Free hand drawing can seem very daunting if it’s your first time trying it, especially without any guidelines or measurements. It is often difficult to estimate or gauge at certain points in a photo you’re trying to replicate, but this can all become much easier with a little appreciation for shapes! So brush up on your geometry as I’m going to try and explain how I draw free hand!
To make things easy to visualise, I have picked this image of Imaan Hammam from the upcoming Moschino Collection. It’s important to pick a good but simple photo to begin with and drawing people who are facing you head on is a great start your free hand skills.
1. Draw Straight Lines
When copying a real photo, take your time to study it. A great advantage of drawing people is the simplicity in their body shapes and poses. No matter what type of bodies people have, there are some defining lines that make them all the same.
Draw a straight line from the top in the angle the person is stood in that divides them in two.
Next, draw a few more straight lines going across that marks the shoulders and the waist.
These are great to guide your eyes to the right area of the photo when filling in the details and doing more accurate lines and curves.
2. Spot Shapes and Negative Space
This is the fun bit!
When trying to draw off of a photo, it is hard to get the proportions right. Spotting regular or irregular shapes really helps this process as instead of trying to draw the whole thing at once, you can break the photo down into several shapes.
As well as drawing the subject in the photo, spotting the negative space and visualising that as shapes is also a great way to get very accurate drawings.
3. Clean Up Lines
When sketching in pencil, it is often easy to get lost in all the rough lines you drew. This is why cleaning up your lines is important with a darker pencil or a pen as you get a better sense of what you’ve drawn so far.
Personally, cleaner lines also helps motivate me to finish a drawing I’ve started and get a better sense of my progress.
And in just 3 easy steps, you can learn to master your line art skills when drawing people!
For tips on how to colour your drawings, read my blog post on ‘7 Easy Tips on Colouring In Drawings’!