"Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.” - Salvador Dali
Learning to draw can be a creative and stimulating endeavour. Whether you’re drawing a face, a landscape, an object, or animals, art is a way to express your creativity.
Here’s how to realistically draw a man from head to toe.
What Do You Need to Draw a Man?
Firstly, you don’t need to spend a lot to get started.
Don’t you need a sketchbook and some pencils to get started?
To learn how to realistically draw a man, you’ll need just a few things: Some pencils, paper, and rubber will do it.
Depending on the technique you want to use, you can also get ballpoint pens, fountain pens, coloured pencils, charcoal, felt tips, pastels, a sketchbook, or even a graphics tablet.
The Type of Paper
To start drawing, the paper is the place to start. There are different types of paper according to the grammage:
- From 90g/m² to 120 g/m²: For sketches or drafts with pastels, charcoal, sanguine, or pencils.
- From 120 g/m² to 200 g/m²: For painting.
- Layout Paper: for inks, felt tips, and markers. It’s resistant and bleed proof.
To do sketches and draw people, paper between 90 g/m² and 120 g/m² will do the trick.
Types of Pens and Pencils
Whether you’re drawing a comic, manga, animals, or portraits, you need to choose your pencil according to the lead (which is graphite):
- H: Pencils with a hard lead for doing quick sketches and fine lines (eyelashes, for example).
- B: Pencils with a dark lead, perfect for drawing curves and simple shapes.
- Blue lead: perfect for construction lines.
- Fountain and ballpoint pens.
- Coloured pencils: for colouring comic books and manga, for example.
Depending on the type of drawing you’re doing, you’ll need different pens of pencils.
You’ll need to rub out your construction lines once you’ve finished your drawings. White rubbers are better than coloured rubbers, especially when it comes to sketching people.
Learning to Draw the Upper Body of a Man
So how can you draw a man?
You can learn to draw by starting with simple geometric shapes. Firstly, you need to split your page into a grid so that your subject will be in proportion. In this example, we’ll be drawing a man facing the observer.
Let’s start with the upper body.
For the outline of the head and the neck, you’ll want to draw a circle and a curve below. The circle will be like an upside-down egg. Then start drawing the neck: under the chin, draw two curved lines starting where you’ll later draw the ears.
Under the neck, draw a horizontal line larger than the head at a right angle to the neck. Don’t press down too much as you’re still sketching basic shapes. These lines will act as a guide for the collarbones and shoulders. You need to keep in mind that men’s shoulders are generally broader than women’s.
When drawing men, you want the shoulders to be around 3 times the width of the head whereas they’re only twice the width of the head when drawing women. You can draw two lines from the to the end of the shoulders.
Now let's move on to the chest cavity. This is generally more triangular than that of a woman. It goes from the centre of the neck down to the bellybutton. To make things simpler, the chest takes the shape of two inflated lungs, the shape of two ovals clinging to one another.
You now need to draw the stomach. To do this, draw two straight lines down towards the hips. Now you add the pectoral muscles under the arms. They form a curve that meets upwards at the sternum. Of course, how you draw them will dictate how muscular your subject appears. Underneath, there are the abdominal muscles. These can be drawn as two slightly approaching lines that go down to the genital area.
Don’t forget the arms, of course. Draw three arcs to ensure that they’re in proportion with the rest of the body.
- The first arc will the elbow at the level of the thorax.
- The second arc for the wrists will be at the level of the genitals.
- The third arc for the fingers will be halfway up the thighs.
You need to ensure that the muscles are curved, especially at the biceps.
Struggling to draw hands?
There are plenty of great tutorials online to help you.
Drawing the Lower Body
From the hips to the bottom of the page, you need to draw the legs. This part is difficult because there are several muscle groups in the legs.
You need to draw four horizontal lines to draw the legs. You need to draw two circles half-way up the legs where the knees will go. Draw two straight lines that get slightly closer towards the bottom.
Next, draw a diagonal line from the hips to three quarters down the thigh. This will be the vanishing points for the adductors.
Now let’s move onto sketching the thigh muscles, which are larger than the adductors and run from the pubis to the knees.
Are you still struggling?
To sketch the legs, you might want to look for drawing tutorials with a private tutor or invest in a book on how to draw.
Let’s move onto the tibias. Each needs to bend slightly (you can use parallel lines to act as a guide). For the calves, you need to draw two light arcs around each tibia. On the insides, this needs to be more pronounced.
You can use two circles to draw the ankles and a couple of rectangles for the feet. Go back over the contours and the muscles with a pencil.
Learn how to draw flowers.
How to Draw a Man’s Face
Finally, this may be the most important part: the face, nose, eyes, hair, and ears. You can also learn how to draw a mouth.
Pay attention to the eyebrows when drawing a face. For men, they’re closer to the eyes and thicker than they would be on women. Similarly, men have a stronger jawline and you need to use shading on the chin and cheeks. You can also add a beard to increase the masculinity of your subject.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- The length and shape of the nose.
- The height of the mouth.
- The chin.
- The jawline.
- The thickness of the eyebrows.
- The eyes and mouth are generally smaller on a man’s face than on a woman’s.
To make your sketches more realistic, you need to focus on the contours and then move onto adding colour. Focus on the muscle groups and remember to erase your construction lines.
If you’re not drawing nudes, you’ll need to add clothing: trousers, a shirt, a hat, tattoos, etc. Remember to pay attention to the folds in the clothing and how shadow and light affect them.
Find out how to draw women.
For more help, consider getting private tutorials from one of the many talented tutors on Superprof!
There are three main types of drawing tutorials available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type of tutorial has its pros and cons so take the time to carefully consider which type is best for you, your preferred learning style, your learning objectives, and your budget.
Face-to-face tutorials are a bespoke service in which you'll have a personal tutor and you'll be the only student in the lesson. The lessons will be planned with you in mind and your tutor will be available to answer any questions you may have. Of course, a tailored service comes at a price and when you hire a private face-to-face tutor, you'll also be paying for all the extra time they put in planning your tutorials and travelling to and from your tutorials.
Online tutorials are also a bespoke service between a single tutor and student. However, both parties won't be in the same room and the lesson will be conducted using video conferencing software so that the tutor and student can see and hear one another using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Since the online tutor doesn't have to travel and can schedule more tutorials per week, they have fewer outgoings, a greater earning potential, and will often be able to charge a more competitive rate as a result.
Finally, group tutorials are a great option for those on a budget. While you won't get a tailored service as you're sharing the tutor's time with other students, you will be able to save money as each student is footing the bill for the tutor's time. Similarly, if you and a group of friends would like to learn how to draw, you can get group tutorials together.