A Review of 5 Figure Drawing Models
Drawing figures serve as invaluable tools for artists, aiding them in creating references for their artwork and honing their skills in drawing the human body. These unique figures can be easily adjusted to depict both dynamic movements and static poses. But with an abundance of options available in the market, the pressing question arises: are these figures truly worth the investment?
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In this article, we’ll delve into the world of drawing figures and thoroughly evaluate their price-performance ratio. I’ve examined various models available in the market and put them to the test across four disciplines. Each figure is scored on a scale of 30 points, taking into account the following criteria:
The criteria of mobility and proportions carry greater weight in the evaluation, as they are fundamental for any drawing figure. While customization is a great bonus, it takes a backseat to the core purpose of the figure. Similarly, a low price-performance ratio is awarded fewer points, as a figure’s affordability becomes meaningless if it fails to serve its primary drawing purpose.
With this comprehensive assessment, I aim to provide valuable insights to you and help you decide what drawing figure you want to get for your artistic endeavors.
The following figures were tested:
We’ve all come across this familiar sight: the ubiquitous wooden drawing figure, standing on a stand and with a rod pinned into it.
You can spot these models in numerous stores, often placed conveniently alongside budget-friendly canvases, sketchbooks, and an array of paints. But the critical question remains: just how well does this common drawing figure hold up when put to the test for actual drawing purposes?
The mobility on this model is quite poor. The legs lack the flexibility to be angled at 90 degrees, and attempting a lateral split is out of the question.
As for the arms, while they offer slightly better movement compared to the legs, they are still quite restricted. Trying to pose the figure with hands touching its body or head proves to be an arduous task, and touching its stomach is simply unattainable.
Additionally, moving the drawing figure in general is no easy feat. Some body parts exhibit an odd resistance, making it unclear whether this is by design or if the figure risks breaking during adjustments.
This limited mobility greatly affects the figure’s usefulness as a drawing reference and may prove frustrating for artists seeking dynamic or intricate poses.
This model exhibits peculiar proportions that do not align well with drawing realistic human figures.
When using this figure as a reference, you’ll find yourself constantly mentally correcting and adjusting the proportions while drawing. This added effort shouldn’t be necessary with a reliable drawing figure. For beginners, in particular, this becomes needlessly confusing and distracting.
If you choose not to modify the proportions and adhere to those dictated by this drawing figure, the outcome may, at best, elicit laughter at the artwork’s comical appearance. At worst, you might not realize that the figure’s limitations are the cause of the issue, leading to discouragement and a loss of interest in drawing.
Nothing can be customized on the model.
Price-wise, this model is the cheapest out of all the tested drawing figures and can therefore at least dust off one point, but it is absolutely unusable for drawing.
Total: 2 Points
The cheap drawing figure made of wood is at most a nice decoration, but as a drawing figure I do not recommend iit.
This model closely resembles the one prior in design. However, a notable difference is that this figure is not pinned to a rod; instead, it has magnets in its hands and feet, enabling attachment to the accompanying platform.
The magnetic figure demonstrates a slightly higher level of flexibility compared to the previous model, but it remains burdened by the same limitations.
Unfortunately, like the other model, this one is unable to achieve a 90-degree angle with its legs, nor can they be aligned sideways. Additionally, the hands still fail to reach the torso, further limiting its range of poses.
Regrettably, the proportions in this model suffer from the same issues, making it ineligible for any points in this category.
My most substantial critique of both this and the previous model revolves around the shoulders. The placement of the shoulders is inexplicably low, resulting in an extremely unrealistic appearance. This flaw significantly hinders the figure’s ability to accurately represent the human form.
In theory, you have the option to pair the figure with various metallic objects, utilizing the magnets to create intriguing new poses or scenes. It opens up possibilities for imaginative and creative setups. However, it’s important to note that the package does not include any additional accessories, leaving you to explore and experiment with your own magnetic elements.
While the magnetic wooden drawing figure shows slight improvement compared to the cheaper wooden model, it still falls within a similar price range. Despite this, I would not recommend this purchase either, as this model also fails to effectively enhance our drawing skills.
Total: 4 Points
The magnetic drawing figure leans more towards being a decorative item rather than a practical drawing tool. However, it does offer a fun and enjoyable experience when posing, thanks to its free movement and the added advantage of magnets, which enable poses like a handstand.
Every artist knows that drawing hands can be quite challenging. Therefore, I was especially excited when I discovered a drawing figure that claimed to help practice drawing hands. However, my enthusiasm waned as soon as I unpacked the figure, as it became apparent that this model harbors numerous shortcomings.
The wooden hand proves to be extremely restrictive in its movement, with both fingers and thumb confined to only back-and-forth motion. Sadly, the fingers cannot be spread or moved sideways, significantly limiting their pose variations.
I had hoped for at least a joint in the thumb that would allow for rotation, but unfortunately, it lacks this feature.
While there is a joint at the wrist, its movement is severely limited, likely to prevent the drawing figure from toppling over with excessive bending. This limitation poses a hindrance when attempting more dynamic or nuanced wrist poses.
The proportions of the hand drawing figure are notably inaccurate, as it appears unnaturally narrow. Moreover, all the fingers begin at the same height, disregarding the fact that the ring finger and the little finger should be positioned lower.
The thumb, unfortunately, looks out of place in nearly every pose. Our real thumbs are highly mobile and significantly influence the shape of the palm based on the pose. While it may be challenging to perfectly replicate this level of flexibility in a wooden drawing figure, the result remains unsuitable as a reliable drawing reference.
The overall proportions are so disappointing that I felt genuinely discouraged from even attempting a test drawing. With such glaring inaccuracies, the figure fails to serve its intended purpose as a helpful tool for artists striving for precise and lifelike representations.
I give this one point only because the proportions do work for a very limited amount of certain poses.
Nothing can be customized on the model.
The hand drawing figure comes at a higher cost compared to the other two wooden figures, yet it provides little to no value as a reliable drawing reference. Given its shortcomings, I strongly advise saving your money for a more suitable and effective figure. Frankly, this particular one is quite disappointing and not worth the investment.
Total: 1 Point
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this model as a drawing figure for practice either. It is much better to use your other hand as a drawing reference than spending your coins on this stiff piece of wood.
After the disappointments with the wooden drawing figures, the plastic drawing figures come as a refreshing change, offering much better suitability for drawing purposes. One significant advantage is the availability of both male and female forms, catering to a wider range of artistic needs. While the figures, particularly the female one, exhibit characteristics reminiscent of the manga drawing style, this is easily adjustable when sketching.
The figures are highly poseable, allowing for a wide range of stances and poses. The legs exhibit decent flexibility, bending both forward and to the sides with ease. Moreover, the knees can be bent well beyond 90 degrees, and even the forefoot can be angled for added variety.
However, a noticeable weak point lies in the arms. Although they offer more flexibility compared to the wooden figures, stretching both arms straight up proved to be impossible with either figure. The shoulder elements block this movement, limiting their reach,
While these elements can be theoretically removed to improve mobility, I refrained from such adjustments to evaluate the figures in their original condition as provided by the manufacturer.
It’s worth mentioning that upon unpacking, some joints on both figures felt stiff. Initially, I was unsure if this indicated a manufacturing defect. However, applying gentle force to move the joints gradually loosened these stiff spots, and eventually, all joints became fully mobile.
At first glance, the proportions of these figures are notably superior to those of the wooden drawing figures.
However, upon closer examination, some imperfections become apparent. For instance, the male figure’s legs are of different lengths, making it extremely challenging to keep him upright without a stand for support.
Nonetheless, they still prove to be suitable enough for drawing and serve as a valuable reference, even if achieving stable poses without a stand requires some effort.
The figures come with a generous assortment of accessories, including laptops, smartphones, swords, and more. Additionally, there is a collection of interchangeable hands that can be effortlessly attached to the arm joints, granting more pose possibilities. Beyond the hands, there are no other customizable features on the figures themselves.
A significant advantage lies in the inclusion of stands. These stands allow you to place the drawing figures on hooks or attach them via the hole on the back. The stands themselves are quite flexible, enabling you to pose the figures in dynamic positions like flying sideways, leaping, or even hanging upside down.
One minor concern is the occasional need for adjustments when using the accessories and stands. During my photoshoot, both the smartphone and the gun tended to slip out of the small hands multiple times. The stand did a good job of supporting the figures, although some hooks occasionally came loose. However, reattaching them was a simple and quick fix.
The synthetic drawing figures undeniably offer a significantly better price-performance ratio when compared to their wooden counterparts. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the quality does lean towards the cheaper end. During testing, I experienced multiple instances of the female figure’s arms popping out of their shoulder joints, and in general, the limbs lack symmetry in their movements, with inconsistent resistances in the joints. When purchasing these figures, do not expect top-notch quality.
Regarding durability, I remain uncertain. I have reservations that the rubber hands may eventually tear after repeated mounting and dismounting, and the joints could potentially weaken over time.
Overall, the workmanship leaves a cheap impression, but it’s essential to consider the price of approximately $37, which includes two figures that are indeed well-suited for drawing purposes. For those seeking budget-friendly options for artistic references, these figures still serve as a viable choice despite their quality concerns.
Total: 21 Points
While the plastic figure may not boast top-tier quality, I still find it worthwhile to recommend for drawing purposes.
One significant advantage is the practicality of receiving two figures in a single package. For beginners, I suggest starting with drawing one figure at a time to gain familiarity. Once you become more comfortable with drawing bodies, you can venture into sketching both figures together.
Among all the drawing figures I tested, Armature Nine’s stands out as the absolute best. Throughout my test, I found immense joy in designing poses, and the process was incredibly effortless.
For this test, I took a closer look at the A9 Rider, a small figure resembling the human form. What struck me were the impressively powerful magnets placed on the hands and feet, allowing the figure to be securely attached to the included platform.
The A9 Rider stands head and shoulders above all the other drawing figures in terms of mobility. Its poseability is truly exceptional, ranging from its feet to its very fingertips. Notably, the figure includes a joint in the thumb, which makes the tiny hands even better than the big hand drawing figure made of wood tested earlier.
After my disappointing experiences with the other figures, I decided to put the A9 Rider’s arms and legs to the test immediately, and I was instantly amazed. The arms easily stretch straight up and can achieve highly complex postures. The legs effortlessly move into front and side splits, bending well below 90 degrees at the knee. Furthermore, the feet can be turned in various directions, and the forefoot can be angled both forwards and backwards.
Equally impressive is the middle section of the figure, where the head and neck can move independently of each other. This feature opens up the possibility for even exaggerated poses, such as the character craning its neck to look up or letting its head hang so low that its chin nearly touches the chest.
Moreover, the torso can be manipulated to arch or round the figure’s back. However, one of the primary reasons for the figure’s exceptional range of poses is undoubtedly its flexible hips, which enable the legs to assume various positions while maintaining stability—resembling the flexibility of a real human.
Despite its complexity, the A9 Rider remains remarkably easy to move. All the joints were easy to maneuver right from the start. The sheer enjoyment and fluidity of its movements make it an exceptional tool for artists seeking a dynamic and reliable drawing reference.
As evident from the photos, the hands of the figure appear relatively large. However, it’s essential to note that this characteristic applies solely to the small A9 Rider. Due to its compact size, crafting fully articulated hands, complete with posable fingers and strong magnets, is challenging.
Acknowledging this drawback, Paul Siegel, the mastermind behind Armature Nine, has thoughtfully come up with a fix to this issue. When ordering a Rider, you’ll also receive a smaller pair of replacement hands. Although these hands lack fingers, they offer more consistent proportions.
Despite the adjustment, I find the alternate hands to be highly suitable for drawing purposes, and thus, I don’t see a need to deduct any points for this aspect.
Moving on, the proportions of the rest of the drawing figure’s body are simply impeccable. This flawlessness transforms them into a wonderful drawing reference and an exceedingly valuable tool for artists to materialize their creative visions. With their spot-on proportions, these figures become reliable and versatile references, capable of bringing all artistic ideas to life with remarkable precision.
The A9 Rider comes with a metal platform and a brilliantly designed stand. The stand can be bend just like a wire, but is very stable at the same time. One end securely attaches to the platform using a strong magnet, while the other end can be screwed onto the figure’s back.
One remarkable aspect of Armature Nine figures is their modularity. They are deliberately designed to be disassembled into individual parts, allowing for easy interchangeability. For instance, during my test, I was able to effortlessly switch between the male and female torsos.
Furthermore, Armature Nine offers a wide range of additional pieces on the website, enabling further customization of your figure. You can explore various types of heads, arms, legs, feet, necks, hands, and much more, allowing you to curate a drawing figure tailored to your artistic preferences. This versatility provides artists with an extensive palette to create the ideal reference model that perfectly suits their unique style and vision.
Armature Nine figures may not fall under the budget-friendly category, making them less suitable for casual artists. However, for dedicated artists who draw regularly and seek a top-notch drawing figure, this investment is undoubtedly worthwhile.
One notable advantage is that these figures come with a guarantee. For the small Riders, the guarantee extends to 12 months, providing reassurance for any unforeseen issues. But for the larger figures, the Rangers, the guarantee extends for a lifetime.
Total: 29 Points
The meticulous attention to detail invested in the development of this drawing figure is evident in its flawless execution. Each joint serves its purpose with utmost excellence, contributing to the overall perfection of the product.
Paul Siegel, the mastermind behind and creator of Armature Nine, is the driving force behind the continual refinement and enhancement of all the figures. On his website and YouTube channel, he shares valuable insights into the figures’ capabilities and demonstrates how to effectively utilize them.
Armature Nine’s drawing figure is the clear winner in this test, earning an impressive 29 out of 30 points. Despite the higher costs, you are getting a superior product boasting exceptional mobility and flawless proportions, making it an ideal choice for drawing enthusiasts.
Make sure to visit Armature Nine here as well:
The synthetic drawing figure secured the second-place spot with 21 points, but it falls behind Armature Nine in terms of quality and durability. During the test, I encountered repeated issues with the female character’s arm popping out of its joint, and adjusting the shoulder element became increasingly frustrating over time.
As for the other drawing figures, their performance was so disappointing in this test that I strongly advise against considering them. Instead, it’s better to save your money and invest in an A9 Rider or Ranger.