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Drawing the Human Figure: Shapes, Sizes & Body Types

Updated on September 23, 2014

The Human Figure

The purpose of this art lesson is to teach you how to draw the human figure. Drawing the human figure, or the human form, is not as difficult as you may think. Although there are many different elements of the human figure, drawing it is very doable. If you can draw a stick figure and basic shapes you CAN draw. It’s just that simple. In order to make the human figure look realistic, you have to learn the elements of shading and basic shapes as discussed in the previous lesson.

Shapes & Sizes

There are many different body types & shapes. There is no quintessential body type. Everyone has their own unique shape. Body types & shapes are based on various factors such as heredity and size. Below are examples of the different body types and shapes:

Body Types

From left to right: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, & Endomorph
From left to right: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, & Endomorph

Ectomorph This body type is typically skinny with lean muscle and narrow shoulders.

Mesomorph This body type is more muscular and athletic.

Endomorph This body type is typically heavier or what some may call “full-figured.”

Body Shapes

To draw any image you have to consider that image in terms of shapes. There are various body shapes to consider. These shapes mainly apply to the female figure because of their curvature. The most prominent shapes are shown below:

Hourglass: Broad hips & shoulders with a smaller waistline.

Round: Fuller figure; full hips, bust, & waistline.

Rectangle: Narrow hips and shoulders; waistline is not defined (boy-shaped)

Triangle: Narrow shoulders; wider hips.

Inverted Triangle: Broad shoulders; narrow hips.

♦Key Points to Remember

-There are various shapes & sizes of the human figure to consider.

-There are 3 different body types: endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph.

-There are 5 primary body shapes (hourglass, round, rectangle, inverted triangle, & triangle) that mainly apply to women.

-Have patience

-Don’t be hard on yourself & have fun!!

-Keep practicing!


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