Exercises for Figure Drawing - Form

This is the exercise demonstration for the previous post I did on Figure Drawing Form. I'll be showing how you can put into practice the key concepts of form, using the resources I had mentioned. As always, there's a form at the end of the post where you can submit your drawings for feedback!

There's also a video for this post where you can see me doing the drawings. So, I recommend watching the video and using this post as a reference guide. But feel free to use the resources I'm giving in the way that will help you the most.


1. Recap of Key Concepts

We have four key concepts that we need to understand how to use, because they're the tools that are going to help us make our drawings look three-dimensional. So we have: the basic volumes such as spheres, cylinders, and boxes; landmarks of the body to use as reference points; wrapping lines that go around the volumes; and areas of intersection where the forms connect. If you need to read more about them, it's all here.

The other very important thing I want to remind you of is to be smart about how you study. Set a time frame for how long you're going to study the form so you can be focused and not get stuck. Form is very hard, so really remember that the goal of these exercises is to learn. If you learned something, even just a little bit, that's good enough. Don't get obsessed with pretty drawings at this stage, because you won't get it here.

2. The Demonstration

Just before we start, I want to mention again that this is very difficult and you really need to understand each step well before moving to the next step. But if you do so, you run the risk of getting stuck and not cycling through the steps. So I recommend starting with very easy poses, such as standing poses without a lot of perspective. As you cycle through the steps, you can add sitting, kneeling poses, and other poses with more perspective.

This is the best and fastest way to learn how to draw the form in a way that won't be super frustrating for you and that won't get you stuck. We're also going to break the steps down by going big to small. So, we'll start with just the torso and pelvis, then add the limbs, then the smallest parts like hands and feet. Without further ado, let's start.

Step 1 - Volumes and Landmarks (Torso)

In the first step, we're going to focus only on the torso and pelvis. There are many different ways you can draw the torso and pelvis as volumes. You can use cubes, cylinders, ovals, etc. In the previous post I mentioned where you can find resources for that. I recommend drawing in all the ways at first so you can see which works best for you. Also, some poses it's easier to use boxes, others it might be easier to use cylinders or ovals. Because practicing form is so difficult, I recommend at first that you draw on top of references. Try to identify the main landmarks of the torso and pelvis (collar bone, end of ribcage, and pelvis) and draw on top of them. This is good training to find where the volumes should start and end.

If you're struggling a lot with this step, you might need to go back to the basics and practice drawing the basic volumes (mainly cubes and cylinders) in perspective. Drawabox has a 250 cubes and cylinders challenge that you can do and I really recommend it.


After you do a lot of drawings on top of references, you move on to drawing by just looking at the reference. Do a lot of iterations, specially level 1 so you can fix your mistakes and draw again. As you improve and cycle through the steps, I think it's a good idea to do level 3 iteration, which s rotating the pose and drawing from another angle. This is hard but it's really going to force you to understand perspective, and since it's just two volumes, it's easier to do it in this step.


Don't forget to draw from imagination as well, you can start with level 1 recalling and move to level 3, drawing completely from imagination. Again, it's quite easy to draw from imagination in this step because we only have two volumes, so make sure to give it a try.

Step 2 - Wrapping Lines (Limbs)

Now we're going to add more detail to our drawings by including the limbs: head, arms, and legs. Again, there are different ways in which you can do this step. You can use cylinders, elongated cubes, or cylinders that taper into boxes for the limbs. I prefer cylinder, but sometimes tapering into boxes makes things easier. Just do whatever is easier for you. To make it easier to see the perspective of the limbs, we'll start adding wrapping lines around them. They should indicate whether the limb is facing away or towards you, so keep the direction in mind when you're wrapping the lines.



As you start adding more bulk, it's very likely that the figure will start looking stiffer, wonkier and heavier. Because you have so many things in mind, it's likely you'll forget about proportions, so remember to compare the different parts of the body using the Loomis guide. But don't beat yourself up because of this, it's going to look better the more you practice. You can start with the gesture of the pose and even exaggerate the pose so that it won't look too heavy and stiff. This also good for nailing the proportion, since you can first focus on the gesture and proportion, then move to the form.