How to Draw Human Anatomy

Written by krys kingston
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How to Draw Human Anatomy
Knowing how to draw the human figure is a skill all artists should learn. (Pencil image by Alla Chichkina from

Drawing human anatomy, also known as figure drawing, is a necessity to learn for any student of art. You will want to begin by choosing which human body system you plan to draw, such as the skeleton, the muscles or a nude figure. You may even decide to focus on one particular organ, such as the eyes or heart, but focus on the body as a whole to get comfortable with drawing proportionately, which is the main technique for drawing anatomy.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • No. 2 Pencil
  • Paper
  • Eraser
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Anatomy diagrams or anatomical model
  • Hard surface or easel

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  1. 1

    Purchase anatomy or figure drawing books or download a diagram or model of the human anatomy system you wish to draw. Anatomical models come in different sizes at art supply stores or speciality shops online. Use a live model for nude figure drawing.

  2. 2

    Place a piece of paper and a sharpened No. 2 pencil---a standard pencil for a beginner---on your work surface. Draw a line down the centre of the page then a second line where the shoulders will go.

  3. 3

    Draw additional lines for where the top of the head will be, where the feet will end and where the hips will go. This will keep the proportions aligned as you begin to map out the separate body parts.

  4. 4

    Closely examine the proportions or your model or diagram. Compare them to the lines you drew to check your proportions. Begin to lightly sketch the outlines of the various body parts: head, neck, trunk, limbs. Keep looking at your diagram or model and back at the page to keep the proportions correct. Erase and correct as needed.

  5. 5

    Go over your sketch with more detail. Press the pencil harder for dark outlines, and drag or press softly for shading to add depth and volume. A trained eye will be able to tell what to shade and what to define, but this comes with practice.

  6. 6

    Erase any sketch lines that you do not want as part of the finalised drawing such as the lines you used to centre and divide the figure or any rough sketch lines.

Tips and warnings

  • As you become more advanced, purchase a pencil kit that comes with pencils in a range of hardness. This will eliminate the need for pressing harder or softer as you draw.
  • Figure drawing books contain nudity so be aware of this if purchasing for children.

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