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How do I get better at drawing bodies for my works of art?

what would be the best way to go about designing bodies for my art, would i need to study anatomy or would i just need basic skills to draw body designs?

Thank you comment icon Hey Callel, can you provide some more details by what you mean regarding “designing bodies”. Do you mean like tattoo work or what were you thinking? Lindy S Chen

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Kristin’s Answer

You will get better at figure drawing by practicing figure drawing. I studied art in Florence, Italy at L'Accademia di Belle Arti and the first year for students there is 40+ hours of figure drawing per week. That is the foundation of the classical study there. You don't have to take such an intense path, though. You can sign up for a figure drawing class in your local area. Practice drawing and seeing anything will help, but if you want to get better at drawing figures, you need to draw figures. Good luck.
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Ellen’s Answer

HI Callel
Drawing bodies, or "figures" is a challenge, but you can master it. Being good at drawing figures is really a combination of
1. Observing what you see
2. And having a knowledge and an understanding of the body's inner framework (the skeleton), how the muscles attach, and how the body moves.

Sometimes this combination of observing and knowledge is called "analytical optics". Seeing and analyzing. Observing and investigating. So, yes, eventually a study of anatomy and some figure drawing classes would be helpful, this is how all the past artists and present comic book artists started out. But below is a good strategy that you can do NOW.

When I taught my middle school students how to draw figures, we would put on our "X-RAy" glasses, and we would start with looking at the human skeleton, and seeing the basic "framework" of the human body. Head, spine, shoulders, hips, arms with elbows and hands, and legs with knees and feet. The skeleton determines the proportions of our bodies, (meaning how long the legs are in proportion to the torso, where the arms attach to the shoulders and where the elbows bend, and so on) AND how our bodies move (how the legs bend, how the spine moves and so on), so it is important to understand this. The muscles, which everyone seems to want to draw first, are nothing without the skeleton! Remember, the muscles are attached to the skeleton, so without the skeleton, muscles make no sense.

We would create stick figures* based on the skeleton, and draw them just standing, and then put them in motion, running, dancing, reaching and so on. Then we would put some clothing on the torso (T-shirts and pants or skirts), and flesh on the legs, arms, hands, and feet, and faces on our stick figures to make them more realistic. Sometimes I would have my students draw each other. My students were very successful in improving their figure drawing by starting with a skeleton stick figure, which they would erase, once they got the clothing and muscles and face on. It became an invisible, but important part of their drawing.

In figuring out what the flesh of the arms and legs, and what the hands and feet look like, you will need to look at examples. Look at your own hands and feet and draw them. Study people in your family or look at models in clothing catalogs. Get a small sketchbook and practice drawing people from life and people in catalogs. (Please draw; do not trace from books or catalogs. Tracing can get you a quick result, but you don't really learn anything.) When you look at people in real life or in catalogs, put on your "X-Ray" glasses and see if you can see their skeletons, and study what their arms, legs, hands and feet look like. Remember, the hands have a "skeleton", and the skull determines what the face looks like. You can find lots of books at the library and tutorials on YouTube which show this approach. You might find other approaches as well. Keep practicing!

I hope this helps. Best wishes.

*The stick figures I am talking about are not what you did in elementary school! These skeleton stick figures have arms that attach to shoulder bones, and legs that attach to hip bones...NOT attaching from the centerline of the figure. (I hope you get what I mean, sorry Career Village does not have illustrations!)
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Priya’s Answer

Hi Callel, drawing from life helped me the most, especially drawing nude models in art classes. There are also some artists that meet up in the community and do figure drawing with live models, both clothed and nude. I would think having a good mix of both can help you improve your figure drawing =). I understand the body much better after doing so.
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Janine’s Answer

There are various ways you can study the human body. You can study the masters, like Da Vinci, take human form drawing classes, or even study your own body, or friends and family members so you can get better at body parts that elude so many artists like the hands and feet.

So many great artists emerged from the Renaissance to study: Michelangelo (look at his sculptures), Botticelli (his forms are great, feet not so much), Donatello, Durer (great with hands), Titian, Caravaggio, Bernini, and Verrocchio.

First you have to learn what perfect is and once you have mastered it, you can create your own style. You don't have to emulate other artist. As Picasso said: It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.

Practice, practice, practice is the key. Enjoy your journey!
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Hazael’s Answer

The internet is vast, you can find models and ideas for how to proceed. If you are talking about outer body then just look at normal people and trace for practice, then you can start to do so in a way more comfortable for you. if you are talking about the inner body and things like bone structure, or possibly organs, then you can base your models off of other models, tracing is not recommended for the organs since it can be confusing or it might look mixed. it also depends on what type of art you are thinking of, real body designs can be a whole another story from a cartoonish design.
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Hannah’s Answer

This is going to sound so creepy, but watch people. Watch how they move. Be ready to be honest about it. Wrinkles, folds, spots, light and dark. Before you draw, try to do the pose you see in the mirror and see how it feels, observe where bends and breaks happen. Observation is a really good start to understanding the human body.
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