawing, a gesture is a set of basic, nicely flowing lines that define the pose of the character without including any details. A good gesture drawing should show the energy and action of the character, without actually showing the character itself. That's why you should learn it first, and only then focus on more detailed things like the actual muscles.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Learning to See and Draw Energy
What is the energy of a human pose? In this tutorial you will learn how to see it in people around you and how to capture it with quick sketches.
Quick Tip: Create Dynamic Poses Using Gesture Drawing
In this short tutorial, you will learn all the basics of drawing gestures—perfect for an introduction to this subject!
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Basic Body Proportions
Proportions are the key to correct anatomy. Without good proportions, even the most realistic muscles will not make your characters look realistic. In this tutorial, you will learn what proportions you must use to create a convincing human silhouette.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Balance and Movement
Humans don't move their body parts in a random way—there are certain rules that lead to specific kinds of motion, and once you learn them, you'll be able to draw realistic poses for your characters.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Flexibility and Joint Limitations
Bones define the proportions of the body, and joints limit the motion of each bone. You must learn these limits to create natural poses for every action you need.
How to Draw a Stick Figure: a Complex Guide
This is not a joke! You can learn all the basics of human proportions and poses just by drawing slightly developed stick figures. It's a fun and educational tutorial that you will love even if you don't believe in your skills at all!
Dynamic Gesture Drawing
If learning from videos is your thing, you should try this course to learn all about drawing dynamic gestures. These 15 lessons will help you really understand what's it all about!
How to Draw Gesture – Step by Step
You may know how to draw gestures, but how exactly can you practice in order to become more efficient? In this article, Stan Prokopenko will explain his own tricks and exercises you can try.
Quickposes: Timed Practice
One of the most popular and effective ways of practicing gestures is to draw them during a timed exercise: optimally, 30 seconds for one photo. The limited amount of time forces you to focus on what's crucial in the silhouette, helping you develop economical lines. This great site will help you with this exercise, showing you whole sets of various photos and counting the time for you.
CroquisCafe: Figure Drawing Resources
Proportions and gestures are best learned through practice—many, many sketches of various people in various poses. This library of high-quality resources will give you exactly the materials you need. It's like a whole set of figure drawing lessons that you can attend without leaving your home!
5 Simple Tips for Improving Your Figure Drawing Skills
How do real artists practice figure drawing? You can learn it from this article to make your own self-learning process more efficient and less chaotic
How to Draw Human Anatomy
Humans have bodies made of bones, ligaments, and muscles. You can't ignore them all just because they're hidden under the skin—the skin wouldn't have any shape without them!
So learning what the muscles look like, where they are attached and what they do is crucial to creating realistic human bodies, especially if you want to be able to do it without a reference. Your knowledge of anatomy should be your own personal reference that you keep in your mind all the time!
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Advanced Body Proportions
Humans are different, and while they all have similar proportions, certain deviations can and must be applied to create various characters. In this tutorial, you will learn how you can change the proportions while still staying on the realistic side.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Muscles and Other Body Mass
When someone says "anatomy", muscles are the first thing that comes to mind, and for a good reason: though hidden under the skin, they make the shape of the body. In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw them in a convincing way, without memorizing complex anatomy diagrams. Bonus part: you'll learn about fat, too!
How to Draw Different Body Types for Males and Females
If you want to draw various characters, you need to learn all about achieving various silhouettes according to the rules of human anatomy. The more you know, the freer you'll be as an artist!
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Drawing Different Ages
There's no "default" age for a human body—we change from birth to our last days. In this tutorial, you will learn what changes happen to our bodies during the aging process, so that you can create characters at various stages of their lives.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Additional Tips
When artists learn human anatomy, with time they discover certain tricks that come from the holistic knowledge of the human body. Here, our author Joumana Medlej will show you her tricks!
BioDigital: Human Visualization Platform
When you learn anatomy from various tutorials, you may find certain things confusing, as various authors simplify the subject in different ways. If you really want to learn advanced anatomy, you should go right to the source: for example, this amazing 3D model of a human. You can rotate it and remove muscles to see their full shape and how they connect to the bones. A free account is required to see the model.
Zygote Body: 3D Anatomy Viewer
This site offers a different model of anatomy, and it's perfect if you find something confusing in the previous one—the comparison will help you understand what's really going on. This model is also simpler to use, if you find BioDigital too complex.
GetBodySmart: Virtual Dissection
3D models of human anatomy are awesome, but sometimes they're too much—sometimes you want to analyze the muscles in a more traditional way. This site has really helped me understand the individual muscles, explaining what wasn't completely clear in the 3D models. These neat diagrams let you perform your personal dissection, with a focus on one area of the body at a time.
How to Draw a Head and Face
A human face is tricky to draw—we are extremely good at recognizing when something is wrong about the proportions. Unfortunately, we are not as good at pointing out exactly what is wrong and what has to be changed to make the face realistic. That's why you should learn this topic very carefully. If you do it properly, you'll be able to draw completely new, realistic faces from imagination!
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Basics of the Face
Start with the basics—what are the proportions of the face? How do you rotate the head without losing them? You'll solve the most popular beginner's mistakes in this tutorial.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Advanced Facial Features
Ready for something more advanced? In this tutorial, you will learn how to give the face a unique look: how to apply gender, age, ethnicity, and other factors.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Mastering Facial Expressions
Humans are masters of facial expressions—we are capable of showing so many emotions! This comprehensive guide will show you how to capture them all, in both subtle and exaggerated ways.
Quick Tip: How to Draw Facial Expressions to Show Emotion
Do you need something simpler than the huge guide above? This short tutorial will quickly guide you through the basics of emotions.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Drawing Characters Consistently
If you want to create a comic story, you need to be able to draw your characters consistently, and this is not easy! In this tutorial, you will learn how to master this skill.
The Differences Between Male and Female Portraits
There are features in our faces that we like to differentiate as "feminine" and "masculine" (though they're not always linked to the actual biological sex). Once you learn them, you'll be able to make the sex clear by exaggerating the differences, or create more diverse characters by mixing these features in both sexes.
How to Draw Lips and a Mouth
If you want to draw realistic lips on your characters, you need to understand how they work. In this tutorial, you will learn the anatomy behind the look of lips, which will help you draw them in every pose and shape.
How to Draw a Nose
Noses can add a lot of character to a human face, but to draw a nose properly, you need to understand its construction first. In this tutorial, you will learn the anatomy of the nose, as well as how to simplify and rotate it.
How to Draw Ears
You can try to hide the ears under the hair, but there will come a time, sooner or later, when you'll have to leave them bare. Learn how to draw them and you'll never have to make your haircuts conform to them! This tutorial includes both anatomy and step-by-step instructions.
DOs & DON'Ts: How to Draw Realistic Hair Easy for Beginners Step by Step
Hair may seem intuitive to draw at first, but it's really not. In this video, you'll learn what mistakes beginners make when drawing hair and how to avoid them.
How to Draw the Head and Face / Portrait with Steve Huston
Even if you can't afford art school, it doesn't mean you can't attend real, professional classes. This 3-hour video with an expert is free and available to anyone!
How to Draw the Head From Any Angle
Even after you learn all the proportions and features of the face, it can be very hard to keep them correct on a rotated head. In this tutorial, you'll learn a useful method to draw the head in any view.
How to Draw Hair Step by Step
In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw various basic haircuts in a simple way. Perfect for beginners!
How to Draw a Realistic Eye
A human eye is a great subject to draw—if you do it correctly, you have a beautiful drawing standing out right on its own, without having to draw the rest of the face. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to draw a fully realistic eye step by step.
Observations and Tips for Drawing Realistic Eyes
How can you draw realistic eyes all the time? Why are they so tricky, and what mistakes do beginners usually make? You'll learn it all from this article.
What You Need to Consider When Drawing Hairstyles From Scratch
Hairstyles are tricky, but only when you keep guessing instead of learning! This tutorial will give you a good foundation for all your drawn haircuts.
Line of Action: Face & Expression Practice
Practice makes progress, so if you want to make progress in drawing facial expressions, you need to draw a lot of them. This site will help you by providing a timed exercise with a whole library of references.
How to Draw Hands and Feet
Time for the biggest nightmare of artists: drawing hands and feet. But there's no need to be afraid—they're only scary when you don't know how to draw them, and these tutorials will help you with that. From anatomy to poses and details, they have all you need. You'll never have to hide the hands behind the back again!
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: How to Draw Hands
In this tutorial, you will learn the anatomy of hands, how to simplify them, and what to do to make them look natural. You'll also learn about poses and various shapes of hands.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: How to Draw Feet
Here, you'll start with anatomy to understand the construction of human feet, and then you'll learn how to simplify them with special tricks. You'll also learn how to solve popular problems that lead to unnatural feet and toes.
How to Draw Hand Bones – Anatomy for Artists
It can be very useful for an artist to think of hands as a category of a skeleton. If you learn how to draw them this way, you'll never have problems with creating natural poses again in any view!
How to Draw HANDS – Details for Realistic Hands!
But hands are not only bones, and their look is not only about the correct pose. In this tutorial, you will learn certain details that make hands realistic.
How to Draw Feet with Structure – Foot Bone Anatomy
Seeing the bones inside the feet makes drawing them so much easier! In this tutorial, you will learn how to simplify the anatomy of the foot to a special construction, easy to memorize and replicate.
Quick Tip: How to Draw a Hand Based on Geometric Shapes
Do you want to draw a hand quickly, without focusing too much on anatomy? This tutorial is just for you!
Line of Action: Hands & Feet Practice
Even if you understand all the theory behind correct hands and feet, nothing beats proper, regular practice. This site will give you a chance to practice drawing hands and feet in a timed exercise.
How to Draw Cartoon People
The cartoon style can be very appealing to beginners, because it offers clear, simple rules and a guarantee of achieving a neat end result—as long as you follow them. However, you shouldn't think of cartoon drawings as something for children and not real artists. Art isn't only about realism—art can be a great medium to express your vision, to communicate something, and if the cartoon style helps you do this more efficiently, then you shouldn't feel ashamed to use it at all!
Our instructor Carlos Gomes Cabral prepared a whole series on how to draw in cartoon style, with a focus on drawing cartoon people.
Cartoon Fundamentals: How to Draw a Cartoon Face Correctly
Starting with the face can be a great, non-stressful exercise, as you only focus on one part of the body. And you can have so much fun with all the variety of facial features and expressions!
Cartoon Fundamentals: Create Emotions From Simple Changes in the Face
Speaking of expressions, in this tutorial you will learn how to create them in a simple yet effective way.
Cartoon Fundamentals: How to Draw a Cartoon Body
Drawing a whole cartoon body is not much harder than drawing the face, once you know the way. As a bonus, you can learn how to draw cartoon animal bodies, too!
Cartoon Fundamentals: How to Create Movement and Action
You can't tell a story without using some action! In this tutorial, you will learn how to add movement to your characters.
Cartoon Fundamentals: How to Draw Cartoon Hands
Hands can be so tricky to draw, but they're a very important element of expressing emotions for cartoon characters. In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw cartoon hands in both simple and dynamic angles.
Cartoon Fundamentals: How to Draw the Female Form
When you learn how to draw cartoon characters, often you're only being shown male ones. In this tutorial, you can learn about the specific features of a female/feminine body to achieve a better variety in your characters.
Cartoon Fundamentals: How to Draw Children
Children are not simply adults on a smaller scale. They have their own special proportions, and in the cartoon style they're supposed to be exaggerated! In this tutorial, you will learn how to do just that.
How to Draw a Chibi
While it's not actually a cartoon style tutorial, it's just as simple—and it gives you so many possibilities to create your own character!
How to Animate People
Animation is nothing but creating a lot of drawings with little changes between them. So once you know how to draw people, it takes just a little step to learn how to animate them! These tutorials will help you take this step painlessly.
Animation for Beginners: How to Animate a Head Turn
How to make the head turn in a smooth way? This tutorial will teach you just that!
How to Animate a Character Throwing a Ball
Action is what animation is all about. Here you'll learn how to create such an action on an example of a character throwing a ball.
Animation for Beginners: How to Animate a Character Walking
It's one of the most popular animation exercises: learn how to make your character walk to the side.
Animation for Beginners: How to Animate a Character Walking From the Front View
Drawing walking towards the viewer is much harder than drawing the side walk, because there's perspective involved. But with this tutorial you'll learn how to do it in no time!
Animation for Beginners: How to Animate a Character Running
Running is a very dynamic motion that can let you employ extreme poses of your character. Learn from this tutorial how to do it properly.
How to Animate Flowing Hair in Toon Boom
In this fun tutorial you'll learn how to create a simple yet realistic animation of flowing hair.
But drawing is not only about what—it's also about how. What tools should you be using for your drawn people? What techniques do you need to use? These tutorials will show you a mix of techniques for various tools and topics.
How to Shade for Complete Beginners
Start with the basics: how to hold the pencil and how to move it to create various shades.
How to Shade & Pencil Shading Techniques
This tutorial will teach you all about shading with pencils—how light and shadow work, how to use different pencils, how to shade smoothly, how to keep the right pressure, and much more!
How to Create a Tonal Portrait Using Pencils
You can create a nice portrait using a black and a white pencil on a toned paper. This tutorial will show you how!
How to Draw a Long-Haired Character Portrait With Color Pencils
If you have some color pencils, you can try this tutorial to learn how to draw beautiful flowing hair.
How to Create a Medieval-Style Female Profile With Ink and Pencils
You can create beautiful things with some ink, as long as you know how to use it. This tutorial will make you familiar with drawing a portrait this way.
How to Draw a Soft, Dreamy, Profile Illustration With Color Pencils
Realism is not the only way to create art. In this tutorial, you'll learn a very special, soft way of shading with color pencils that leads to a unique style.
How to Create a Hand-Drawn Pointillism Portrait
Pointillism is the technique of drawing a whole drawing just with dots instead of lines. If you have problems with lines, or drawing with pencils in general, this may be something you need!
How to Sketch the Human Body With Charcoal
Using charcoal for drawing human figures has been very popular among professional artists and art students for years. In this tutorial, you can learn how to do it on your own!
To sum it up, the skill of drawing people can be divided into many sub-skills:
- drawing techniques
- gesture drawing
- human anatomy
- drawing head and face
- drawing hands and feet
So if it's hard for you to draw a realistic person, don't worry—it's just harder than it looks! I hope this set of tutorials will help you find and overcome your issues with drawing people. Remember, practice makes progress—but only if you know what you're practicing!
And if you're tired of studying such a complex subject, but still want to draw something fun, you can check our easy tutorials that don't require so much dedication. Just follow the steps to get a beautiful end result!
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