How to Draw People Made Easy! – Part One

How to draw people - simple stick person drawing

Learning how to draw people really is a lot easier than you may think. This is true especially when it comes to drawing cartoon people, and when you start out with some very simple, basic techniques and then work your way up from there.

Surely at some point in your life, you drew a stick person! Am I right? Sure I am. Well, that’s where it all begins. If you can draw a stick person then you’re well on your way to learning how to draw people!

For a little refresher, go ahead and draw out some stick people of your own on the page in front of you. Draw a bunch. Pretty darn easy, isn’t it?

In other lessons, you used simple frameworks which allowed you to maintain symmetry and proportion in your drawings. Well, guess what? The stick person IS the framework for drawing a cartoon person! And, it will be your blueprint… training wheels to keep you upright as you progress.

Well, I myself love drawing stick people! So, let’s have some fun and get going with the lesson…

How to draw people - drawing a line for symmetry

First Step – Symmetry and Proportion

When you’re first starting out drawing people, it’s an excellent idea to use some sort of guideline to ensure you keep both symmetry and proportion. This is especially true for drawing people.

Why? Well, eventually you’ll be drawing people of different shapes and sizes, and in different positions too. It can be quite frustrating when drawing people if you haven’t first established and afterwards maintained these two key components – symmetry and proportion.

Unlike animals and other things, people all have the same basic shape. But when starting out, it’s important that you get the shape right! It’s got to be bang on. Then, later on – when everything is just right… you add the details and create a very convincing cartoon person. It’s an excellent way to go about it!

Alright then, using a center line, go ahead and draw another stick person. Keep it simple. Make sure that everything is in line and whatever you do to the left side, do the same to the right.

How to draw people - marking off the hands

Second Step – Simple Hands and Feet

Now that you’ve got a near-perfectly symmetrical and proportionate stick person to work from, let’s add the extremities… hands and feet.

Honestly, when learning how to draw people, drawing hands and feet can be a difficult task – with or without a guideline. It takes practice. No worries though, we’re only drawing a stick person to start. And keeping with the overall simplicity of any stick person, let’s keep the hands and feet simple too!

Using circles – just like with the head, map out the hands and feet keeping with the overall symmetry and proportion of the stick person.

Done? Good stuff. You now have a near-perfect framework from which to draw your cartoon person. It’s simple, it’s symmetrical, and from a cartoon-point-of-view, it’s relatively proportional for what we want at this point!

Next, let’s take things a step further and see how we can go about turning this "stick person" into an actual cartoon person! 🙂

How to draw people - drawing shapes

Third Step – Bring Out the Body

Well, at this point – we’ve got circles for the head, hands and feet but only lines for the arms, legs and mid-section. Let’s change this!

Go over each of the four lines that make up the body of your stick person by drawing rectangles of equal size and position directly over each line.

Interesting thought… similar to how our skeletons are the frameworks for our human bodies, the "sticks" in a stick person make up the framework for a cartoon person. In this way, a stick person is actually the skeleton of a cartoon person!

With this thought in mind, drawing the rectangles or any other shapes over the lines of the stick person.. is the equivalent to adding the skin and other organs to a human skeleton. Creepy thought – yet relevant when learning how to draw people!

OK – got your rectangles all drawn out? Next, let’s jump into "cartoon mode" and come up with something that looks more like the cartoon person we are trying to draw.

How to draw people - drawing the body

Fourth Step – Join All the Rectangles

By now, you’ve got a cartoon person drawing well on the way. You took a skeleton-like stick person, and turned it into a three-dimensional-looking figure by adding some simple shapes.

Also, you’ve been keeping symmetry and proportion the whole way – a good thing as when it comes time to add the details, it will be all the more easy.

Next up then, go ahead and join up all the rectangles so that they form one big shape. A little erasing here and there will do the trick just fine.

If you like, lightly pencil a new stick figure on the page in front of you and then go over it in pen. Don’t forget to erase the center line too… it’s no longer needed.

All set to move on then? Great – let’s go. Only one step remains… drawing in a few simple details to make your cartoon person unique – and uniquely yours!

How to draw people - adding some details to look like a person

Final Step – Make it Uniquely Yours!

I’m thinking that right about now, you’re looking at the drawing to the left and thinking, "What!? That’s supposed to be a person? No way!"

But wait! Remember that our drawing is based on a stick person, and that the stick person is our framework.

With this in mind, also remember that we have not deviated even in the slightest from the original stick person. And this is a good thing! Why? Because we were able to successfully establish (and maintain) both symmetry and proportion in our drawings throughout the lesson.

Part One of the lesson is only meant to show you how important it is to keep to a simple framework when just starting out. The finished product isn’t anything special, but it is proof that using a framework works!

OK, go ahead and draw in the details of your choice… color too if you like. When you’re all done, take a look below at a couple finished examples as well as how they compare to the original stick person…

How to draw people - one variation of a person How to draw people - a stick person How to draw people - another variation of a person

And there you have it. Your finished person hopefully looks a little bit different than mine do. With a little creativity, it’s pretty amazing what you can come up with. Give your person some more hair, glasses, shorts, shoes… change the eyes, add ears — whichever! Have fun with it!

Well, that’s all for the first part of "How to Draw People Made Easy!". I hope you liked it and also, I hope that you appreciate the importance in keeping things simple as you’re starting out.

In the next section – How to Draw People Made Easy!, Part Two," we’ll build upon the simple ideas in this lesson, and develop a new drawing – more in tune with how a "person" should actually look! 🙂

Click here when you’re ready to tackle Part Two.