If you want to learn how to draw people, you may search for a tutorial that will teach you everything you need. Unfortunately, this is not possible—drawing human characters is a very complex topic, composed of many smaller topics like gesture, anatomy, details, facial expressions, techniques, and others.
So instead of creating one huge tutorial that would be too big to swallow, I gathered different tutorials all in one place so that you can try them one by one, learning all the necessary elements at your own pace.
Figure Drawing Tutorials
The biggest difference between human characters and artificial objects is that the former are alive and moving, creating various poses depending on their action, personality, and mood. This is something you should start your drawing with, because even the most anatomically realistic human will look like a doll or a sculpture if you miss the gesture.
In drawing, a gesture is a set of basic, nicely flowing lines that define the pose of the character without including any details. A good gesture drawing should show the energy and action of the character, without actually showing the character itself. That’s why you should learn it first, and only then focus on more detailed things like the actual muscles.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Learning to See and Draw Energy
What is the energy of a human pose? In this tutorial you will learn how to see it in people around you and how to capture it with quick sketches.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Basic Body Proportions
Proportions are the key to correct anatomy. Without good proportions, even the most realistic muscles will not make your characters look realistic. In this tutorial, you will learn what proportions you must use to create a convincing human silhouette.
This is not a joke! You can learn all the basics of human proportions and poses just by drawing slightly developed stick figures. It’s a fun and educational tutorial that you will love even if you don’t believe in your skills at all!
One of the most popular and effective ways of practicing gestures is to draw them during a timed exercise: optimally, 30 seconds for one photo. The limited amount of time forces you to focus on what’s crucial in the silhouette, helping you develop economical lines. This great site will help you with this exercise, showing you whole sets of various photos and counting the time for you.
Proportions and gestures are best learned through practice—many, many sketches of various people in various poses. This library of high-quality resources will give you exactly the materials you need. It’s like a whole set of figure drawing lessons that you can attend without leaving your home!
Humans have bodies made of bones, ligaments, and muscles. You can’t ignore them all just because they’re hidden under the skin—the skin wouldn’t have any shape without them!
So learning what the muscles look like, where they are attached and what they do is crucial to creating realistic human bodies, especially if you want to be able to do it without a reference. Your knowledge of anatomy should be your own personal reference that you keep in your mind all the time!
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Advanced Body Proportions
Humans are different, and while they all have similar proportions, certain deviations can and must be applied to create various characters. In this tutorial, you will learn how you can change the proportions while still staying on the realistic side.
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Muscles and Other Body Mass
When someone says “anatomy”, muscles are the first thing that comes to mind, and for a good reason: though hidden under the skin, they make the shape of the body. In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw them in a convincing way, without memorizing complex anatomy diagrams. Bonus part: you’ll learn about fat, too!
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Drawing Different Ages
There’s no “default” age for a human body—we change from birth to our last days. In this tutorial, you will learn what changes happen to our bodies during the aging process, so that you can create characters at various stages of their lives.
When you learn anatomy from various tutorials, you may find certain things confusing, as various authors simplify the subject in different ways. If you really want to learn advanced anatomy, you should go right to the source: for example, this amazing 3D model of a human. You can rotate it and remove muscles to see their full shape and how they connect to the bones. A free account is required to see the model.
This site offers a different model of anatomy, and it’s perfect if you find something confusing in the previous one—the comparison will help you understand what’s really going on. This model is also simpler to use, if you find BioDigital too complex.
3D models of human anatomy are awesome, but sometimes they’re too much—sometimes you want to analyze the muscles in a more traditional way. This site has really helped me understand the individual muscles, explaining what wasn’t completely clear in the 3D models. These neat diagrams let you perform your personal dissection, with a focus on one area of the body at a time.
A human face is tricky to draw—we are extremely good at recognizing when something is wrong about the proportions. Unfortunately, we are not as good at pointing out exactly what is wrong and what has to be changed to make the face realistic. That’s why you should learn this topic very carefully. If you do it properly, you’ll be able to draw completely new, realistic faces from imagination!
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: Basics of the Face
Start with the basics—what are the proportions of the face? How do you rotate the head without losing them? You’ll solve the most popular beginner’s mistakes in this tutorial.
There are features in our faces that we like to differentiate as “feminine” and “masculine” (though they’re not always linked to the actual biological sex). Once you learn them, you’ll be able to make the sex clear by exaggerating the differences, or create more diverse characters by mixing these features in both sexes.
If you want to draw realistic lips on your characters, you need to understand how they work. In this tutorial, you will learn the anatomy behind the look of lips, which will help you draw them in every pose and shape.
Noses can add a lot of character to a human face, but to draw a nose properly, you need to understand its construction first. In this tutorial, you will learn the anatomy of the nose, as well as how to simplify and rotate it.
You can try to hide the ears under the hair, but there will come a time, sooner or later, when you’ll have to leave them bare. Learn how to draw them and you’ll never have to make your haircuts conform to them! This tutorial includes both anatomy and step-by-step instructions.
Even after you learn all the proportions and features of the face, it can be very hard to keep them correct on a rotated head. In this tutorial, you’ll learn a useful method to draw the head in any view.
A human eye is a great subject to draw—if you do it correctly, you have a beautiful drawing standing out right on its own, without having to draw the rest of the face. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to draw a fully realistic eye step by step.
Practice makes progress, so if you want to make progress in drawing facial expressions, you need to draw a lot of them. This site will help you by providing a timed exercise with a whole library of references.
Time for the biggest nightmare of artists: drawing hands and feet. But there’s no need to be afraid—they’re only scary when you don’t know how to draw them, and these tutorials will help you with that. From anatomy to poses and details, they have all you need. You’ll never have to hide the hands behind the back again!
Human Anatomy Fundamentals: How to Draw Hands
In this tutorial, you will learn the anatomy of hands, how to simplify them, and what to do to make them look natural. You’ll also learn about poses and various shapes of hands.
Here, you’ll start with anatomy to understand the construction of human feet, and then you’ll learn how to simplify them with special tricks. You’ll also learn how to solve popular problems that lead to unnatural feet and toes.
The cartoon style can be very appealing to beginners, because it offers clear, simple rules and a guarantee of achieving a neat end result—as long as you follow them. However, you shouldn’t think of cartoon drawings as something for children and not real artists. Art isn’t only about realism—art can be a great medium to express your vision, to communicate something, and if the cartoon style helps you do this more efficiently, then you shouldn’t feel ashamed to use it at all!
Hands can be so tricky to draw, but they’re a very important element of expressing emotions for cartoon characters. In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw cartoon hands in both simple and dynamic angles.
When you learn how to draw cartoon characters, often you’re only being shown male ones. In this tutorial, you can learn about the specific features of a female/feminine body to achieve a better variety in your characters.
Children are not simply adults on a smaller scale. They have their own special proportions, and in the cartoon style they’re supposed to be exaggerated! In this tutorial, you will learn how to do just that.
Animation is nothing but creating a lot of drawings with little changes between them. So once you know how to draw people, it takes just a little step to learn how to animate them! These tutorials will help you take this step painlessly.
Animation for Beginners: How to Animate a Head Turn
How to make the head turn in a smooth way? This tutorial will teach you just that!
But drawing is not only about what—it’s also about how. What tools should you be using for your drawn people? What techniques do you need to use? These tutorials will show you a mix of techniques for various tools and topics.
How to Shade for Complete Beginners
Start with the basics: how to hold the pencil and how to move it to create various shades.
To sum it up, the skill of drawing people can be divided into many sub-skills:
drawing head and face
drawing hands and feet
So if it’s hard for you to draw a realistic person, don’t worry—it’s just harder than it looks! I hope this set of tutorials will help you find and overcome your issues with drawing people. Remember, practice makes progress—but only if you know what you’re practicing!
And if you’re tired of studying such a complex subject, but still want to draw something fun, you can check our easy tutorials that don’t require so much dedication. Just follow the steps to get a beautiful end result!