Drawing poses sometimes is a very difficult thing to do. Sure, drawing someone standing straight up and down perfectly lined up with the “camera” isn’t that tough.  But what if we wanted to turn them, or put them in a dynamic pose? How the crap do we do that?

Well first things first, you need to know how the human body works.  So if your reading this and you don’t have any concept of human proportions, or how the body moves, then that’s the first thing you need to do.  Go look at people.  Draw real life people, not manga, or comic book people as they’re exaggerated.  Draw real life people so you know what comic and manga artists are exaggerating.  Figure out how their body works and moves. That’s going to make the next part make alot easier.

Okay. So now we have basic understanding of human proportions, and how the human body moves.  How the hell do we draw them in a specific pose?  Well it’s simple my friends.  The key to drawing human poses is the stick figure!

That’s right! The stick figure!  That’s how you’re going to make sure your poses look interesting and natural.

And when I say stick figure, I do not mean this:

no stick figure


This is essentially useless.  When i say stick figure what i really mean is more of a skeleton. Something that has all the major body parts needed to draw a person correctly: Head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, back, hips (everyone always forgets the hips), Legs and feet.  Something that looks like this:

yes stick figure


The reason you want to use this type of stick figure is two fold. 1. It gives you a basic frame to work with to get your pose down. and 2. It’s alot easier to fix if you make a mistake.  If you spend an hour drawing the most highly detailed arm in the world, then you find out it’s too long and you have to erase it and you just wasted alot of time.  It’s alot easier and faster to correct one stick line, instead of a whole detailed arm.

The stick figure also helps you with any foreshortening that the pose may require.  Like this little guy’s arm who’s going to be taking a swing with that stick… or bat… or sword… or whatever this is going to be.




So once you have the stick figure you have to block it out.  Block it out?  Well we can’t just jump from a stick figure to a finished drawing now can we? Here lets go step by step…

Step 1: Stick figure



So this is a rather simple yet dynamic pose.  Notice  here how the shoulders and hips are tilted.  This is why it is important to include these in the stick figure as the tilt of the hips and the shoulders make even a standing figure look interesting.  Also notice the foreshortening in the arm.   The circles show where the joints are so I know how much I need to foreshorten each part of the arm to make it look correct.

Step 2: Block it out




Now we build blocks around the stick figure we drew.  Why blocks?  Well they don’t HAVE to be blocks, however I find that the human body is much more like a block than a cylinder. I base this on the fact that we have a front, back, sides, top, and botom just like a block. I also find using blocks help alot more with figuring out how shadows fall on the body.  Not to mention it helps me from accidently drawing the body bending in a weird way.

It’s also in this stage where you’ll correct any drawing errors you may have made.  You might realize that you made an arm to long, or a leg to short here.  Which is perfectly okay.  Thats why we use the stick figure first, so it’s easier to fix!

So now that our pose has some volume to it. Lets add in those details like muscles and clothes…

 Step 3: Details



Now that we have the pose and the volume established we can add in all the details like muscles, hair, clothes, and shadows. You’ll find that if you did the stick figure and blocking right adding the details will be incredibly easy.  WAY easier than if you tried to start off with the details.

There you go! Thats how you do poses.  Naturally this tutorial just scratched the surface so here are some tips and things to research to help you along the way.

1. When drawing poses where the hands or feet are in places that may make the legs or arms difficult to figure out, try drawing the hands or feet first.  Then play connect the dots between the foot and the hip, or the hand and the shoulder.

2. Check out Brune Hogarth’s books on Dynamic Anatomy and Dynamic Figure Drawing.  He goes into more depth and details.  They’re great books.

2. Look at real life.  I know I said this before but real life is always best.  Look at yourself in the mirror, or a friend/family member to get the pose down.

3.  Sometimes friends aren’t around, and you can’t take a picture of yourself at the angle you need. In that case I recommend going to posemaniacs.com.  They have great CG models that you can rotate to get the proper angle you need.  They’re not perfect, but they’ll do when no real life people are around to help.

That’ll do it for today!  If you have any suggestions or requests for a Tutorial Tuesday leave a comment here, or send me an email and I’ll be sure to incorporate it into a future Tutorial Tuesday! Tomorrow you’ll get the next page of Shadows of Oblivion! In the mean time, check me out around the web!

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