Category: How to draw people

Drawing Poses

Basics, instructions and references

Drawing Poses


Probably the most important thing when drawing poses is to take enough time to really understand the pose. To draw a pose realistically, we need to study drawing the body, its weight and balance in depth.

Understanding the Body

If we want to draw poses anatomically correct, an understanding of the basics of the human body is of great advantage. It not only makes it easier for us to draw the poses, but also enables us to draw poses convincingly and realistically without any reference. While it is possible to draw them without dealing with the basics, it will complicate everything and is therefore not recommended.

Understanding Weight & Balance

Many start with the head when drawing, but for poses, the first priority is to understand which body part is supporting the most body weight.

For standing poses, at least one standing leg can be identified with its foot firmly planted on the ground. The other leg is free to move in that case and can be called the playing leg. The body weight can also be shifted equally to both legs and accordingly both feet must have firm contact with the ground.

In addition, there is the balance, because if this is not correct, our pose will not look convincing. If a standing person lifts one leg, the center of gravity in the body shifts. The foot of the standing leg is then no longer exactly under the thigh, but under the center of the body.

Understanding Movement

Depending on how you decide to position the two legs, the hips will move. In the upper body, the position of both shoulders influences the position of the collarbones and, of course, the arms.

Therefore, even when drawing poses, it is recommended to take extra time to draw the sketch in order to understand the pose in the best possible way.

Proportions and movements - drawing bodies

Finding References for Poses

If you have mastered human anatomy drawing, you don't need references anymore. However, if we are just getting there, then we should definitely work with references!

The best reference for drawing poses is ourselves. In front of a mirror we can take the pose we want to draw and not only see, but even feel which muscles are working, where our weight is shifted, how the movement of one body part affects neighboring body parts, etc.

Photos can also be a good reference, but especially beginners should still take the pose in front of the mirror themselves. On photos sometimes important details are lost due to image compression or color correction.

Proportionen und Bewegungen - Körper zeichnen Photo from Taylor Smith on Unsplash

References for Drawing Poses

We can divide the poses into different categories, where the body weight is shifted differently depending on the category. To illustrate this weight shift, a red line stretches from the head to the center of gravity. A blue line appears whenever the body part could be misunderstood as carrying weight, but is actually free to move.

Standing Pose

In standing poses, at least one leg is a carrier of the body weight, regardless of whether we draw a person from the front or the back.

Pose Reference for Drawing: Standing Figure
Pose Reference for Drawing: Standing Person
Pose Reference for Drawing: Standing Person from Behind
Pose Reference for Drawing: Standing Person Waving

Sitting Pose

In seated poses, the buttocks are the main support of the body weight. Depending on the pose, arms or legs may also carry some of the weight.

Pose Reference for Drawing: Sitting Figure
Pose Reference for Drawing: Sitting Person

Lying Pose

In lying poses, the body weight is mainly shifted where the body touches the floor or ground. Equally, however, in these poses there are very often many body parts that remain free to move.

Pose Reference for Drawing: Lying Person

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