Simple Figure Sketches - 'Mannequin' Studies

Hardy Fowler
A free video tutorial from Hardy Fowler
Professional Illustrator & Concept Artist
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Painting Figures with the Power of Photoshop

Master a Timeless Art Form using the Digital Medium

02:50:41 of on-demand video • Updated April 2018

  • Sketch and render realistic and beautiful depictions of the human form
English [Auto] Everyone this is hardy in this lecture we will take a look at constructing figures now that we've looked at how to render each individual body part. We'll start putting it all together here so let's get started. I've got a blank canvas and I'm just going to set up a little exercise where we construct very vague mannequin like forms. This is just a very quick way to jot down human proportions. Get each body part put together and this is kind of how we start assembling each body part that we've learned to render individually. So we're putting it all together here into the the whole picture. So I start with this very basic mannequin type shape where I reduce the body to simple forms like spheres and cylinders. And we can just jot down very easily some believable correct proportion human figures without much effort. And what I'll do next after we have these mannequin type drawings finished is I'll come back for a second pass where we refine these and turn them into more believable human figures that have muscle details more correct detailing. So that's a basic process that I use to construct a human figures I start with these very rough shapes. Putting everything together and in it gives us a nice gesture and pose without much effort. And of course you're not committed to too much because you've only made a few very sketchy lines and if anything doesn't work out you can always just trash it and start over or just erase and refine those lines until it's working better. But very easily here I've got three manakin forms put together without much effort. There are some proportion issues that are correct when we refine these but that's basically all there is to it. To get a human form together pretty easily. So I made a copy of this mannequin layer and I'm going to go back for my second pass here and just start refining these shapes so I'm starting with the head here on the first figure and adding a little bit of detail. And we'll just sort of start filling in these rough armatures that we've made with detailed and more correct human anatomy. And just like that all these muscle shapes that we studied in our previous videos we can add those into this rough shape and it will all be in the correct place because we establish proportions in general sizes. When we made our mannequin so that's a great way to do it. Start with a very rough mannequin and then go back and add in more appropriate details. And that's such an easy way to get to a finished pretty realistic looking figure without much effort. And you don't have to sort of wade through unknown waters trying to get details right. The first time you can do a rough and then come back and kind of trace over it and refine it until it looks right in correcting some proportions here. He looked a little long in the legs and arms so just liquefying and adjusting a few things until that looks correct to me. And I think that's good so we'll move on to this next guy. The first post was just flat footed perfectly straight forward. But I tried to make this guy a little more complex and interesting kind of a contra Pasto where he has all of his weight on that far leg in sort of a flexed knee in the foreground leg kind of a more interesting pose. Feel free to play around with that and there are so many references for classical poses like this online. So I encourage you to explore that if you're looking for a more interesting type of pose. But correcting this guy's proportions just as we did with the first one and adding in details as we go refining erasing and redrawing lines as we see fit. And just like that this guys put together pretty quickly as I'm sure you've noticed this is sped up quite a good bit. I certainly don't draw this fast quickly but didn't seem like very interesting video material to watch me slowly re sketch these in real time so by all means don't feel like you have to draw this fast. But I just wanted to speed this up so it would not be a long boring video but the process is what I'm trying to get across here and I think that's the point is getting through that you can just sort of do these rough first round mannequin type sketches and then come back and fill them in with some detail. It just like that I think we have three pretty good mannequins that we have refined this third guy didn't like so much so I'll leave him out of the finished product. But let's take a look at how these two worked out. Here are two mannequins studies side by side in their rough form. And here is the refined past where we have two fully realized put together figure drawings ready to ink in or even start a painting. So that's a great demonstration of my general process for coming up with fully assembled figures. Up next we will take a look at how to realistically add body fat to a figure drawing. I've pulled up this pair of figures that we reviewed when we discussed general figure proportions. Now obviously these two figures have extremely low body fat. So let's now take a look at two figures with much higher body fat to see how this affects how we approach things. A very general effect to notice is that bodies with higher fat percentage have less definition in their forms. There is an overall smoothness and roundness to the forms as opposed to the sharper cut angles of the lower body fat figures. Areas like the neck under the chin the ankles and the gap between the thighs are smoothed out and filled in for line art. This means much fewer lines on the interior of the figures since we want things to look smooth and ill defined. It's also important to note that males and females carry fat in several different ways. Of course there are tons of variation and no two people are alike but these are good general guidelines to keep in mind. Males tend to carry fat predominantly in the belly and love handles the old spare tire. Look there is added bulk to the arms and legs but adding weight to the midsection is certainly the best way to get your higher body fat character a very male look. On the other hand females tend to carry fat predominantly in the hips rear end and legs. This gives the body an overall pear shaped quality. Keep these guidelines in mind and you're heavier. Characters will have a very realistic look. Up next let's put all of these concepts together and start our first full figure painting project. I look forward to seeing you there.