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How to draw a body: female

Someone once asked me to do a body tutorial and I thought it was like asking an architect to explain how to draw a building. You get big buildings, small buildings, skyscrapers, shacks, office buildings, homes, theaters, museums, castles, palaces, churches, temples and who knows what else. The human body varies from person to person in the same way. I know a few skyscrapers... And I know a few igloos too.

Poses complicate things, so for this tutorial I went for an easy picture, full frontal body view, with the hands hidden (because I think everyone know that hands are a bit hard to do – what, with those pesky fingers and all).

You'll need a few things for this tutorial:


  1. Pencil and paper (OR computer and tablet, in which case you don't need points 2 and 3)
  2. Ruler
  3. Eraser
  4. A reference picture ( I took mine from the wonderful website)
  5. See Tips and Tricks.

Reference picture:

There are a few things to note about the female body:

  1. Petite shoulders and neckline – on the other hand, men have broad shoulders
  2. Big bottom – unless the woman has a boyish build
  3. Small middle – usually the small middle is exaggerated in comics, cartoons and anime
  4. Overall they're soft and round – no hard muscles or definition like dudes

As with our other pictures, we'll identify our basic shapes first:


Step 1. Draw the basic shapes

a. Draw lightly and don't press too hard. You'll be erasing these lines later on.

b. You might wonder where to start. It does not really matter – start with whatever you are most comfortable with.

I started with the head. Draw a circle somewhere on the page and remember to leave enough room for the whole body to fit under it. It really sucks to run out of paper when three quarters of the picture is done and there's no room for the feet. Trust me. (*facepalm*)

c. You might wonder where a shoulder should go in relation to the head, or where the elbow should go in relation to the shoulder, or where the hip should go in relation to the elbow, or where the knees and feet should go in relation to the hips, etc. This is where guidelines and measurements are useful.

Tip: Base every step in your process on the previous area.

Here's my process:

Step 2. Check your proportions

Look at your reference picture from far away (or squint at it) and see if anything looks weird on your drawing (except the fact that it almost manages to resemble a dead doll's skeleton). Is the butt too big? Is the head too small? Fix anything that looks weird.

Step 3. Make β€œit” human

Hard part is over. Fun time starts in five seconds.

You have your basic wireframe, you know where everything should go. Start erasing some of the wireframe and fix the shapes of the neck, arms, waist, hips, pants and everything else. REFER to your REFERENCE! Or I keel you.

I worked from top to bottom again:

Please refer to the face tutorial on how to go about drawing the face.

Please refer to the wings tutorial on how to go about drawing wings.

The picture seems a bit cartoony – my personal style. Your picture, might turn out more realistic or anime-ish or chibi-ish, depending on your own style. There is no right or wrong when it comes to art-style, so develop your own personal style by playing around and practicing.

"Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best." (- Unknown)

Next time we'll draw a smexy male body. Stay β€œtooned”. ^^

pencildrawing of face with hair

Admin note: I found a cool online course called Pencil Drawing Made Easy that specializes in taking beginners and teaching them how to draw in a realistic style. The course itself is online video, so you can access it from anywhere in the world. I will do a full review of the course soon, but for now I just want you to know that I think it's definitely worth checking out, and you're sure to get better at drawing if you follow the lessons. I'm already learning a lot from it! The course teaches you how to draw ANYTHING realistically in pencil - from onions to hands to hyper realistic portraits. The teacher explains everything really well, so you'll understand exactly what you're doing and why. Click here to check it out!


About The Author:
BarakiEl's favourite things to do include creating digital art, listening to music, playing computer games and spending time with her husband. She works from home as a freelance desktop publisher, colourist and illustrator.
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Posted in: Art by on October 20, 2010 @ 5:44 pm


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