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Drawing the Human Body for Kids

by Jean Van't Hul
February 18, 2015

Tips and ideas for drawing the human body for kids, including blind contour drawing, observational drawing, and using a wood mannequin.

The kids and I have been learning about and drawing the human body recently.

My hope is that by exploring how the human form is put together and different ways of drawing it, we’ll all become more comfortable depicting it in our artwork—me, of course, but also my daughters. Here’s some of what we’ve been doing:

  • assembling a 2 1/2 foot model skeleton (they are calling her “Grandma Johnson”)
  • drawing each other
  • drawing our own hands and feet
  • doing body tracings
  • drawing our good buddy the wooden mannequin.

I want to encourage my children to see—really see—the human body and to practice drawing what they see. To get beyond the stick figures that Daphne’s drawing and the hyper self-consciousness that Maia has about her work sometimes these days if it doesn’t look perfect or like her best artwork ever.

Learning about the Human Body

But just learning about how the body is put together and works is important on its own. Kind of like an owner’s manual for our body.

Ways to Learn About the Human Body 

Observing and drawing the human body is a great way to learn about how the body is put together and how it works.

Blind Contour Drawings with Kids

We’ve been doing blind contour drawings

(Which usually means we’re looking at the object and not what our hand is doing on the paper. Although as you can see from the photo above, Maia likes to cover her eyes sometimes as well.)

Blind Contour Drawings with Kids 2

Blind contour drawings make the girls giggle!

Figure Drawing with Kids

We’ve been sketching each other

Figure Drawing for Kids
Maia Figure Drawing
Drawing Hands and the Human Body 2

We’ve drawn our hands

Drawing Hands with Kids

Although the kids did as much hand tracing as observational drawing!

Drawing the Human Body from a Mannequin

We each sketched the wooden mannequin quite a bit…

Drawing the Human Body for Kids

…even ad libbing hair and fairy wings.

Body Tracing and Painting with Kids

We did body tracings and paintings (the kids decided it was much easier to get proportions right this way!)…

Back and Forth Figure Drawing

And we even played a back-and-forth drawing game with figure drawing, taking turns adding body parts.

Drawing the Human Body e-Guide by Craftsy

Through it all, I’ve been using one of Craftsy’s free e-guides (Drawing the Human Body) as a reference. The guide is written for adults so I’m learning a lot and sharing some of the information with my kids when it seems appropriate.

This Drawing the Human Body e-guide is excellent and there’s so much information in it, it’s hard to believe it’s free. I chose it for the subject matter, obviously, but also because Paul Heaston, one of the authors, is one of my favorite Craftsy instructors (he did the sketchbook class).

Drawing the Human Body Craftsy eGuide

Drawing the Human Body :: A Primer

By Sandrine Pelissier and Paul Heaston

Download it now for free.

 A few helpful tips on drawing the human body from this e-guide ::

Draw an external envelope of the figure, you can see it as a block of stone you would use if you were to carve the figure. Make it large enough for the entire figure to fit in it, and then refine it step by step.

Instinctively, we often imagine that the hand is way smaller than the head, but actually the head is about the same length as the hand, and also about the same length as the foot without the toes.

If you become frustrated or bored with your drawings, you can try changing medium. [Some they recommend are paint, charcoal, colored pencils, markers, ink.]

Reading this e-guide is making me want to take a life drawing class again! Something I haven’t done in 15 years.

How about you? Have you explored drawing the human body yourself or with your kids?

Drawing People with Kids

If you’re looking for more people drawing ideas, here are some ::

Drawing the Human Body for Younger Children

Model of Human Skeleton

Drawing the Human Body for Older Kids and Teens

This post was sponsored by Craftsy; all opinions expressed are my own.

Pin It for Later ::

Drawing the Human Body for Kids from a Wood Mannequin 4

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