First step:

  • Things to consider when starting a drawing :





Abstract geometric forms

Center line

Bony points

Comparative measurements

  • Process

-Sight size is one of the most common ways to define the important points in your drawing (like the pit of the neck, the bellybutton, the pubic area, the top of the head and the feed of the standing leg). It’s a method that will make it easier to put the figure on the paper and it’s quite a “fool-proof” way to make sure that all the points are well related during the whole long pose process.

DO NOT mark a lot of points! With a standing pose you only need the top of the head, the foot of the standing leg, the pubic area, the bellybutton and the pit of the neck.

-Next step is to search for the simplest straight lines with direction, looking for the gesture lines and the general rhythm of the pose.

-You can check if the proportions are right by looking for bigger abstract geometric forms. Some gestures or a pose in general may be best communicated by drawing the shape that it fits into.

– These lines must be soft and flexible so all the mistakes we make can be erased in a comfortable way.

-At this point everything will be related to the CENTERLINE of the body. This is an imaginary line that we will use to separate the right part of the body from the left part of the body to make sure that the proportions are right. The centerline runs from the pit of the neck to the pubic area and down to the weight-supporting foot (or feet). The centerline shows the flow of the movement and is therefore straight when the body is in erect position and curved when the body is in action.

Centerline will help us to understand the proportions and relations within the figure.


-YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR: Rib cage, pelvis, upper leg, lower leg, foot, upper arm, lower arm, hand, neck and head. In the next step we will focus on elbow, shoulders and knee, but for now the previous list will do.

-It is also important to look for the bony points like the acromion, the clavicle, the pit of the neck, the elbow, the sternum, pelvic point.

-You can also check the accuracy of basic proportions by using comparative measurements. It might prove useful! For example, you can measure the distance between the foot and the knee of the standing leg and compare it with some other part of the body. As the distance between these two points is unlikely to change, it might be used as unit of measurement during the drawing process.


Second Step:

-Things to consider:

Abstract forms


Comparative Measures


Big masses


Body type

Quality of the line

  • Process

– Continue looking for and comparing the abstract forms, geometric shapes and possible relations between the proportions in the whole body.

– Compare the different tilts and angles searching for harmonic abstract shapes.

– Now we start thinking in a constructive way ( the planes of the form) so the abstract forms that we put previously make sense. It’s important to keep in mind that every decision MUST be checked in both constructive and abstract ways.

– It is still important to think about the big masses.

– Take a moment to consider the body type of the model and if it is reflected in our drawing.

– Be careful to preserve the gesture and rhythm of the pose.


Third step

  • Things to consider:



Quality of the line

-At this point we start to be less generic and turn to more specific knowledge. We need to verify the proportions with the help of our basic anatomy knowledge.

At the beginning, the understanding of the body as big mass is more important. As we proceed it is important to try to understand more and more the anatomy so you can describe those big masses in a more specific way. Depending on the model and his/her body type, this study will be more or less obvious (if he/she is more or less muscular).

-The quality of the line is very important as we are still in the beginning and we MUST keep the lines flexible and soft. We introduce the sharp edges at the end, for later on put accents on our focal point to describe specific parts were we want to put more structure, like bony points.


Fourth Step

  • Things to consider:

Quality of the line


Visual Impression

  • Process

Visual impression of the light and shadow.

-At this step we will start putting a light value in the shadows. Keeping the shadows FLAT and the shadow line a bit darker. Thanks to this value we will be able to compare the abstract forms of the light and the shadow and have another option to check the accuracy of the proportions. This way we are looking for the visual impression of the light and the shadow.

– It is crucial to keep turning back to abstract forms, the constructive way of looking, the anatomy, the proportions, the sight-size method during the whole drawing process.


Fifth Step

  • Things to consider:


Quality of the line

Visual impression

  • Process

Establish the light value of the background as it will help you with the visual impression and it will make easier to read the drawing.

-You need to keep in mind the quality of the line and make sure you DO NOT lose the drawing.




Sixth Step

  • Things to work on:

Darken the lines

Work on the contour lines


White chalk

  • Process

-With the background done now we need to recheck that all the previous references (proportions, construction etc.) are right and then we can start to work on the contour of the figure. But we need to keep everything as simplified as possible. We can now make the lines a bit darker so they stand out from the background.

-If we are a bit advanced we can start to think about where we will draw the contrasted lines and sharper lines and the softer lines of the shadow line.

-By now we need to start to think about the form and how the form works so the construction and the anatomy start to make more sense.

– We can put a bit of white chalk on the highlights so we can keep looking for more abstract forms and also it will help with the visual impression.


Seventh step

  • Things to work on:

Form contour

Shadow line

Quality of the line


White chalk


Key values


  • Process

-You need to continue working on the form and construction, but being more specific and less generic. Work on the shadow line and the quality of the line.

-With the white chalk start to draw the falling light

-With the charcoal you can start to darken the shadows keeping them flat but keeping in mind how the form works.

-keep in mind that every time there is a change of value it is because there is something happening in the form, so there is a change of planes. It is important to understand why this is and trying to draw it in the best way possible so it can be read more clearly. These changes of planes can be soft or sharp. The soft changes of value mean that there is not a big change of planes and form, so it is suttle. If there is a sharp edge on the value or a big change of value means that there is aan important change of planes and form.

-It may be beneficial to define the key value so all the relations that you draw between the values are very close to what the value will be at the end of the drawing.

– If you are more advanced you can start to think about the composition between the figure and the background.



Eighth step

  • Things to work on

Key Value




Focal point

Construction planes

Structure on the halftones

  • Process

-By now the figure MUST have the key values defined so every relation that we draw from now on will have the correct value. Keep in mind that the falling of the light is like a shower: the top parts of the figure will have more light that the legs. –

-Also keep in mind that you will probably put more contrast where the focal point is.

– It will be very beneficial to think a lot about the focal point, and put a lot of effort in that part to make sure it is well constructed.

– To be able to play a bit more with the focal point we can use accents. Accents are little lines that vary in size and value that help explain better how the form works and also it helps with the composition. We can find them not only inside the figure but also in the contour. Make sure you don’t do every little accent in the same way as this will make a boring reading of the figure for the spectator ( use variations like different value, size, with charcoal, with then eraser, different placing..). Basic places where you put accents: change of planes, bony points, variation in the contour, the articulations. It is important to put structure on the halftones.

-its important that all the decisions that we are making are specific. This means that we need to think about the specific form, anatomy and construction of the model. Trying to be less and less generic.


Ninth step

  • Things to work on

Finishing touches



  • Process

-By now the figure drawing will be almost done, you will only need to draw a few more accents so everything is well explained.

-Make sure that the background is working well with the composition as it helps to define the gesture of the figure. The figure should be the “main character” of the drawing and not the background.