How to draw the human body from sight

Life drawing
(Image credit: Igor Ustynskyy via Getty Images)

As we all possess a body, we think we know what it looks like. When we draw it, we bring to bear that prior knowledge and we draw that rather than the exactitude of the arm or leg that’s in front of us.

There are a number of different approaches to help you overcome this problem, and most of them focus on the same idea: shape drawing rather than object drawing. You need to divorce yourself from the idea that you are drawing a figure as much as possible, and instead really concentrate on the shape it makes. 

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Philip Tyler

Born in London, Tyler is a figurative painter and senior lecturer at the University of Brighton in the school of art, where he teaches life drawing, visual research and colour theory.