Christine Thornton's Art Studio

building skills and nurturing creativity

Drawing People From Observation
Art Start January 2015 

Practice Sketches First 

If you can draw from observation, there is no shortage of subject matter all around you, including people! It is difficult to see people how they really are, and to capture their subtleties and proportions in a drawing. To practice this, we started by drawing metal wires and then our hands from observation. We made blind contour drawings (not looking at the paper) as well as continuous contour drawings (not lifting the pencil from the paper). The purpose of these exercises is to learn to focus on what you see, rather than what you remember.

Figure Drawing Class

Next we posed for each other using various props. We started drawing the posed model by doing quick sketches called gesture drawings. Gesture drawings capture the basic proportions of the pose, like a stick figure. Then we made more careful, detailed contour drawings of the poses. 


Finally we drew faces, putting many skills to use: gesture drawing, contour drawing, and careful observation of proportion in different angles including frontal and three quarter view.