Drawing is a big part of work in all art prodution, whether 2D or 3D! Want to improve your drawing skills? Get a sketchbook!
Draw in your sketchbook from life every day, arrange to meet with the teacher for feedback, and as often as you can
attend Life Drawing Wednesday evenings 6-9pm at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (FREE models and supplies!).
Drawing is a skill, learned with practice!
If you draw from life every day you will get better. Show your work for feedback to improve faster. Don't draw from pictures or the result will be flat; draw the people and objects around you!

Avoid Worried Lines:
Don't use lots of tiny, slow, sketchy lines to draw the big curve you need. Instead, train yourself to be bold: draw each body curve as one big, fast line! Try filling a page with just long, bold strokes to practice making these long lines.

To improve your eye-hand connection, try drawing your own hand as one continuous line without looking at your paper. Try including details like knuckles, veins, wrinkles, nails, cuticles, etc.

The result may look silly, but the picture doesn't matter: the point is to try moving the pencil according to what you see, and to pay attention to small details. You can also do this with your face looking in a mirror, or the face of someone else. This is practice drawing what you actually see, not your idea of the object and what it should look like. As Paul Valery said: "Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing."

  • Adults are 6-7 heads tall, kids are 3-4 (depending on age), superheroes are 8.
  • Put the waist near the middle, so an adult human is about 3 heads tall from waist to top of the head, and 3 heads tall from the waist down to the bottom of the feet.
  • Think of the human torso as a bean-shape, curved back and belly. Standing "straight," a human spine is still curved.
  • When arms are at sides, fingertips reach halfway between hips & knees.
  • The skull as seen from the front is an oval. As seen from the side the skull is an oval and a circle, positioned at the top-back (bottom of circle is just below the ear).
  • A neck meets the skull at an angle, not straight up from the torso.
  • FACES: From chin, eyes are half-up face, nosetip is half-up to eyes, and mouth half-up to nose.
  • Fingers come out of the and at angles. Limb muscles are built on alternating curves.
    Looking at the model, note the angles of limbs and torso, especially hips and chest which are often opposite (contrapposto).

          (a) Draw one long line to define the spine curve.
          (b) Two lines for hips and shoulders angles.
          (c) Big oval for the head.
          (d) Smaller joints circles (knees, elbows, wrists, ankles).
          (e) Curved lines linking them all, to draw limbs.
          (f) Ovals for hands and feet.

    Work progresively from big forms to small details.
    Practice keeping the entire form on the page!

    Where are you positioned, relative to your live subject?
    Which limbs are closer to you, and seem bigger?
    Which are further away, and appear smaller or shorter?
    Measure relative distances with your fingers!

    Is the figure holding a prop, clothed, sitting on furniture? How do these other forms add to weight and balance?

    Try these Architecture Perspective tutorials: One-point   |   Two-point   |   Three-point

    6) VOLUMES:
    Think of the torso and limbs as cylinders. When drawn at an angle, the top and bottom of these cylinder appear curved. These curves can be used to define your form.

    Joint Curves define limbs: turn a knee curve up to raise the knee. Turn the knee curve down to lower it. Same with torso and head curves.

    Shadows: Where does the form face a light source, and where is it in shadow? Fill those shadows! Where does cloth overlap the form, shading where they meet? Where does cloth drape, wrinkle, and pinch to occlude itself and create shadows that help to visually define the type of cloth (with varied thickness and density)?

    You will improve fastest if you draw from life: real people in the world, not from photos.
    You don't need a live modeel class to draw real people: In middle school when my family needed to shop for clothes, I sat on a bench in the mall and drew the people around me. Sometimes they sat for a while, sometimes I had to get their form down as quick gestures in 10 seconds before they moved on. To practice drawign hands and faces, draw your own hands and your head in a mirror, at different angles!

    Get an anatomy for artists book, to help you learn the bones and muscles and how they can be drawn. This will help you pay attention to these forms for when you see them in life.

    Pay attention to the way clothing hangs and wrinkles on the body: where it pulls (like a shirt on a shoulder), where it drapes (the long lines of a blanket tossed on a chair) and where it breaks (like where the shirt bunches where it is tucked into or hits the top of the pants, or where pants bunch when they hit the top of a shoe).
    If you go to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Free Wednesday Life Drawing:
  • Arrive before 6pm, ask at the front or info desk where is the Live Drawing.
  • Choose biggest paper & board. Draw BIG with your elbow (not wrist).
  • Sharpen 4-6 #6-#8 pencils for a soft flow that will also allow deep darks.
  • Don't take an eraser. Don't waste time erasing: draw more!
  • Start with light gesture drawing for overall proportions, then a bit heavier for big volume curves. Work on the "whole body" at once; avoid small details like fingers or faces until you have the full form down. Then add shadows to help define volumes and details.
  • If you stay to 9pm, help put away the chairs. Remember to thank your model!

  • Arrive too late to get a good seat for the model? Draw the other artists!

    Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing -- Paul Valery
    Don't try to draw a "salt shaker" or a "trash can." Try to ignore what you know about the subject.
    Just LOOK, and try to draw the shapes, angles, volumes, and shadows you see before you.

    You have to be brave before you can be good -- Brian K. Vaughan
    Like archery, where you have to get through a hundred poor shots before you can reliably hit your target,
    expect you will draw a lot of mediocre work before you can start getting"good": start understanding proportion,
    composition and volume, and reliably move your hand to translate that to the page.

    What are you waiting for? Get drawing!