3 Tips for Painting a Person

3 Tips for Painting a Person

Artists who are not familiar with the human figure might find the task of painting a person somewhat daunting, particularly if they have already taken a strong preference for still life or landscapes. It doesn’t have to be this way! Every artist should take it upon themselves to get to know the human body, as it is just so necessary in art.

Use these three tips to help you get a jump start in painting people:

1: Know the basics of proportions.

You don’t have to know the medical names of all of the muscles of the body. It’s okay if you don’t know a fibula from a tibula. Few of the best artists do. But it is crucial that you realize that most human beings can be measures by the length of their head, from scalp to chin. The average human body is about 7.5 “heads” long. In fashion drawings, the figure is often elongated to about 9. The legs make up about half of the body length from the hip, and the arms come down just past the hips.

2: Get to know the face.

The face is the most important part of the human being. When drawing a portrait, the space between the eyes and the shape of the face can make all the difference in whether or not the subject is recognizable. The eyes are always about halfway down the face, and the nose is halfway between the chin and eyes. The lips are halfway between the chin and nose.

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3. Capture the perfect posture.

The pose should work with the negative space. It does not have to be straight on. Explore angles, and pay plenty of attention to your reference. Get creative, and visualize the best way to convey the expression of the person in the painting.