13 Best Figure Drawing Guides

List Updated October 2021

Bestselling Figure Drawing Guides in 2021


Figure It Out! The Beginner's Guide to Drawing People (Christopher Hart Figure It Out!)

Figure It Out! The Beginner's Guide to Drawing People (Christopher Hart Figure It Out!)
BESTSELLER NO. 1 in 2021
  • Chris Hart Books

The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Perspective On the Classical Tradition

The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Perspective On the Classical Tradition
BESTSELLER NO. 2 in 2021

Drawing: Beginning Still Life: Learn to draw realistic still lifes step by step - 40 page step-by-step drawing book (How to Draw & Paint)

Drawing: Beginning Still Life: Learn to draw realistic still lifes step by step - 40 page step-by-step drawing book (How to Draw & Paint)
BESTSELLER NO. 3 in 2021
  • Walter Foster Pub

The Complete Guide to Figure Drawing for Comics and Graphic Novels

The Complete Guide to Figure Drawing for Comics and Graphic Novels
BESTSELLER NO. 4 in 2021

Figure It Out! Drawing Essential Poses: The Beginner's Guide to the Natural-Looking Figure (Christopher Hart Figure It Out!)

Figure It Out! Drawing Essential Poses: The Beginner's Guide to the Natural-Looking Figure (Christopher Hart Figure It Out!)
BESTSELLER NO. 5 in 2021
  • Chris Hart Books

The Artist's Guide to Drawing the Clothed Figure: A Complete Resource on Rendering Clothing and Drapery

The Artist's Guide to Drawing the Clothed Figure: A Complete Resource on Rendering Clothing and Drapery
BESTSELLER NO. 6 in 2021

The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head

The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head
BESTSELLER NO. 7 in 2021
  • Watson-Guptill Publications

Figure Drawing: A Complete Guide (Art of Drawing)

Figure Drawing: A Complete Guide (Art of Drawing)
BESTSELLER NO. 8 in 2021
  • Search Press UK

Figure It Out! Human Proportions: Draw the Head and Figure Right Every Time (Christopher Hart Figure It Out!)

Figure It Out! Human Proportions: Draw the Head and Figure Right Every Time (Christopher Hart Figure It Out!)
BESTSELLER NO. 9 in 2021

Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life

Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life
BESTSELLER NO. 10 in 2021

The Figurative Artist's Handbook: A Contemporary Guide to Figure Drawing, Painting, and Composition

The Figurative Artist's Handbook: A Contemporary Guide to Figure Drawing, Painting, and Composition
BESTSELLER NO. 11 in 2021
  • Monacelli Studio

Figure Drawing Master Class: Lessons in Life Drawing

Figure Drawing Master Class: Lessons in Life Drawing
BESTSELLER NO. 12 in 2021

Drawing: Faces & Features: Learn to draw step by step (How to Draw & Paint)

Drawing: Faces & Features: Learn to draw step by step (How to Draw & Paint)
BESTSELLER NO. 13 in 2021
  • Walter Foster Publishing

Art Styles

This article covers the three main styles of human figure drawing.

The human figure is the most exquisite and most popular of all drawing subjects. Art forms of every kind have tried to capture humanity in different ways. This article will serve as a guide on the three primary styles of non-abstract human figure drawing.

The first of these styles is the realistic. Realistic figure drawing attempts to capture human beings in a manner that is as close to reality as possible. Pencil, ink, or charcoal drawings of realistic humans should have light, focused lines.

People, of course, do not have lines around them in real life, so lines should be suggestive enough that in some places they are not necessary. For example, in a black and white drawing, where light may be shining on the side of person's face, it may not be necessary to close in portions of the face with a line.

Using lines as conservatively as possible is the key to creating realistic, believable human figures. Realism is also achieved by very close study of the subject matter, and it will most likely be necessary to have a model to go by. This could include a photograph, a video, or a live model.

The second style of human figure drawing is the ideal. This encompasses ancient drawings of gods and heroes as well as modern comic book art. While some comic books strive for a more realistic representation of humans, for the most part they are an excellent example of ideal figure drawing.

Ideal figure drawing attempts to give physical perfection to its subjects, endowing the men with great strength and physique and the women with flawless supermodel form and features. Figures look imposing, and their poses are often glamorous and exciting.

Beyond poses and physique, another way to achieve ideal figures is through the use of bold lines. These lines can be sketchy and slightly messy, but they tend to encompass the entire figure. Lines on ideal figures accentuate muscles and add a flowing or moving quality to the figure through their hair or clothing.

The third of the primary styles of non-abstract figure drawing is cartoon. In cartoon drawing, the artist exaggerates human proportions to the desired amount in an attempt at humor and whimsy. Noses are often lengthened or made larger, heads are nearly almost always enlarged, and eyes are made more expressive and simpler.

Cartoon lines are bold and unbroken, and almost never sketchy. Cartoon figures have no real standard other than their lack of realism. The figures must still be recognizable as humans, but do not necessarily share the proper number of digits. Details are often made simpler, and far fewer lines are used on cartoon figures than on realistic or ideal figures.

These three drawing styles have many different sub-styles within them, but understanding these three primary styles is key to developing one's own style.

Related Bestselling Lists That You Might Like