How to draw the human body?

academy aktkurs zeichnung 02 - How to draw the human body?

Life drawing

Artists throughout history have been fascinated with the human figure. Learning to draw the human form can be intimidating. However, the gender or the appearance of the model is irrelevant. These things don´t matter. The whole point of life drawing is a pure confrontation with the human body. It´s about anatomical structure, movement, and proportions, but also about recreating a special atmosphere and about being able to put it onto paper. This is the reason why often a piece of cloth or other items are used.

For the students, who are just starting to learn the basic drawing skills, to represent a naked body can be daunting, to say the least. However, it plays a crucial role in the development of their artistic skills.

The parts of the body are considered in their structure, function and subordinated to the whole. You construct a simplified skeletal structure and simplified forms. This means that before drawing life you have to master the basics rules of drawing, that is, how proportions and forms can be rendered realistically, how to perfectly draw in perspective and how to draw light and shadow to create a 3D image.

You start with a few preliminary studies before going to the actual drawing part. At this stage, you are asked to sketch the model in various poses in order to become familiar with the body, the perspectives, the relationship between light and shadow and the tonalities. Then, the model takes a long-time pose, so that a detailed study can be done.

The depiction of the naked human body has been part of classical art education at art schools for centuries. Therefore, of course, also at our Academy of Fine Art Germany. We begin with the main principles of drawing, by teaching to truly observe things and to understand how to draw nature realistically.

In particular, we teach how to render proportions and forms realistically, to create a 3-D effect through light and shadow, and to use pencil and charcoal alike. We start by drawing just single parts of the body and then increase the complexity by drawing bigger parts of the body and ultimately by drawing the entire body.

In a nutshell, how do I draw the human body?

  • master the bases of drawing with pencil and charcoal (proportions, shapes, light & shadow, tonalities, 3-D effect)
  • sketch the model in different poses and from different perspectives
  • define the model’s long-pose and gradually draw until the artwork is completed

We teach all these skills in full-time and part-time study and in various workshops at our academy.

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