How to Use Manikins

Written by buffy naillon Google
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How to Use Manikins
Manikins help artists learn how to draw the body in correct proportion. (question image by redrex from

Manikins are those little wooden figures with bendable arms and legs that artists use to learn to paint and draw the body of a human or animal. Although this little wooden doll has no face to speak of, it does possess the correct proportions of the body. This knowledge helps artists draw a human or animal body in correct proportion from a 3-D model.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Artist manikins
  • Light source
  • Drawing materials

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  1. 1

    Select manikins of different sizes. This allows you to use more than one while drawing or painting. The advantage of this is that you'll be able to see the relationship between the figures and learn to draw them in correct proportion in relation to one another. Multiple figures in a portrait often cause problems for less experienced artists. Using several manikins together will help you develop those skills.

  2. 2

    Set up a place to work where you can position the light source a number of different ways. This will help you understand how to render light and shadow on the body in a realistic manner.

  3. 3

    Pose the manikins in different ways so that you can learn how to draw the body in a number of different poses. Select some poses that you think would be difficult to draw; it's good practice.

  4. 4

    Take advantage of other kinds of manikins like the male and female hand sets or the manikins that replicate the human skull. These give you the opportunity to draw these types of subjects in a more detailed way. If you're at all interested in portraits and drawing the human figure, the head and hands are important parts to learn how to draw. Much of the expressive qualities of the human being lie in the head and hands.

  5. 5

    Utilise animal manikins like horses to learn how to draw these animals in correct proportion. The advantage to using an animal manikin is that until you learn to draw very quickly, you might find drawing the real animal from life to be difficult because of how much the animal moves.

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