How to START A FIGURE DRAWING – making sense of the many methods

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Get the free Life Drawing Success guide here –

There are loads of ways to start a figure drawing. Which method are you supposed to use? We explain that there are no rules or ‘correct’ formulas for deciding that. Instead, there are various tools at your disposal, and you can pick the right one for each situation.

There’s various factors that will affect your decision – the style you’re going for, the materials, the time you have and so on. We talk about standard methods you may have learned, and when to prioritise your instincts and intuition over those techniques.

More specifically, we look into starting drawings with gestural lines, starting with a skeleton style stickman, starting with a geometric shape and other approaches.

We are hoping that you’ll feel ready to tackle more poses in your next life drawing class or practice session, trying new things and starting to develop your own instincts.

Finally, at the end, we address some of the comments we had on our last video – you know your channel is growing when people have conspiracy theories about it!

Here’s the Zin Lim video I mention in the video about the variety of approaches even within gesture drawing:

If you are a life drawing beginner, why not try our beginner series:

If you’d like to know more about gesture drawing, try this series:

And if you struggle with foreshortening, have a look at this:

The reference photos for this video came from the wonderful resource Croquis Cafe.

Music: Tupelo Train by Chris Haugen, Lazy Afternoon Sun by Dan Lebowitz, Pink Horizon by Chris Haugen, Serenity by Aakash Gandhi

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39 COMMENTS

  1. When I first started out I was under the impression there a was a "one way" to draw. And I think I floundered for some time because of it (I know I was certainly confused).
    This video is a valuable lesson (and well demonstrated) that there are many approaches. Great video.

  2. this video is pretty well minded. I was drawing a foreshortening pose i found hard to abstract action lines, force vector and lines, and then comes this insight of many methods (particularly the geometric alignment methods with action lines gone very well).

    I hope you do more demonstrative videos on hard, and diverse, poses showing how applying different technics can render easily a pose.

    Good Work 🙂 thank you.

  3. everytime, i mean… just your voice enough to make me draw better , i just start to open random video and it click just like that !

  4. Briliant ive just started drawing and you and your wife have helped me so much please keep the beginer epersodes as I am getting better all ready thank-you so much

  5. Great video, just the discussion I needed. I wonder, what are your feelings about 30-second gesture drawing with chalk, at least until I stopped getting timed out? after all, it's just practicing the motor control, getting the muscle memory, not for any masterpiece.

  6. I’m here bc my crush agreed to pose for me to let me draw them naked and I’m trying to have an idea of how to do this first

  7. I had so much luck to find your channel. I watched only some of your videos yet but they've already helped me improve drasticaly and currently i'm filling my sketchbook with dozens of figure drawings day by day 😀

  8. Great video! I especially like the part where you compared the different approaches and compared it to time. Bravo!

  9. Using this to try and help me finally draw my characters, which I never did because I can’t see images in my head

    So I guess wish me luck in my journey to try and draw the imageless concepts in my head 😅

  10. I think you mentioned you were going to have a video about drawing materials, but I didn't see a video dedicated to that on your page?

  11. I hate my brain……..it sounds like a different language being spoken to me…..but it’s not…..so complicated

  12. This video really helps, I'm a beginner and I'm always trying to get all the details down and when I'm finished I just looks weird. So this helps

  13. This video is so helpful, thank you! Also, your voice sounds so similar to the guy who leads meditations on Headspace! So calming.

  14. Check out the trailer for the world's first feature length life modelling documentary NAKED: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8QIR2HIDvo&t=27s Watch artist Roísín Cunningham collaborate with three life models in amazing life drawing sequences. Get it now on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/movies/details/Naked?id=8dBQfTpejec&gl=GB&fbclid=IwAR1QvBCVGF67ZrGyFut2Kz1O59RFkMLZSi5RSSGG9ja2yimiezljLenGs58 ; Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Edward-Kennedy/dp/B07RJZ74RJ/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=naked&qid=1560347632&s=instant-video&sr=1-2&fbclid=IwAR2UQ6xvsoJ2zMZRnVHgh2qrcazVrYFqnuQVrOaj3RwaGy9SpVolOl7oNxE ; iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/movie/naked/id1463413959?mt=6&ign-mpt=uo%3D4&fbclid=IwAR3Bml0ugtGejGWg3hS61hdOSNwBlcP7Crr4Avns941sKnhyA7j9EYt2kTs ; Vimeo: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/movie/naked/id1463413959?mt=6&ign-mpt=uo%3D4&fbclid=IwAR3Bml0ugtGejGWg3hS61hdOSNwBlcP7Crr4Avns941sKnhyA7j9EYt2kTs This film will change the way you look at art and your body!

  15. Life drawings should always start with about ten 30 second gestures… Also in the real world as opposed to studio models, you won't have an upright easel, or large drawing pads, or lots of time. What you will have is one hand holding a small sketchbook, the other hand drawing, quickly and without too much of a measuring method. This urgency is where an artist sees the fine line between art and craft…

  16. Watch the trailer for the world's first feature length life modelling documentary NAKED: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8QIR2HIDvo&t=14s NAKED is available to rent on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Edward-Kennedy/dp/B07RJZ74RJ/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=naked&qid=1560347632&s=instant-video&sr=1-2&fbclid=IwAR3uEoMYm8xue-5Jcrtnsl3jdednvtRZxnuu93YIt5eyaQ0aa4sKMoX-fGs and iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/movie/naked/id1463413959?mt=6&fbclid=IwAR3r1uKTaHh_nmNxVOiBB2VotfV5N7BAML3pH-kLPzUv_52LN2TqQdlMzXI&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

  17. watching this video with no clue what he’s talking about. is this tutorial for artists who are already skilled or is my vocabulary just pathetic?

  18. Hello Kenzo, besides the great drawing advice, you also have a great voice. It's quite calming to just listen to you. 🙂

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