Figure drawing is a discipline that traditional artists and animators alike agree should be the cornerstone from which every artist starts their journey. In order to create one’s own characters, it is absolutely imperative that one develop an internal sense of proportions of the body. What with all the different poses & perspective points- this can be difficult to do!

The task of translating 3-dimensional life into 2 dimensions is a skill that can only be developed with patience, focus and time.

Of course - with the internet abound - we’ve developed other ways of drawing the figure - hence - enter figure drawing reference.

There are many ways that one can use google and the internet to draw figures, but to really become a wizard at drawing figures, it’s probably best to use a multimedia approach. It’s not only digital. Personally, I’ve learned different things through using pencil and paper, going to live and online figure drawing classes, 3d modelling the human figure, just sketch me etc - using timed online figure drawing sites - and these are all good for understanding the human body further. Of course, these are all good general tips for warm-ups and practise, but if you’d like to get a quick overview so you can start creating characters, please see below for using Figure Drawing Reference to create awesome character designs!

Below you will find my suggestions for optimal ways to use Figure Drawing References & Just Sketch Me to create your own characters & poses from your imagination.

Step 1 - Start by warming up. - Use a site like https://line-of-action.com/ to do 30-second gestural poses. You can set a timer to change poses quickly. Be sure to focus on the gesture rather than trying to get every detail in.

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Step 2 - Body Proportions! - After warming up you can familiarise yourself with the standard body proportions. A typical human is 8 heads, with the fingertips aligning at five heads, the waist and elbows aligning at 4, the knees aligning at 6, and the feet at 8.

Step 3 - Apply body proportions to your own character! - Draw your character and their proportions over the 8 heads. Maybe your character is very box-like, maybe your character is triangular or circular. Women generally have an hourglass type figure for the waist, whereas men generally have a more v-like shape. Refine these shapes and make sure they’re recognisable.

Step 4 - Pose in JustSketch.Me! - Now that you’ve solidified your character it’s time to move onto posing! Open up https://justsketch.me/ - press start - and start manipulating joints. We’ve chosen a figure skating inspired theme - so our character is going to be doing crazy bends, and twists - which are best viewed from interesting camera angles. The camera in JustSketchMe can be rotated to do just this.

Step 5 - Finesse! - Now’s the time to compare your character’s proportions to the original design. Do some things need to be tweaked, or proportioned differently? Be sure to use this time to create a recognisable character presence.

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- Charlie Martinson