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How to draw a body: male

I didn't want to seem sexist, so here's the male version of female body tutorial. This was actually a lot of fun to draw, since I kind of suck with male bodies. If I could manage a somewhat decent dude, you can too! You can do eet!

What you need before we start:

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)

Reference picture:

There are a few things to note about the male body:
1. Broad shoulders
2. Strong neck, with an Adam's apple, usually.
3. Stronger, better defined arms
4. Body build is not curvy, but rather straight
5. Note the V-shape of the torso

Identify your basic shapes:

Step 1. Draw the basic shapes you identified
Sounds easy, I know... But welcome to hell - if you can call the fusion of maths, measurements and art “hell”.

a. Remember to not press too hard if you are using traditional media.

b. It doesn't matter where you start. I like to start with the head. Draw a circle and go from there.

Note: You could fit 2x “heads+neck” into the torso – this should give you an indication of how tall the upper body should be.
To figure out where the left shoulder should go, I took the height of the head+neck, turned it 90 degrees and got an indication of how wide the shoulder should be.

c. Make use of guidelines (use your ruler) to figure out where things should be in relation to each other. The blue lines in my process animation show: the right side of his torso is aligned with the right side of his head ; his crotch is aligned with the left side of his head (because of the weird head angle) ; the left side of his upper body is not totally straight and vertical.

Note: The legs are not quite twice the height of the upper body. The shirt that isn't tucked in complicates things, but not too much. I estimated that the legs are the height of one and two thirds of the upper body.

Step 2. Check your proportions
Proportion is the most important part of any drawing. If just one little thing is wrong in this stage of your drawing process, then no matter how nicely you color your picture, the end result will look off. So go back, look at your reference, compare it to your drawing, check if anything looks out of place.

Remember: If it looks weird to you, it will look weird to anyone else who looks at it for more than three seconds. Anything that looks weird CAN and should be fixed. So fix the things that look weird! Measure again. Do not continue until you are satisfied with the proportions.

Your picture does not have to look precisely like the reference, if it did you might as well have photo-copied the original, yeah? So it doesn't have to look exactly the same. The idea is that you should copy the proportions - one arm should not me longer or thicker than the other, etc.

Step 3. Fix it up - the fun part!
This is my favorite part, because the hard part - proportion - is over!
All you need to do is go over your lines and fix the weird angular shapes and fill in the details (like the rolled up sleeves). You can erase the base lines as you go, or you can erase those afterward, once you have established your lines. When cleaning up the rough lines remember to add line weight to the lines you are going to keep. Line weight refers to the thickness and thinness of lines. I like to make the lines thicker in corners: like under the armpits and the folds in sleeves.

Refer back to your reference picture as you go, adding details, creases in the pants, folds in the sleeves, you can even indicate where shadows should go, like the chest area.

Remember to erase the jockey-looking thing... otherwise it's going to look like he's standing in his underpants...

Yeah, I cheated... his face looks more like a cross between Faldio (Valkyria Chronicles) and Light (Death Note). *insert dreamy face*
Add your own face to the body. You can try to recreate the guy's face in the reference picture, or make your own. Heck, you could even slap mickey mouse on there. Knock yourself out!

Some time we'll head into the great unexplored world of “poses”. It sounds ominous, but don't worry too much - I'll be your guide! Wow, that sounds even more scary...

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 November 10, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

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