Complete Beginner's Guide to Anatomy and Figure Drawing
4.6 (2,722 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
18,603 students enrolled

Complete Beginner's Guide to Anatomy and Figure Drawing

Learn how to draw anatomy for complete beginners
4.6 (2,722 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
18,603 students enrolled
Created by Rich Graysonn
Last updated 7/2020
English [Auto], French [Auto], 4 more
  • Italian [Auto]
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  • Portuguese [Auto]
  • Spanish [Auto]
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This course includes
  • 30 hours on-demand video
  • 3 articles
  • 27 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Draw the human form from any angle or pose
  • Draw the muscles of the human form
  • Pose the human form
  • Draw male and female figures
  • Draw the figure without using reference
  • Have the ability to create a figure from their mind
  • Never have to rely on clip art or copy another artist's figures for reference
  • Improve your figures
  • Understand the principles of anatomy from a stick figure to the skeleton to the muscles and variety of the human form.
  • No special software is required. Although I teach in software all you need is a pencil and paper.
  • There are no closed captions or subtitles for this course.
  • The only thing "required" is something to draw with and you willingness to learn and work hard.


This is an introduction to anatomy and figure drawing. Drawing anatomy for some is an elusive unicorn that can seem impossible to catch. Books can be confusing and even cryptic. I have the same books that you have and they really didn’t help me improve. Not being able to create can be a crippling experience for an artist. We can trick ourselves into thinking we don’t need to draw the figure and can just “get by” through clip art or tracing. The truth is that is simply not good enough. It’s time to finally slay that figure drawing dragon.  

 The skills you acquire here will enhance not only your own work but give you a solid base to in any other online course or book. There is no "Quick fix" or "shortcuts" to making great art. It requires work. It's fun work and I'm going to show you a method that will make creating your own human figures for games and comics or a client’s work "pain free".  

The skills you will learn will apply to things like character design and turnarounds for games and creating action for comics. It can translate to illustration and digital painting and can even give you a jumpstart to 3D. There are limitless possibilities once you learn anatomy and figure drawing. The only limits are the ones you set for yourself.    

  • ·         You will learn how to draw anatomy without relying on reference

  • ·         You will be able to think like an artist and be a problem solver

  • ·         This is for those that are serious about improving art

  • ·         Keep an open mind and there is no time limit, work at your own pace.

  • ·         You will learn the muscles of the figure

  • ·         You will learn how to pose the figure

  • ·         You will learn to create variety and develop your own style

  • ·         You will no longer need to “search for a pose” or look at another artist's work.

Who this course is for:  

  • ·         Any beginner who wants to learn how to draw

  • ·         Art students (traditional and nontraditional and self-taught)

  • ·         Traditional artists who want to learn anatomy and figure drawing

  • ·         Graphic designers who want to learn to draw anatomy to get more clients and more work

  • ·         Anyone who wants to make their own game, graphic novel or illustrations

What this course is Not

  • ·         Not a "Speed Painting" course

  • ·         Not a series of "Shortcuts"

  • ·         Not a "Watch me draw" type of course

  • ·         Not a "magic wand" for drawing (You have to put in the work)

  • ·         No special software or any software is required. 

I hope you will join me and allow me to be your professional guide on your art journey.

Who this course is for:
  • This course is for anyone who wants to create characters for videogames and or comics and illustration
  • Graphic designers who want to learn anatomy and figure drawing
  • Aspiring game artists
  • Aspiring comic book/Manga artists
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to draw anatomy and figure drawing
  • Any hobbyist or creative type with zero art experience
  • Anyone with the desire to draw
  • NOT for someone who already knows how to draw anatomy
  • NOT for someone who isn't willing to put in the work
  • NOT for someone who is looking for a "quick tip" or "shortcut" to drawing
  • NOT for anyone who isn't serious about truly improving their art
Course content
Expand all 158 lectures 29:47:55
+ Welcome to Learning Anatomy
5 lectures 40:50

This is a course overview and introduction.I also included some worksheets. I mention them a few times throughout the course. Now if you do not see a worksheet then nothing is missing. I just want you try it on your own. Don't worry the exercises will be simple. If you want to post your work in the forums so I can help you. That's what I'm here for. And yes I really do answer all of the questions that are asked of me. I check this course daily.

Preview 09:25
Art as Problem Solving

Here is a quick Video on the book i recommend for drawing figures.

Preview 03:38
Getting the Most out of this Course

Here are the "worksheets" that I talk about in the course.

The Pose file Worksheets
+ Basic Training
7 lectures 01:23:59

In this video I discuss the most common mistake I see being made with students.

The Most Common Mistake and How to Fix it

In this video, you will learn how to be accurate in your measuring.

Learning How to Measure

The Stick figure is the building block. The structure of the human form. Everything starts with the stick figure. Making mistakes at this stage is not only common but it is normal and encouraged. I mention PDF worksheets in this section. I have provided them in JPG format in the zip file. Just copy what you see and play around with them. There are no wrong answers. 

Preview 18:52

Some stick figure practice. Have some fun and don’t over think it. 

Stick Figure 2

More on drawing the stick figure. 

Stick Figure 3
Alt Stick Figure
What should I practice if I feel stuck?
+ Basic Forms
12 lectures 02:46:04

The sphere is one of the basic shapes to create the human form. It assists you on how to draw the skull. It is a must know 3D form.

Preview 12:14

For those of you that are having trouble visualizing the sphere.

If You are having trouble with the Sphere

The box is an important basic shape in creating the human form. It gives a solid structure to anything that is a “major” shape. In a more rectangular form it can represent the torso and hips of both humans and animals.

The Box

This is a continuation with some practice exercises. It is important to practice on your own as well. Even if you are just doodling while on the phone practice making boxes. 

The Box 2

The cylinder is vital to creating the arms and legs. Get very comfortable with making them. Your arms and legs are basically cylinders. 

The Power of the Cylinder

For Everyone that is having trouble with the cylinder.

If you are Having Trouble with the Cylinder

The cylinder Practice is vital and normally you would get a worksheet. This is so important that I made practice videos for you to follow along with me. Pause the video when you need to. Pause the video as many times as you need to. Also do not sit in silence. Please put on some music. That’s what I and many artists do. I speak in the beginning of these set of videos and then there is me drawing in silence.  

Cylinder Practice
Cylinder Practice 2

Using the box, sphere and cylinder you will learn to see these forms in 3D . 

Shape Training 1

This is a part 2 of the last exercise. 

Shape Training 2

We continue to build on the exercises by expanding the shapes you will link together. This will get you used to the idea of moving a figure in 3D space. Don’t worry about making it look like anything other than shapes.

Shape Training 3

The last part of our shape training. By now your mind is starting to think in terms of for and not just lines. 

Shape training 4
+ Creating Your Own Mannequin
31 lectures 06:15:42

“8 Heads high” is a common method of learning the figure and its proportions.In this video I will teach you that method.

Proportion 1

Part two of the previous lecture as this was edited for time. 

Proportion 2

This is the way I teach proportion. My method is a system of measurement. Don’t be intimidated. It’s very simple.

Proportion 3

A continuation of the lecture.  

Proportion 4

The final part. I talk about the proportion for the front, side and back view as well as the female form. 

Proportion 5

You will learn how to take the sphere and turn it into a simple head shape. Also you will see how the head can also use the box to get proportions and angles correct.  

Preview 10:40

In part two we see how the cylinder can effectively be used to define the jawline.

Mannequin Head 2

We begin the exercises by looking at the front and side. 

Mannequin Head Exercise 1

The continuation we see how to have the heading looking up and down. 

Mannequin Head Exercise 2

For those of you that are having trouble with the mannequin heads here is an alternative lecture. My intention is to give you a variety of ways to solve problems artistically.

Alternative Mannequin Heads 12/17/17
That Looking up pose that can be confusing

This is the torso lecture. I will show you how to leverage the sphere in oval form to create the chest and hips. You will see the similarities and differences in both male and female torso.  

Mannequin Torso 1

This continuation goes more into the hips. A very useful tip is to think of them as underwear. 

Mannequin Torso 2

 I would like you to try and draw what you see . Draw the torso in all different views. It is important to challenge yourself and have fun. Please post your work.  

Mannequin Torso 3

Draw along with me. Pause as much as you need to. It is easier to watch once and then follow along upon a second viewing. 

Mannequin Torso 4

 By now you should have a good grasp on the shape of the simple torso. 

Mannequin Torso 5

Here is where those cylinder exercises come into to play. 

Mannequin Arm 1

More on the simplified arm.

Mannequin Arm 2

Looking at the movement and relationship of the torso and the upper arm first. 

Upper Arm 1
Upper Arm 2

This is the full arm lecture . It builds on the lesson on the upper arm. It's called "Full arm" because the lower arm can only be attached to the upper arm. Hopefully there is no confusion. 

Mannequin Arm 3 : Full Arm

We look at the legs of the mannequin and how the cylinder is used .  

Mannequin Leg Part 1

Part 2 of the leg. 

Mannequin Leg Part 2

Some examples of the leg in different positions. 

Mannequin Leg Examples

Drawing the mannequin foot. 

Mannequin Foot

Drawing the simplified hand.  

Mannequin Hands 1

Part 2.

Mannequin Hands 2

Part 3

Mannequin Hands 3
Mannequin Hands 4

This is an "Alternate" lecture on the mannequin. I felt it had some really great instruction in it and it was worth watching. It is in a zip file and is only about 25 minutes. It's a bonus lecture.  

Preview 00:04

A students asks : 

Quick Question on Neck placement?

Where would you place the neck for the head you're drawing at roughly 4:23? I'm following along with you but I'm have a tricky time figuring out where the neck would go.

(7/12/18) Student question on neck placement
+ Live Skeleton Lectures
8 lectures 55:11
What is this section about ?
The Skull and Spine
The Ribcage
The Scapula
The Arm
The Pelvis
The Leg
The Knee
+ Understanding the Skeleton
17 lectures 03:26:29
New Skeleton Reference (Feedback please)

An introduction to the skeleton and it's structure.

Skeleton Introduction

A lecture of the human skull.

Skull Lecture

All about drawing the skull. 

Drawing the Skull

And introduction to the scapula more commonly known as the shoulder bone. 

Scapula Introduction

Part 2 of the scapula lecture.

Scapula Lecture

This is the lecture on the bones of the rib cage. 

Rib Cage 1

Drawing the rib cage.

Rib Cage 2

A continuation of the rib cage.

Rib Cage 3

A continuation of drawing the rib cage.

Rib Cage 4

The pelvis can be difficult to draw. The good news is you don't have to ever draw the pelvis unless you are drawing a skeleton army or zombie etc. Just a note if you are having trouble drawing this, don't beat yourself up. Feel free to move on. The important part is the front ridge of the pelvis and where the leg bones are attached.  


The lecture on the arm bones. 

Arm Bones

The lecture on the bones of the legs. Pay attention to the way the legs "bow" from the front and the "S" curve from the side. 

Leg Bones
Skeleton Torso Front part 1

Part 2 of drawing the front rib cage torso. 

Skeleton Torso Front part 2

Drawing the side rib cage. Continuing using the worksheet and try to keep the proportions in line. 

Skeleton Torso Side

And finally drawing the back of the rib cage. 

Skeleton Torso Back
+ Understanding the Muscles
11 lectures 01:52:18

The lecture of the neck muscles. Also download the zip file for all of the muscle references. They are for you to use as reference.  

Neck Muscle Lecture

We will begin to add the muscles of the neck to the worksheet you drew the skeleton torso on. 

Drawing the Neck Muscles

A lecture of the muscles of the chest. 

Chest Muscles Lecture

Now we will add the chest muscles on our plate. 

Drawing the Chest Muscles

A lecture on the muscles of the back. 

Back Muscles Lecture

Now we will add the muscles of the back. 

Drawing the Back Muscles

 Abdominal lecture. 

Preview 10:04

We will add the abdominal muscles. 

Drawing the Abdominal Muscles

The muscles of the shoulder. 

Shoulder Muscle Lecture 1

Part 2 of the shoulder muscles lecture. 

Shoulder Muscle Lecture 2

We will add the muscles of the shoulder next. 

Drawing the Shoulder Muscles
+ LIVE LECTURE : More on Muscles
8 lectures 01:31:31

This is where the new muscle reference photos can be found.

Must Watch: New Muscle reference

I go over exactly what this section of lectures is about.

What's this Section about ?
More on the Neck Muscles

The back of the neck muscles are examined.

More on the Trapezius

These are the lats. The part of the back that gives you that "V" shape that superheroes love.

More on the Back Muscles

We discuss the oblique muscles and the shapes I use

More on the Obliques

Looking at a live anatomy figure and making the shoulder easier to understand.

More on the Shoulder

Making the biceps and triceps easier to understand,

More on the Upper Arm
+ Understanding the Muscles :Arms and Legs.
13 lectures 01:40:15

Biceps lecture

Biceps lecture

Using the provided "Arm bone plate" ,add the muscles of the bicep. 

Drawing the Biceps

The triceps lecture

Triceps Lecture

Drawing the muscles of the triceps.

Drawing The Triceps

The lecture of the forearm.

Forearm lecture

We will add the muscles of the forearm. Forearms are open to interpretation in my opinion. How you draw them and what muscles you decide to show is one of the things that create your style. I also provided the forearm reference sheet. 

Drawing the Forearm Muscles

The glutes have a lecture but not a "How to draw" . My reason is drawing attractive glutes for females is strictly a stylistic choice. I also go into more in depth on that subject in the "How to draw women" lectures.  

Glutes Lecture

The Lecture of the thigh muscles. 

Thigh Muscles Lecture

Using the provided "Leg Bone Plate" and the reference plate we will add the muscles of the thigh.  

Drawing the Thigh Muscles 1

We continue to draw the thigh muscles. 

Drawing the Thigh Muscles 2

The lecture of the calves. 

Calves Lecture

We will add the calve muscles to the leg bone plate. 

Drawing the Calves
+ Drawing the Knee
2 lectures 34:59

My in-depth lecture on understanding the knee and how it functions.

Understanding the Knee pt 1

The continuation of understanding the knee.

Understanding the Knee pt 2