How to Draw a Body Outline

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The human form is an early assignment in most drawing classes. According to BBC, "the human figure offers all the complexities an artist needs to learn in order to be able to conquer any drawing subject."

Reporter Will Gompertz continues, "Every time a model makes a move, there's something to learn and work on. Shadows and skin texture, the way the limbs move, extend. Every pose or position, reveals a whole new composition, and another focus for a drawing. A great range of movement is possible, right in front of you, which combined with the anatomical and structural complexity of the body, make particular demands on us when we draw."

The above refers to sketching from a live model. But you, too, can begin your drawing journey with a sketch of the human form, even if a model is not available. This body outline drawing guide is designed to help you do just that. It will help you learn about human proportions of the head, torso, and limbs. Later, you can fill in additional details and bring your drawing to life.

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

Would you like to draw an outline of the human body? This easy, step-by-step drawing tutorial is here to show you how. All you will need is a pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of paper.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Legs, Face, and Holding Hands.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Body Outline

How to Draw Body Outline: Step 1

1. Begin by drawing an oval. This will form the person's head.

How to Draw Body Outline: Step 2

2. Next, extend two curved lines beneath the head to form the neck. Allow the lines to diverge from one another, forming the shoulders.

How to Draw Body Outline: Step 3

3. Use pairs of curved lines to draw the arm and hand - the upper arm, the lower arm, and the palm and back of the hand. Notice that the lines converge upon one another at the elbow and wrist. Then, complete the hand by drawing the fingers. You can use overlapping, narrow, "U" shaped lines.

How to Draw Body Outline: Step 4

4. Draw the remaining arm. Use pairs of curved lines to form the upper arm, lower arm, and the back and base of the hand. Then, use narrow "U" shaped lines to enclose the fingers.

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How to Draw Body Outline: Step 5

5. Draw the torso and upper legs using two curved lines. Note that the lines converge slightly at the mid-torso and waist, diverging at the hips and stomach.

How to Draw Body Outline: Step 6

6. Outline the leg using curved lines. Note the convergence at the knee and the divergence of the calf muscle.

How to Draw Body Outline: Step 7

7. Draw the remaining leg using curved lines.

How to Draw Body Outline: Step 8

8. Draw the feet. Use curved lines to sketch the feet, noting the bulge of the ankles. Connect each pair of curved lines using small "U" shaped lines to indicate the toes.

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How to Draw Body Outline: Step 9

9. Draw the ears using "C" shaped lines. Erase the guide lines of the original circle from the base of the ears and the neck.

How to Draw Body Outline: Step 10

Your body outline is complete. Now, you can customize it to create your own cartoon character or realistic sketch. Male or female, human or alien, the choice is yours. Check out our people drawing guides for tips on adding eyes, hands, hair, a nose, a mouth, and more.

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

The Complete Body Outline Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Body Outline

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