How to Draw a Human Figure
Why does the artist shade with contour lines?
Hi! I am Mark Keathley, America’s Artist and today we are going to draw the human figure. So grab your favorite pencil and a sketch pad and a photograph of a human figure.Today, I am drawing a little girl walking on the beach. The first thing I am going to do is study proportions, sizes, shapes and angles of things. I am seeing the angle of her leg, this direction, the leg she is standing on this direction, an arm here, and I am making real light notes right now, because I am not sure where this is going.Okay, I am liking the direction and the things I have happening now, so now I am going to start studying negative shapes. I have the proportions the way I like it. I have learned that about studying and getting the negative shapes accurate, the rest of it takes place, takes care of itself, the proportions and the shapes of the legs.So I am not going to draw legs right now. Right now I am going to draw the space between the legs. I am going to study that real good, I have a knee here, but I am not thinking knee, I am just thinking the shape and the angles and the distance between the legs. I know that if I get that right, everything else is going to look right. I am pretty happy so far with the shape and the design of everything, so now I am going to start zeroing in on certain areas and doing a little bit of shading.First I am going to establish my light wherever I want the sunlight to hit and it will create some shadows. Okay, I am going to shade with contours, instead of shading this way, I am going to create lines that go around the arm like this and there is also going to be some lighter ones on this side creating a highlight effect here down the center of the arm.Whether you are painting or drawing, contour lines show you the angle and the roundness of the muscles. Again, I want to focus on when I am drawing, studying my photograph over and over, looking constantly at my photograph, studying the negative shapes, studying the light, leaving.If I am drawing with pencil, I want to leave the light areas light, white, and I want to shade on the dark areas, and then using contour shading instead of linear shading, if I shade the contours, then the muscles and the form comes into view. And that’s how you draw the human figure.