Studying the Human Form

In the Woods by collage artist Megan Coyle
Megan Coyle. In the Woods.

The human form is a very complex subject in art. People have their own unique characteristics that make each person different than the next. When it comes to creating portraits of people, you’ll find that you’ll need to scrutinize your subject. The face is a very critical area to render correctly since it’s typically where we look first when looking at a portrait.

You will start off by sketching the person so you can get a rough idea of the person’s body language as well as his or her proportions. Once a rough sketch is completed, it’s good to move forward with adding specific details on the face before moving elsewhere. Study the eyes of the person, how are they shaped? Trace the different lines of a person’s face with your eyes, then work on recreating them in your sketch. The more accurate your sketch is, the easier time you’ll have with creating a more accurate portrait collage.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when drawing the human form:

Two's a Crowd by collage artist Megan Coyle
Megan Coyle. Two’s a Crowd.
  • A person’s eyes aren’t football shaped – the corners of eyes aren’t pointed, but rounded.
  • The placement of a person’s eyes should be positioned where the amount of space from the chin to the eyes equals the amount of space from the top of the head to the eyes. See an example.
  • The size of the person’s head should be made so that the length would fit eight times within the person’s body.
  • Pay close attention to shadows and highlights. These two qualities will help you make the person appear more three-dimensional.
  • Study the folds in the cloth of the person’s clothing. Remember that when drawing clothing, you need to make sure it looks as though someone’s body is inside the clothing – that it isn’t just of piece of cloth magically suspended in the air.

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