How to Draw a Muscular Body

Written by elise stall
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How to Draw a Muscular Body
You can draw a muscular figure by studying the anatomy of the human body. (Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Muscles are the contractile tissues in humans that contain filaments that allow us to produce force and motion. The average adult male has about 42 per cent muscle of their total body mass while the average female has about 36 per cent muscle. Proper drawing of a muscular figure requires comprehensive knowledge of the human body and its structure, but can be achieved in a step-by-step manner.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Reference photo
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser

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  1. 1

    Obtain a photo or human anatomy textbook that can explain and show you the types of muscles that are visible around the body. Use these photos as a reference to make sure you get the right shape and placement of the muscles in your drawing.

  2. 2

    Decide on a pose for your figure and sketch a line that best represents the frame of the direction for that action. This line should represent the main section of the body. You can then add a circle for the head and four lines for the arms and legs of the figure to complete the framework of the pose.

  3. 3

    Divide each part of the body up into sections, starting with main section of the body. Position the pencil at the top where the neck meets the body and sketch a geometric shape in accordance to your reference photo. Do not worry too much about getting the shapes of the muscle just right at this point.

  4. 4

    Draw the sections of each leg by creating elongated circles to form the thighs, and smaller elongated circles for the main part of the legs. Make sure that each circle touches to form a knee joint. Repeat this for the arms of the figure as well, accentuating the size of the shoulders and arms depending on how large you want the figure's muscles to be.

  5. 5

    Sketch the bulging shapes and contours of each muscle on top of the previous shapes you drew for the body and limbs. Look at your reference photo for correct placements and size. Start by drawing in the chest muscles, moving along to the thigh and leg muscles, and finishing with shoulder and arm muscles.

  6. 6

    Draw in the details of the figure, including facial details, hair, hands, and feet. Add optional clothing and jewellery as desired.

  7. 7

    Erase away the main framework lines that you drew in the beginning, as well as any lines that have been messily sketched. Darken the muscular shapes in relation to the outline of the overall figure.

  8. 8

    Shade the muscles and features of the figure using diagonal hatching lines, and by darkening and smudging areas of the body. Creating shaded areas on larger muscle groups will give the muscles more depth.

Tips and warnings

  • Male and female anatomies differ greatly from one another, so be sure to consult the appropriate photo that corresponds to the gender of your figure.

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