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How To Draw A Superhero

Updated on December 13, 2011

How I learnt how to draw a super hero

When I was growing up my hero was Superman. Spiderman was a close second and I really wasn't that bothered on Batman and Robin. While I think of it though, Wonder Woman was high up on the list too!

One of my childhood passions, as well as Wonder Woman, was drawing. I would draw anything, even my own cartoon characters. The characters I loved to draw most were my superheroes. In particular I really liked the characters from the Marvel Comics. All I wanted to do was draw Spiderman or to draw Superman. There was something about the way they are portrayed and the style of drawing just got me hooked.

I wanted to learn how to draw superheroes. In fact, I wanted to learn how to draw them so bad that one day at school I found a book to buy. That book is still around today and I can highly recommend it.

From the basics to the finished article 'How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way' is a must for any beginner, whether old or young. This book introduces the basic elements of the Marvel comic book.With step by step drawing it teaches you how to draw a super hero, scenes, perspective, and most of the other techniques needed in how to make a comic book. I still have my copy today... somewhere.

Other books I bought were things like how to draw cartoons step by step for kids, as I loved to sit in my room drawing my own cartoons. It was great to get inspiration from other sources. I also had a few books that helped with how to draw people step by step; for some reason I had a thing about drawing figures, messing with proportions and head shapes. Even now if you were to see my doodles they would mainly be of faces and figures in different poses.

One really good book I got was by a man named Tony Hart. He was a British artist who presented a kids TV program when I was little. His way of showing children how to draw was amazing. He would always do something really impressive in about 2 minutes flat that all kids would aspire to achieve one day as well. Part of his book that I really liked was learning how to draw animals step by step. The step by step bit is quite important, which is why I mentioned it a load of times.

When learning how to draw it is useful and easier to do it step by step (there it is again!). Image drawing a horse for the first time, or an airplane. Pretty complicated until you boil it down to the basic shapes. Once you have some basic shapes together you can build them out to look like something more meaningful.

Its All About Proportion

I may not be able to teach you how to draw a super hero but I can tell some useful stuff about it. For example, notice how pretty much every super hero you see is stood in a way that you or I would not usually stand? Clenched fists, legs apart, shoulders back and chest out. This all helps to portray their super athleticism and strength. Their postures are greatly exaggerated compared to how people normally stand.

Notice too their proportions. When learning how to draw a super hero you will first learn about the proportions of a normal human being. We all have the same kind of proportions, with a few obvious exceptions. Examples include:

  • the middle of our eyes line up with the corners of our mouths.
  • The distance between our wrist and elbow should be the same length as our feet.
  • The span from finger tip to finger tip when stretched out side to side is about the same as our vertical height.

Go ahead and try it. There are many more. When learning how to draw there are loads of interesting and fun relationships and proportions to things that help make your drawings more realistic.


The Eight Head Rule

One of the obvious differences between us and the super heroes is in the proportions of height and length of limbs. One of the first lessons I learnt from the book I bought as a child was that the average human being is around six to six and a half heads tall. This means that our body length can be divided into six parts, each being the same height as our head.

One of the first things you'll see when learning how to draw a superhero like you see in comics, is that with super heroes we use the eight head rule. This gives added height to the figure and therefore, arms and legs will need to be longer and stronger to match their taller physique.

You will also find that each head sized section from the top aligns with a body part. For example, chin, nipples, navel, crotch. Using this rule gives us the frame upon which we can build our super hero.


Get The Posture Right

When learning how to draw a superhero, getting them in the correct posture is also important. Imagine Spiderman slumped in a chair sat at a desk, or stood in front of you with his arms to his side not really doing much. BORING!! These super heroes are extremely fit and active people and should be drawn as such.

With comic drawing, imagine some energetic action poses - mid punch, halfway through a leap over a tall building, having just landed from a back flip. That's what we're after.

Start with a simple stick figure, using the proportions of the eight head rule. Heck, you can even use a nine head rule if you want to. From there, twist the torso to one direction, face the head in the other direction, get an arm out doing something. It can be anything you like but remember to make it energetic.

Heads And Faces

The facial features of a super hero can be kept simple. Remember that most of these characters originate from comic books and are not that complicated to draw. Keeping simple, clean lines achieves the best results.

But look at these tips from the 'How to draw Comics The Marvel Way' book. By adjusting some of the shapes a little you can get a much more effective result.

Find some pictures of super heroes from comic books and study their faces. See how few lines there are that make up the eyes, nose and mouth. Even the most difficult facial feature to draw - the ear can be represented with just a few simple lines.

That is the key to drawing good comic book characters. After all, we are not after a complete visual representation of the human body in all its glory.

These books will also teach you how to draw heads and how to get the proportions and shape right. Once you get this well practiced your characters will look much more realistic and less deformed.

The books shown throughout this hub are my top picks. My absolute favourite is the 'How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way' but there are others and you may prefer a different teaching style.

Good luck in learning how to draw a superhero!

Which superhero is your favourite?

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    • profile image

      RAJATH.K.S. 5 years ago


    • DaveysRecipeRead profile image

      DaveysRecipeRead 6 years ago

      Great hub! Guys like Kirby bent the rules of drawing ( fists with more joints making them bigger and more threatening) but exaggeration is what it's all about anyway, isn't it?