Practice Drawing: Tips For Drawing Anatomy

Practice Drawing: Tips For Drawing Anatomy

September 6, 2021

By Jedida Okonkwo

To learn how to draw people correctly, you must learn many things about human anatomy. Understanding how to draw human anatomy means having great knowledge of human body parts, including why they move the way they do. The human body is one of the most sophisticated structures that you will find around, and it also has a lot of variations. When you practice drawing human anatomy, it will make your art more flexible, and you can take on more complex poses. Here, you’ll get to bring everything you have learned about drawing to light and apply them. 

In this anatomy drawing tutorial, you’ll learn about the easiest techniques for drawing the human body. There is no specific strategy to draw the human body because there are too many complex body parts. To avoid making a mess of things, you would need numerous practice sessions. This means that you should be patient with yourself and avoid getting frustrated if your first few images do not hit the mark. 

You’ll have to learn everything gradually – one step after the other. Artists can learn from simplified body skeletons before adding muscles to this structure and adding more details to the different body parts. The first essential skill for anyone who wants to draw people is learning how to handle human proportions. Human body parts come in many proportions, depending on age, gender, or ethnicity. There’s a lot to learn and master about human anatomy, but you’ll get better at it with time. 

Let’s begin!

Basics of Human Drawing: The Figure

The Head

It’s time to learn the basics of drawing a human figure. A well-proportioned human figure can only be achieved when the joints and other major body parts are correctly aligned. A slight variation could change the overall appearance of the image and give it an entirely different meaning. This is why it’s crucial to learn to draw a proportional image. 

To start creating a proportionate human figure, you start with the head. Draw an oval- or egg-shaped head. Use this shape to mark out eight measurements of equal distance, with the last one representing the floor. The idea of using eight heads as a standard for measuring the human figure was set during the Renaissance. Without any doubt, this measurement works for most people, and it creates a simple system to help produce an aligned image. 

The Pelvic region

The next body part to draw is the pelvic bone. Between the 3rd and 4th marks, you can draw a flattened circle to represent the pelvic region. Add two small circles on either side of this shape to represent the hip joints. Next, draw a line connecting the head to the pelvic bone – the body’s center point and source of stability. This line would serve as the spine of the figure you are creating. 

The Legs and Knees

Remember that we are trying to create an image with proportional body parts. For this purpose, we would model a figure standing with its feet vertically aligned with its hip joints. Draw two small circles on the 6th mark to represent the knee caps and two small circles on the 8th mark to denote the ankles. To connect the figure, don’t draw a straight line. Instead, attach the hip joint on the left-hand side to the inside of the knee cap (right) and then the outside of the knee (left) to the inside of the ankle. Repeat this action for the second side. This would create a more accurate representation of the human legs. It would also make it easier to add muscles to the figure later on. 

The Ribcage and Chest

The ribcage and chest region are also equally important parts of the body. Draw an oval that starts between marks 1 and 2 till you get to mark 3. However, chop off the lower part of the shape to imitate an actual rib cage. The empty part between marks 2 and 3 would serve as the belly and can further alter to give different effects. Make sure to avoid joining the torso and pelvic region, or else you risk restricting your drawing’s range of motion. The nipples fall on the 2nd mark, just about the same width as the head, and the belly button is drawn on mark 3. 

The Shoulders

You should draw the shoulder line at the tip of the oval that falls between marks 1 and 2 and should measure about 2 – 3 head widths. The shoulder is slightly curved and can be tenser or less tense based on the person in question. You should draw the shoulder line with two small circles at both ends. You will use these circles to connect the hands, elbows and wrists. 

The Arms

Drawing the arms can be slightly tricky because many people don’t realize that the arms are longer than half the entire body length. Draw the elbows as slightly elongated ovals on mark 3. The wrists should be located on mark four slightly below the hip joints, while the finger may extend from the wrists till mid-thigh on mark 5. Connect the lines to create a figure/skeleton for the arms. 

Tips for Drawing Human Anatomy

What are the most important tips to look out for when drawing human anatomy? What are the dos and don’ts of human anatomy? They include:

Don’t think like a biology textbook.

Drawing human anatomy is complicated for most people because of the approach they adopt. There are so many human body parts to account for, and it’s easy to get lost. When certain people see an image, they begin to imagine all the lines and curves under the skin. This is a simple way to get overwhelmed. 

You should be less concerned about the biological structure of the body parts and focus on recreating the 3D shape of the muscles in question. Before you start drawing, you need to identify the figure’s primary volumes: circles, ovals, boxes, and cylinders. You can gradually build up its complexity by starting with these simple shapes until you get your desired image. 

Don’t focus on the muscles.

When you start to get immersed in what you are drawing, there is a strong tendency to place too much focus on the person’s muscles. Artists sometimes overemphasize the anatomy and make their images look as if the subject has no skin. The muscles on any figure should be there to add elements of realism to the figure, but they should not be the artist’s focus. 

The focus of any drawing should be the action, emotion, or personality of the subject. You don’t want the viewers to be more concerned about the physical appearance of the image and ignore what they are doing. It would help if you drew the muscles to support the subject’s movements rather than become the focus of attention. 

Avoid drawing different figures with the same shape.

When artists discover the best way to use basic shapes to develop their drawings, they tend to make a similar mistake of repeating the same process many times. This would make most of the artists’ figures bear a striking resemblance to one another. 

Human body parts vary from one person to another. As a result, they are represented using different fundamental shapes. Train yourself to adapt your shapes to suit the subject in question instead of relying on a single tactic every time. Look at the figure closely and decide what shapes would be most suitable to develop it. 

Don’t Copy Blindly

If you end up copying only what you see, you will find it hard to be imaginative and create images by yourself. Observational skills are crucial but are not meant for copying. Instead, it would be best if you used them to identify the subject’s basic shapes and try recreating what’s in your head. If you try to copy most images directly, you may end up drawing the correct figure but would lack the essential skills to develop a human image from scratch. 

Study Human Anatomy and Proportions

Every artist needs to know accurate figure proportions and anatomy. This knowledge helps recreate people with a variety of body parts and types. A proper understanding of anatomy would help you eliminate simple mistakes, while proportion would guarantee a life-like image. 


There is no doubt the human anatomy is relatively complex. You would need to learn the ropes and practice regularly to get it right. If you want to become an expert at drawing people’s images and figures, take a look at the details mentioned above. You’ll come across something useful.