Tips for Learning How to Draw People

Tips for Learning How to Draw People

August 18, 2021

By Jedida Okonkwo

Art is attractive, but it’s a pity that not everyone can draw. And for those who are capable of drawing, drawing out a person’s image can be pretty challenging. For new artists, drawing people can be a big step from what they are used to, while the experienced ones still have a few areas to improve. Every artist must be capable of recreating a person’s image beautifully, and that’s why you just have to learn it. There are no guarantees that learning would be easy, but it would be worth your time and aid personal growth.

Even if you choose not to use everything you have learned directly, you will appreciate the tips and lessons. Learning to draw people is an excellent way to add more weapons to your arsenal and redefine what you can do over time. These skills are valuable, and you can build on them to make yourself an overall better artist. 

When it comes to drawing people, many artists are intimidated and get cold feet. But little did they know that it was not impossible to learn. Just like any other skill, you can learn it and get better with practice. 

Simple Tips On How To Draw People

These tips on learning how to draw people can help you become a better artist and also change the scope of your drawing and painting works. There are many ways to draw people, and you have to develop a suitable technique, but these guidelines help you simplify the process. 

They include: 

Decide on your art style

Every artist has their art style. Beginners end up spending most of their time drawing like other people. It’s an effective way to learn, but it could also mean that you have picked up more than one art style. Then, you have to spend more time deciding on the best one for you. 

An artist’s art style will have a significant impact on the type of people you draw. Artists who prefer to draw portraits will create drawings of people with more visible traits and a real-world focus. Their features are different from those of people drawn by anime artists. 

While both styles of drawing are beautiful in their own right, there’s no reason to compare. Both of them require attention to different details. When you begin to draw people, think about the kind of people you always wished to draw. Start from there. This will help you decide on a suitable style and determine the techniques you would end up developing. 

Consider facial and body proportions

Facial and body proportions are an essential part of the image that can make it appear realistic or not – or even completely alien. A great way to draw people successfully is to get these physical and facial proportions correctly. Making sure that the size of a person’s eyes is equal can help you create the ideal image. 

Learning the relationship between the sizes and shapes of facial and body proportions is the key to drawing real people. Regardless of your style, you need to carefully make sure that the image has body parts that are proportional to one another as a natural person. 

Practice how to draw the eyes correctly on the head, including other facial features such as the brow line, eye line, nostrils, mouth, etc. Make sure that the centerline falls directly between the eyes of the image. 

Veteran artists know how to manipulate facial and body proportions in ways that do not necessarily change the appearance of the person in question. The artist may decide to make the eye look wider and more vulnerable while also focusing on certain body parts to make a point or show emphasis on certain physical features. This technique is more effective when drawing cartoon-like images or characters. It lets you highlight what you want to do with your character. 

Start with simple poses

When learning a skill such as drawing, it’s advisable to learn different techniques one after the other – move from known to unknown territory. Drawing people well means learning to recreate different types of poses. However, some poses are more straightforward to draw than others. It’s a great idea to start with basic, familiar poses before moving to anything complex. 

It’s easier to draw a standing figure than draw the same person in a complex action pose—Master basic positions like standing and sitting first. When you can do this flawlessly, you’ll be able to master a variety of other poses. 

Learning how people position their bodies naturally will help you understand the image in numerous complex ways, and you have a better idea of their poses in different scenarios. For instance, if you have an idea of how a lady’s hair falls, you have a better idea of how to draw it out. This is the same thing for other body parts and poses. So, start simple and work your way through the complex body positions to develop your skill. 

Sketch before you start drawing

A great way to become an expert at drawing people is to sketch the image before you start drawing. Before beginning the actual drawing, sketch the pose and positions you wish to achieve in your final image. This doesn’t necessarily have to be what you draw in your final image. Still, it would help you reduce errors to the barest minimum by helping to sort some technical details earlier. 

Sketching body poses frequently will get you familiar with the quickest and best ways to draw people, regardless of their current pose. It would also let you practice the use of shapes and how to draw proportional body parts. Knowing how you will form the person you are drawing will help you sort other vital details.

Start with stick figures. Then add some form and shape to it before finally refining the image. You’ll do a lot of erasing before you get it right, but that’s okay. 

Correctly add shadows to the image

An overlooked part of drawing people that can make all the difference is the use of shadows. When you take a look at most images, shadows define the image as well as other details do. Using shadows effectively can change the tone and outlook of the drawing while making it look more realistic. 

Most images have shadows. To create realistic drawings of people, you need to understand how lighting affects the image and take things from there. 

Shadows help to add an element of realism to any image. It tells the audience that you have a perfect idea of how the person looks in real life. Shadows are also a great way to help people interact with the world around them. 

It helps to add more depth to the image by showing the audience lifelike motions. You can practice the use of shadows as another drawing skill. You can always use shadows to add an appropriate amount of detail to any image you create. 

Common drawing mistakes made by everyone

Drawing is a technical skill, and there are times when mistakes happen, especially when drawing a person. These mistakes could threaten to ruin the appearance of the image or its quality. 

So, what are the common mistakes you have to avoid when drawing, and how do you deal with them?


A common problem with many artists is failing to attend to the flow of lines in the image. It often happens when drawing the image of a person holding an object. When drawing an object held in hand or crosses the person, draw the entire object as if you were drawing an x-ray. You can erase the excess line when you are done. 

Avoid hiding any physical features

This is a prevalent mistake made by many artists. Do not make the mistake of covering up certain body features with another body part. When drawing people, start with a skeletal structure. You may draw some light guidelines before you get started to simplify your image. 

Do not use hair as a tool to hide facial features. When drawing a person or face with partially visible features, always consider the parts of their face or body that can’t be seen and treat them as though they are present. You may even include them at first to see if they complement the drawing. If they don’t, you can erase them later. 


Drawing people may seem challenging or scary, but you are definitely up to the task. When learning any new skill, there will be a period of trials and errors. Do not get discouraged, and keep practicing what you have learned. 

Your first few attempts may be messy and below expectations, but you will learn as you gain more experience. Don’t be shy of messing up, and keep practicing till you find what works for you. Get started today.