Drawing the human body requires excellent observation abilities and an understanding of proportion, perspective, shading and anatomy. Figure drawing courses help students develop these skills through repetitive sketching exercises and lectures on drawing theory. While these courses are often required for fine arts and fashion design degrees, aspiring artists can enroll in individual courses and workshops held by community colleges and art organizations.
Here is an outline of common concepts taught in figure drawing courses:
- Drawing from observation
- Understanding human anatomy
- Black and white drawing
- Color drawing
- Tools and theories in drawing
- Live model drawing
- Character drawing for illustrators
- Figure sketching in fashion design
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Advertising and Commercial Design
- Commercial Photography
- Fashion Design
- General Visual Communications Design
- Graphic Design
- Illustration and Drawing
- Industrial Design
- Interior Design and Decorating
List of Common Courses
Beginning Figure Drawing
Instead of breaking down figure drawing into individual subjects like perspective and anatomy, most design programs offer courses that cover these topics at varying levels of intensity. Introductory figure drawing courses assist students in building a solid foundation in basic drawing and observation skills. Instructors give overviews of human anatomy before teaching students how to compose a drawing of the human body on paper. Most instructors have students sketch live models in black and white using charcoal or pencil.
Intermediate Figure Drawing
Intermediate figure drawing courses build on the foundational skills students acquire in beginning courses, teaching them to master drawing specific features of the body. Intermediate courses often focus on sketching the human hands and eyes, which are two of the most difficult body parts to accurately represent in works of art. Instructors present examples of completed figure drawings exemplifying the different problems students will encounter.
Advanced Figure Drawing
Advanced students will be asked to pay attention to the expressive qualities of the human form and are required to represent specific facial movements and gestures. Instructors in advanced courses and workshops evaluate students on the accuracy of proportion, shadow and perspective. Most advanced figure drawing courses incorporate color, teaching students to sketch models with crayon and oil pastels or colored pencils. Advanced figure drawing students are also encouraged to develop and hone their personal artistic style.
Figure Drawing for Illustrators
Some art institutes and colleges offer figure drawing courses for the aspiring illustrator. Whether they work in children's books, advertisements, cartoons or video game illustration, it is crucial for illustrators to have a firm grasp on figurative representation. These courses teach students to draw people of different ages, sizes and ethnicities. Class discussions and assignments focus on the depiction of human interaction and activity as well as character expression and wardrobe.
Fashion Design Figure Drawing
Fashion designers must have a keen understanding of the human form and body proportions in order to sketch their clothing design ideas on paper prior to sewing. Accordingly, many fashion design programs require students to pass figure sketching courses. The focus of fashion design figure drawing courses is not so much on an accurate depiction of live models, but on teaching students to sketch elongated figures on which to draw their fashion concepts.