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Cost
$ $ $ $ $
Difficulty
• • • •
Time
6h25

In this tutorial, I’ll cover the necessary steps needed to turn a reference photo into a stunning drawing that you can use as a portfolio piece.
Before we get into the details, we have to first make sure we do some prep work.

Posted by stanprokopenko from San Diego, California, United States • Published See stanprokopenko's 9 projects »
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  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 1
    Step 1

    Pick a good reference image that you want to use for your drawing. Make sure it is high resolution and has good lighting.

  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 2
    Step 2

    Break down the reference image with proportion studies. Look for measurements that will help you lay in the figure. Things in the photo that align well. Look for head unit alignments, width and height relationships, horizontal and vertical plumb lines, and any other proportional issues you might run into.

  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 3
    Step 3

    Figure out and sketch a gesture study. Find the motion within the pose, rhythms between the elements in the pose, and you're much less likely to end up with a stiff drawing. The major action line of this pose is an S curve.

  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 4
    Step 4

    Value Studies: Develop a tonal composition. Where's the focal point? How will you design the values to create a clear focal point and an interesting composition? This is a tonal study using 5 values.

  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 5
    Step 5

    Finish off your prep by doing an anatomy study for the figure drawing. Here I did an anatomy tracing of the muscles over the photo.

  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 6
    Step 6

    Start drawing the layin. Since you're drawing from reference, not from imagination, the first step should be heavy on measuring. Checking to make sure the proportions are correct.

  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 7
    Step 7

    Identify the largest shapes and rhythms, then add the anatomical details on top. Use what you learned from your proportion and gesture studies.

  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 8
    Step 8

    Now that we have the layin finished, it's time for the shading. I like to start by separating the lights from the shadows. A quick way of doing this is with some charcoal powder.

  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 9
    Step 9

    Dip a soft sable brush into a little jar of charcoal powder. Lightly tap the brush on the jar to knock off some of the charcoal. Slowly start spreading it onto the shadow areas.

  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 10
    Step 10

    When you're done spreading the charcoal powder begin using your pencil to shade in more details. Make sure your pencil is already nicely sharpened when shading an important light area.

  • How to make a drawing. How To Draw And Shade The Human Torso - Step 11
    Step 11

    You're done! Keep practicing to develop your eye and hand. Learning to represent the human form 3 dimensionally on a flat paper, takes many years of practice.

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