In this sketchbook challenge, we’ll revisit drawing people. In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at drawing a person in motion. More specifically we’ll draw a man jumping. In this pose, the “jumper” will be coming towards the viewer.
This angle will increase the challenge a bit since there will be some areas that are foreshortened.
Foreshortening happens when objects, or in our case – body parts come towards the viewer – producing some distortion. There’s not much of it here, but enough to be considered. Let’s get started…
Step 1 – Draw a Line From the Head to the Feet
We’ll first need to draw a line to indicate the length of the figure. This will ensure that we get the entire figure on the drawing surface. Since the figure is in motion, this line may curve a bit. We’ll also look at two crucial locations on the figure. These two areas are the shoulders and the waist. Believe it or not, these two areas tell us a lot about the pose or movement of the figure. We’ll draw a line here for the shoulders and a line for the waist. These lines are both drawn with diagonal lines. Figures that are in motion, like this one, typically will have shoulder lines and waist lines that are not straight.
Step 2 – Draw the Bone Structure (Stick Figure)
Next, we’ll branch out from the shoulders and the waist and develop the bone structure of the figure. Basically, we’ll draw a stick figure. A couple of simple shapes are drawn for the head, the hands, and the feet. Notice the foreshortening that is coming into play here. The line drawn for the figure’s right thigh is shorter than it would be if the figure was not jumping towards the viewer. Notice how the foot on the same leg juts upward, distorting the shape.
Step 3 – Draw Shapes for the Body Parts
Now, using the stick figure structure that was defined in the last step, we can thicken things up a bit and draw the shapes for the body parts. We’ll also go ahead and define the locations of the features on the face with a couple of lines. Lines are also drawn for the fingers.
Step 4 – Finish the Drawing by Adding the Contour Lines and Details
Since we’ve defined the structure in the previous steps of the drawing, we can now use them to finish the drawing by adding the contours (outlines) and the details. Add a few wrinkles to the clothing to make things a bit more convincing. Be sure to have some areas colored in with a darker value.
In this example, the shoes and the hair are darkened. Add some shading in areas to create the illusion of form and light. And of course, some indication of the eyes, nose, and mouth doesn’t hurt either. If you can break down a subject into simple shapes, and piece them together – then you can draw it. The details are always the easy part!