How to Draw People Made Easy! – Part Two

How to draw people - stick person and wooden mannequin

Hello and welcome to "Part Two" of How to Draw People Made Easy!. I’m pretty excited about this one!

In Part One you drew a very simple cartoon person based on a very simple framework – a stick person. The stick person served as your guideline helping you keep both symmetry and proportion as you progressed.

Well, now it’s time we kicked things into high gear and take a look at how to draw cartoon people that really do look like people!

Just like you did in the first lesson, you’ll still be using a stick person for your framework. However, instead of using the super-simple stick person from before, you’ll be making a brand new one… one that’s more in tune with how people are actually ‘supposed’ to look.

So then, have a look to the right. It’s the very same cartoon drawing from the "Cartoon People" introduction page – a wooden figure.

Many artists find the wooden figure helpful when drawing people because it serves as a generic representation of a human. It’s composed of all the simple shapes that compose the human body.

Our task then is to come up with a new framework based on the wooden figure and then to create a cartoon person from this framework.

Let’s begin…

How to draw people - breaking down to a stick person

First Step – Wooden Figure Framework

You don’t need to draw anything for this step. But let’s think for a second about how to draw people so that they look more like people.

If we’re going to create a cartoon person that looks "more human," then we need to be more precise this time when it comes to our original framework. This is where the wooden figure will come in handy as you attempt to draw your cartoon person, keeping both symmetry and proportion as you progress.

Take a look at the wooden figure drawing from above and try to visualize it as if it were a simple stick person, just like the one next to it. No, it surely wouldn’t look exactly the same, but it would definitely be similar!

If we were to simplify the wooden figure into a framework it would look just like what you see above and to the left. It’s very similar to the original stick person, but with a few extra joints, and with dimensions that more properly resemble the way a human is supposed to look.

How to draw people - drawing a more complex stick person

Second Step – Use a Center Line

It’s kind of neat to see how a wooden figure – which is a simplified human representation… can be simplified even further into a simple stick person, much like the one from the first part of this lesson.

Go ahead and draw a center line on the page in front of you. It’s time to re-engineer this framework so that it is more symmetrical (proportional too!). Draw a center line and draw the oval for the head.

Once you’ve got the head in place, everything follows suit – just like with the stick person from the last lesson. Instead of five lines, you’re working with fifteen lines. Just remember… whatever you do to the left side, do the same thing to the right.

If you like, you can use a ruler for this step. It may make things easier for you as it’s important to make sure that all of the lengths – when comparing left side to right side.. are equal.

The main thing though is that you get yours looking similar to mine. Get your basic human framework down so that you don’t have to worry about symmetry and proportion later on.

Everything good at this point? Great. Let’s continue…

How to draw people - adding shapes to the new stick person

Third Step – Simple Shapes

In this step, let’s first take a look at our stick person from the last lesson… the part where you added circles for hands and feet, and rectangles for the rest of the body.

Remember – it’s just like adding the skin and other organs to a human skeleton. And just how a skeleton is the framework for a human, the stick person is the framework for a cartoon person!

Repeat this same step here. But instead of mapping shapes onto an extremely simplified stick person, you’re doing it to a more accurate representation of what a human actually looks like.

Take a look at how I’ve mapped the shapes out. Very simple rectangles achieve the same goal as previously.

Fourth Step – Merge the Shapes and Add Details

Well, you’ve just about created your first cartoon person. Now, join up all the shapes from the previous step, and add detail just as you did in the previous lesson. Below is a step by step look at how I came up with my own final cartoon person…

How to draw people - breaking down shapes How to draw people - forming one shape How to draw people - adding details

After erasing the stick figure leaving only the simple shapes, go over the outline so that all that’s left is a simple silhouette. After that add simple details to make your person uniquely yours. Oh, and don’t forget to use a cross when you map out the features of the face!

When you’re all finished, add some color if you like.

How to draw people cartoon drawing image

Final Step – The Big Picture

The last thing to do is look back to the previous lesson and compare both of the cartoon people that you created.

Side by side to the left, you can note some obvious differences resultant from the two different frameworks (stick people) that we used to create our cartoon people.

It’s obvious to see that the person on the right looks much more like an actual person… a cartoon person that is! And this has everything to do with the framework used.

I realize that our new person is still not completely up to par with a great-looking cartoon person. There’s still work that needs to be done!

Well, that’s where Part Three comes in, the third and final part of How to Draw People Made Easy!

In the third and final part, I’ll show you how to draw cartoon people that look less boxy and more detailed. Up until now, you should have a good idea of just how important using a framework is to keep proportion in your drawing when just starting out. Again, the take-home message is: Structure First – Details Last! Just like building a house! 🙂

I think that after this third and final lesson, you’ll be able to tackle just about any kind of cartoon people drawing in a totally different light!

Click here for Part Three.