Here’s week 9, “A fictional character”.

To be honest, I kinda cheated on this one… it was already drawn. BUT I don’t get to share it often so I thought I would. He is a fictional character after all, in a novel I’ve been planning on writing for a long time. So it totally counts.

Although I may redo this one some time.


I want to start a series on anatomy because I think a lot of people are genuinely interested in the subject from both an artistic and a non-artistic perspective. Human anatomy is also one of the most difficult subjects to master. I can’t really explain why, it just is. It’s taken me many years to get to the level that I am and there are many artists who surpass me in leaps and bounds. Although I am proud of my own accomplishments, which is more important than any level of skill. shoulderandneck3
Now that I’ve probably intimidated you, let’s begin. I’m going to break these down into short, but several, lessons. That way you can learn what you want at your own pace. I’ll start this one off by talking about human anatomy as a whole.

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll be familiar with the observing and studying I mention a lot. For this subject, it couldn’t be any more applicable. Which should be obvious, but some people seem to think that most artists just pull this out of thin air, other artists included.
Just so you know, this will probably be the most time consuming and area of most needed practice. Especially for early beginners.

I would suggest purchasing a book on anatomy. It doesn’t even have to be an art book, just get an encyclopedia or nursing book. They are a wealth of information because you’ll want to study the subject first before you start. I’m not suggesting you need to be a doctor or physical therapist, but it’s good to be at least visually familiar with everything.


Start by using a model. This could be a live model like a friend or family member. Or an inanimate one including a plain googled image on the web. Use different models too, everyone has different body types. Of course, overall the human body is about the same when it comes to placement of certain parts, but weight and height vary. I won’t get too detailed about that in this post. We’ll focus on the general placement first.


I’d take a good look at this photo in particular and I’ll break it down for you.

We’ll start with the upper body:


The head can be any shape at the beginning stage. Just so you understand the placement. So it doesn’t matter if it’s rounded or more of an oval shape. Then draw two lines representing the neck, which will be connected to a trapezoid shape (which is the chest area).


Moving on to the bottom half of the torso draw an elongated trapezoid, similar to the first one. Then attaching a triangle to that. These are the waist and hips. Since we’re using a male model, we’ll stick with a masculine physique for now. A woman’s hips will be much larger.

Continuing with the upper body, draw two small circles at the top corners of the first trapezoid for the shoulders. Like so:


Make sure they’re not too big, but not too small. You’ll also want to overlap part of the trapezoid.

The next thing you’ll want to do is draw an elongated oval, or an almond shape if you prefer, overlapping the circles you just drew. I did both:


Then, repeat the process you just did. A good indication of the length of the arm is that the elbow joint is about in the center of the waist. The ovals for the upper arm and forearms are around the same length. Of course, some people have different lengths, but overall you want it roughly even.


Remember to sketch lightly! My sketches look dark only because I purposefully darkened them for this tutorial so you could see them. Otherwise they’re hard to see. You’ll need to press lightly for the 3rd part of this tutorial.

Lastly, for this lesson anyway, we’ll add the hands. Yes, those dreaded hands!

I’m letting you in on a secret (draw a skinny hexagon!). Like so:


Congratulations!  You’re halfway there to getting the base finished!


Yes, our little man looks kind of silly. Don’t worry about him looking ‘pretty’ at this point and time, we’ll add details later. The point is to get a foundation laid out so you can build from it.

Thanks for tuning in and check back later for the other parts! (No pun intended?)