Alright, let’s get started!
The first thing we’ll work on its observation. Look around you. Think about what you are seeing, and then, think what shape does it remind you off. Is it a circle, a square, a rectangle, a diamond, etc…? Anything you want to draw you can separate it in simpler easy shapes. This is the first step of every drawing.
Do this exercise: Try to identify and draw just the shapes in this photo of the New York Skyline.
I’ll give you my take on it.
We might see different shapes, and that’s ok! In this exercise, there is no right and wrong.
I went mainly with squares, as most skyscrapers are when simplified, just big boxes!
Take this other photo and do the same.
It’s a tree, so you can go with a simple triangle and it’s ok!
Constructing a human body. The order of things.
Now, let’s try something a little more difficult: try to find the basic shapes in this photo of my good friend Poty and see what shapes you find.
Try to build his shape in no more than 10-15 shapes.
To draw a human body you don’t need to learn all the names of the muscles and the bones and such, but there are certain basic rules of construction that are universal. To create our first hero or heroine, while there are many different styles you can choose from, I’ll stick (for now) to a more classical semi-realistic style. It’s like the origin story of every superhero where they spend a good chunk of that time learning to master their powers. why? Because you need to learn to walk before you can run 🙂
Ok, so we have a torso, two legs, two arms, and a head. Those are our building blocks. The first thing we’ll do is the torso.
The torso is the largest mass of the body, and it’s connected to the other pieces. The torso is comprised of two parts: the rib cage and the pelvis. The legs attach to the pelvis and the arms and the head attach to the rib cage. That is why you draw the torso first, as it’s movement will determine the position of the other elements.
The rib-cage’s shape in normally an oval and the pelvis is a rectangle, as seen here.
Once we have a torso, we follow by doing the legs. The legs, in most cases (for now we’ll leaving flying and jumping for later), carry off the body’s weight. So to keep our figure grounded, we’ll do the legs second.
The legs are constructed drawing two rectangles (actually cylinders, but I’m getting ahead of myself), connected by a circle in the middle and finishing in a triangle that represents the foot.
Now that we have the legs, we’ll do the arms. The arms help our character interact with other objects of characters, and the hands help express emotion when the face is not visible (a whole article on them down the line).
The arms, like the legs, are two rectangles connected by a circle. But to represent the hands, instead of a triangle we will use a square or box for now. Fingers are three thin cylinders connected by circles. Add an additional circle where the arms meet the torso to represent the shoulders.
Finally the head. Is the smallest part, and as it has the face, it’s where most of the emotion will be shown. But for now, to make it simpler, draw the character without features.
The most basic shape of the head is an oval or a circle.
Ok, so in the photo you can’t see his legs. the basic structure, as I described it, it is similar to the arms.
Try to follow the instructions and do your own basic body shapes and don’t worry if it looks off. It’s ok. We’ll tackle proportions in the next article. In the meanwhile, try to practice what we did earlier with your own photos, you can ask a friend to pose for you and try doing the exercise from a different angle and see what shapes come up! Do not worry or concentrate on the details, try to master the visual analysis and deconstruction onto simple shapes. Once you master that, then the details will follow.