How to draw... people
Drawing people is a true artform. If you want to master the art of figure drawing, you need to be prepared to put in the time – but we can help.
This section of our How To Draw bumper resource page is packed with beginner and pro tutorials covering everything from how to draw people (including human anatomy, bones and muscle groups) and how to add personality and movement, to how to draw faces, eyes, hair, hands and more.
It doesn’t matter where you’re stuck with your figure drawing, you’ll find a tutorial here that will help you draw better people.
01. How to draw people
How to draw people: 10 tips
Different people use different techniques to get to grips with figure drawing. This tutorial runs through a range of different approaches you can take to draw a realistic muscular man.
How to draw people: sketch a figure in under 5 minutes
A great way to improve your figure drawing is to practice with quick sketches. This tutorial shows you how to sketch a figure in just five minutes, with some key rules to help you get to grips with the process.
How to draw people: anatomy masterclass
Learn how focusing on action and some core visual tools are key to creating expressive anatomy. This anatomy masterclass includes a video for you to follow along with, and will have you drawing better people in no time.
How to draw accurate bones and muscle
To really master figure drawing, you need to understand what's sitting underneath the skin. This guide shows you how to accurately draw the human skeleton and muscular system.
How to draw people with personality
Gesture and pose are key to drawing characters that are believable tell a story. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to develop a figure in Photoshop.
How to draw figures
This drawing tutorial follows an artist as they sketch a nude model, before developing it into a full fantasy portrait for ImagineFX magazine. It's great for understanding how you can take a figure drawn from life and adapt it for a new context.
How to draw people: create movement
Advanced: Getting your figures to look realistic is one thing; bringing a feeling of movement to a static image is another thing entirely. Here you'll find 16 top tips for how to draw people that look like they're alive and kicking.
10 tips for sketching moving subjects
Advanced: What do you do when your subject won't stay still? It isn't impossible to draw a moving subject. Try these tips for drawing humans and animals while they're on the go.
How to paint an underwater figure
Advanced: French artist Melanie Delon shows you how to paint a figure who is underwater. Though four simple steps, you'll learn how to mimic the effect of underwater lighting in your digital art.
How to draw a soaking wet figure
Advanced: This is a specific tutorial – how do you draw a person who has been caught in a downpour? This article runs through some top tips for drawing wet figures.
How to draw a backlit figure
Advanced: Illustrator Dave Brasgalla shows you how to give your characters a halo, using backlight for an angelic glow, in four simple steps.
How to draw people: reflections
Advanced: This three-step guide walks though how to paint realistic looking reflections in your digital art. Hint: it's all down to how you use layers.
How to design sci-fi outfits for people
Advanced: How will people dress in the year 20XX? Here, artist Tony Foti shares some tips for how to design a futuristic outfit for a sci-fi character.
How to draw a figure in the shadows
Advanced: Digital artist Paco Rico Torres explains how to draw a person shrouded in darkness in this tutorial. These techniques are ideal for horror scenes.
How to draw an anguished character
Advanced: Conveying anguish in your figures is tricky, but once you've mastered it, it's an incredibly useful way to add emotional heft to your paintings. Here's some top advice for the pose and facial expressions to go for.
How to draw people: a cowering figure
Advanced: Nick Harris reveals his top tips for creating a convincing character cowering with terror, including how to manipulate the facial features in the right way.
How to draw people: create a retro game characters
Advanced: Learn how to create video game characters from the fabulous, taste-free world of the 80s with Remko's expert tutorial. Watch the video or follow the step-by-step guide.
02. How to draw eyes
Pro tutorial: This narrated step-by-step tutorial for beginners walks through exactly how to draw an eye. It’s easy to follow and will have you drawing realistic eyes in no time – no matter how good (or bad) you are at them now.
How to paint eyes
We may spend much of our time looking at other people's, but many struggle to know how to paint a realistic human eye. In this tutorial, you'll discover tips for capturing eyes in oil paint. There are also videos to accompany each step.
How to create convincing eyes in Photoshop
To paint eyelids properly, you need to fully understand the shape of a human eye – and also the shape of the skull and likewise the shape of the flesh over the skull. This tutorial shows you how.
How to draw a severed eyeball in 3 steps
Sure, it might not be top of your list of eye-drawing requirements, but this tutorial is a Halloween classic. Learn how to draw an eye that’s been severed in this three-step tutorial.
03. How to draw faces
Pro tutorial: Another tutorial for beginners, this video explains how to draw faces from scratch. You’ll learn how to draw female faces and males faces, and you’ll also find out how to demonstrate your characters by making just a few simple changes.
How to draw a face
It is possible to draw a realistic face without references. This how-to helps you understand how faces work, so you can draw them even when there's no one to study. It's also helpful for when you want to draw imagined characters, rather than basing them on real people.
How to draw faces: draw a head
This guide runs though all the basics of how to draw a head, in five steps. It includes information on how to get the overall shapes right, master the proportions of the features, and add shading to make your face look realistic.
How to draw faces: paint a digital portrait using ArtRage
This 10-step tutorial shows you how to draw a face using digital painting tool ArtRage. There's a handy video tutorial that will guide you though each step.
In this tutorial, a professional artist runs through their process for creating a digital portrait. It also includes some top techniques to try out when using Corel Painter.
Fantasy portraiture has its own set of skills attached to it. In this tutorial, you'll learn them from top illustrator Mélanie Delon. Discover how to bring an original character to life, ensure they look believable, and use their surroundings to really make them stand out.
How to paint a portrait in Photoshop
This tutorial explores how to draw a face in Photoshop. This figure is inspired by Venetian carnivals, and the artist has been careful to balance details to ensure the figure doesn't get overwhelmed by her costume.
Create more interesting skin tones
It can be difficult to know how to depict skin so it appears realistic and naturally varied. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to paint skin with interesting tones. The author is using acrylic paint, but there are interesting techniques to be learned for digital artists here, too.
How to draw lips with Photoshop brushes
This tutorial focuses on capturing your subject's lips. In it, illustrator Paco Rico Torres shows you how to use Photoshop brushes to create a luscious look.
How to draw facial shadows
Artist Daniela Uhlig runs through the correct shadow placement you need to apply in your digital portraits to give your character a 3D appearance.
Create three different characters from one photo
McLean Kendree shows you how to vary the shape and size of facial features to create three different characters from one reference image.
04. How to draw hair
Pro tutorial: This detailed video walks through how to draw hair. It’s a long video – but you don’t have to watch it in one sitting, and you can fast-forward, too. If you want to find out how other artists draw hair, this is worth a watch.
How to draw hair
Illustrator Mélanie Delon shows you how to paint beautifully realistic hair in your digital portraits, including which brushes to choose for the best effect.
How to paint hair
As you'll know if you've ever had a bad haircut, the style or colour of a person's hair can dramatically affect our perception of their face. So once you've mastered facial features, it's worth taking time to focus on how to draw hair. This post offers top tips for getting it right.
05. Drawing hands
Draw perfect hands: the ultimate tutorial
Learning to create realistic hands is a stumbling block for many an artist. This fantastic tutorial breaks the process down into easy steps, so you'll be drawing realistic hands in no time. It also features some bonus tutorials for drawing hands at the bottom of the article.
Use negative space to sketch better hands
If you're still struggling with sketching hands, this article introduces a new technique involving the use of negative space to figure out the shapes. This different approach may be the key to your breakthrough.
Paint realistic hands in Photoshop
Hands are one of the most difficult parts of the body to illustrate. Artist Naiha Raza's video and tips shed some light on how to paint hands effectively in Photoshop.
How to draw a girl
Portrait artist Kate Oleska shares her approach to sketching figures. Her process involves creating a light underdrawing, developing the form, laying down the final lines and finally removing the guidelines.
How to paint expressive hands
Using hands to convey an emotion is a particular skill, but done correctly the hands in your paintings can really enhance the story you're trying to tell. In this how-to, a top fantasy illustrator shares her tips for how to paint expressive hands.
Next page: How to draw scenery and landscapes