Thursday, May 19, 2022

How To Draw Good Stick Figures

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How to Draw Better Stick People

Most people are creative in one way or another. Even though not all of us become artists or writers, it doesn’t mean we can’t create some stories in our minds. We just usually don’t feel confident enough to share them with others, or even put them to paper just for us to see. We feel they’re silly, not good enough, just a piece of garbage in comparison to what some other people produce.

But creating a story, no matter how silly, can be very fun! We can’t really fathom the whole potential of it until we let it unwind. The characters become alive as the story moves forward, helping you create it along the way. A new world appears before your eyes, full of unique people with their problems and desires. They wouldn’t exist without you, and it gives you an amazing sense of power.

I believe anyone can create their own story. Writing is difficult, but there’s a medium that works in a more intuitive, visual way: comics. And you don’t need to be skilled at drawing to create them, either!

This tutorial is part of the series Art Therapy. It teaches you how to use art for relaxation and fun without putting too much pressure on yourself.

You can use any tools you have lying around, but I recommend:

  • some sheets of paper
  • eraser

What Can We Learn From Kids Stick Figure Drawings

Children start out drawing stick figures, and we view these early pieces of art with a condescending smile, thinking they are cute or maybe a little confusing. But we realize the children are just experimenting with crayons or pencils and just having fun. They really arent trying to show us anything in particular.

Or are they?

And we really cant tell what they are thinking or feeling. We dont know if they are just passing the time or trying to make a statement of some kind.

Or maybe we can?

Stick figures are more than they seem. While they appear to be minimal representations of our childrens outlook on life, they can, in fact, tell us a great deal about how our children feel, what they are thinking, how they see the world in which they live, how they see others, and how smart they might be.

All this comes from a few stick figures. They can give us clues to intelligence, creativity, and even conditions like autism. Recent research has led to the observation that autistic children can communicate better with us through the use of stick figures. And there is sound reasoning behind this theory.

How To Draw A Stick Figure: A Complex Guide

There are people out there, real artists, creating amazing pieces in seconds. And here’s you, struggling with a simple stick figure. Wouldn’t it be great to draw that, at least? Imagine your friend saying “I can’t even draw a stick figure,” and you, cutting in: “I can!” How awesome would that be?

With that remarkable skill, your dreams would come true! Imagine people approaching you on the street and asking you to draw a stick figure for them! You could become rich and famous! All you need to do to make it come true is to follow this life-changing tutorial. Let’s get started!

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Fixing The Common Flaws With Stick Figures

My previous two posts are quite lengthy, and may contain an overwhelming amount of information for some of you. Try as I may to keep things simple, drawing the human body is a complex process, with lots of moving parts.So, with that in mind, Id like to take a step back with this post, and focus on the basics concepts that can be understood by everyone, including those who arent interested in drawing. Today, well be talking about stick figures.

How To Draw Stick Figures Dancing

How to Draw a Stick Figure (School of Youtube)

Click HERE to save the tutorial to Pinterest!

Anyone can draw a stick figure. Often, they are the first human characters a person learns to draw. But you can add some pizzazz to your stick figure art when you learn how to draw stick figures dancing!

What is a stick figure? A stick figure or a stickman is a simplified drawing of a person. It’s not meant to look realistic.

Instead, it uses basic lines and shapes, like a circle for the head. The body and limbs are usually bare lines.

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

Did you know? Ancient art is often in the form of stick figures. For example, a stick figure known as a petroglyph can be seen at the Leo Petroglyph in the United States. It is thought to be about a thousand years old.

Stick figures are also used in signage because they are easy to understand, even if you don’t speak or read the language.

For example, you can readily recognize the stick figures on men’s or women’s bathrooms, or the stick figure of a person in a wheelchair. That one is used to mean that a place is handicap accessible. Where would you place a sign with dancing stickmen?

Drawing Idea: You can use this stick figure drawing guide to enhance your drawing skills. Use it as a guide, and flesh out your characters with more detailed clothing and features. You can check out any of our people drawing guides for ideas.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Ghost, Body Outline, and Leprechaun.

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How To Draw Human Arms

Sketch out arms using a stick figure base to keep the drawing simple

Much like other limbs, working from a rough sketch is the best approach when youre sketching out the arms. After all, so much of learning how to draw the human body is about recognizing the various lines and shapes that each piece can be broken down into, rather than trying to make it more complicated than it needs to be.

When youre drawing human arms, map out a stick figure first that you can use as your basic outline. From there, fill out the outside edges of the arms while following the shape that the stick figure outline has given you. Depending on the pose that the arms are in, youre probably going to be drawing two interconnecting cylinders for the top half and bottom half of each arm. Dont forget that the end of the second cylinder should become slightly narrower to account for the wrists and, eventually, the hands.

Day : Drawing Proportions

Now that your stick figure can do all sorts of things, we should probably make sure its proportional. Theres an easy way to do that. However, do remember that these just act as a good starting point. Not all people will follow these proportions as everyone is constructed differently.

The secret to a well-proportioned human body is to remember magic numbers as well as the alignment of our joints. A persons height is typically 7-8x the height of their head. Many guides on figure proportions use the same method or varying methods. From what Ive seen, the magic number for males is generally 8 while females are generally 7.

Envato In my opinion, this is one of the best guides out there. Very thorough but easy to read with clear pictures to help you understand the method.

Mr. Otter Art Studio This video has a great demonstration that utilizes the same method. However, the magic number used in this video is 7 . Often times, females follow the 7 head rule where males follow the 8 head rule.

ExerciseRemember those stick figure poses you made earlier? Lets try applying this new model to them. Remember your proportions and how each body part relates to each other. Follow the guides I referenced above to create a well-proportioned person.

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Why Use Stick Figures In Your Notes

Stick figures help tie your notes to the human experience. They make it clearer how the ideas that youre capturing relate to you and others.

They also help you to capture stories in a memorable way. Stick figures are characters in the snapshot story that you can tell in your notes. Add in a few more images of what your character is interacting with and soon youll have a visual anchor to the set of ideas youre working with.

In stick figures we see ourself and we see others. Even in this simplified version, the drawing of human beings allows the viewer the opportunity to enter the story youre telling because they can see themselves in it.

Day : Drawing Structure

How To Draw a Stick Figure

Understanding muscle structure is imperative to more realistic drawings of figures, but it actually also helps if you are just drawing cartoon figures. Even in simplified cartoon figures, a strong knowledge foundation of muscle structures will help you convey certain poses and action of these characters. Just think of the saying, you must master the rules before you can break them. Or something like that.

There really isnt a quick and dirty guide I can give you on drawing muscles because there are literally SO many of them, but here are a few great resources you can spend day 3 on.

Envato: This online guide briefly goes over the muscles and body fat. It was definitely a trip down memory lane for me with flashbacks to Anatomy 101. It is a wonderful guide.

Stick to Figure: This 2nd video of a 3 part series teaches you how to move from stick figure to human figure by using simple three-dimensional shapes. The third part of this series helps you understand the bodys contouring.

ExerciseSelect a few poses of people in action rock climbing, dancing, shooting a basketball. Focus on the muscles that are used during these actions and focus on the lines that the muscle creates on the body. Practice drawing a few people using three-dimensional shapes to first help guide you to form the body.

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Draw And Teach With Stick Figures

INTRODUCTIONOBJECTIVESObjective 1 – Drawing the Stick FigureDefining the Stick Figure:TO START WITHDrawing the HEAD:Simplifying the FACE:Representing Basic Elements of the Face:Representing Basic Expressions or Emotions:Drawing the BODY:Giving the StickFigure Action and Characterization:

  • Exaggerate the action.
  • Include facial expression in simple lines to stress thesituation.
  • Consider just the outstanding details regarding professions,sports, nationalities and so on.The following pages include just a few samples of stick figuresperforming some of these features.
  • SPORTSCOUNTRY OR NATIONALITYObjective 2Stick Figures in the elaboration of Didactic materials.Objective 3Stick Figures in language activities

    Say No To Stick Figures

    I love having my students draw in class. But I HATE stick figures.

    Stick figures arent really designed to do anything other than stand there. If you want to make them walk or run, or do much of anything, they arent designed for it. Furthermore, they arent easy to customize. You can add hair. Thats about it.

    This becomes a problem for my students when I have them doing something creative in class, like sketch notes or a sociogram. They have to find a way to not only represent different characters, but also different things they might be doing such as fighting, arguing, going from place to place.

    My students will inevitably ask, Can we use stick figures? The cynical side of me says theyre just being lazy. But I also think they lack confidence in their drawing abilities. When they were in elementary school, they all believed they were artists. As they get older, the doubts start to creep in. So does the evaluation. They want to take the safe path instead of trying to stretch themselves with their drawing abilities.

    However, if Im having my students do creative work I also want them to practice craftsmanship. I want them to work hard at getting better at all aspects of the design process, from layout to neatness to ingenuity. This includes drawing better people.

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    Say Goodbye To The Stick Figure

    A quick glance at the drawings Ive included in this post will show you that were certainly not aiming to draw like Michelangelo, as awesome as he is . But for this introduction, were aiming for light, simple, economical drawing that captures essence and action. The style I show you here is more abstract.

    That said, when it comes to drawing figures, you can do a lot better than stick figures. Your drawings will be a lot more satisfying for you and more attractive to others if you embrace drawing figures with actual bodies. Your figures will have more character and movement that will make your figures more relatable.

    Take a look at these simple figures:

    Day : Drawing Construction & Pose

    Is there a better way to draw a stick figure?

    This specific lesson will help you build a strong foundation for pose and construction for your figures and it actually starts with improving your stick figures! It also involves some super basic anatomy. No need for us to recall anything scientific from your high school anatomy class, I promise.

    STEP ONE: So we start with the stick figure. Which pretty much just has 4 main parts to it, right? The head, the body, the arms and the legs.

    STEP TWO: With the stick figure, we can actually make a few modifications to help us put our figures into different poses. We can break up the arms and legs by adding elbows and knees.

    STEP THREE: We can even take it a few steps further and add 2 things that are also important to the way we movethe shoulders and pelvis.

    DrawStuffRealEasys video demonstrates this concept well. On Air Video also has a great demonstration on construction and pose using a photo of a model.

    ExerciseNow that we got that done, we can practice posing our figures. Try drawing your stick figure in a variety of poses running, walking, jumping jack, throwing a football, sitting down, etc. If you are having trouble with these and they just dont look right to you, look up photos of people doing this action and use those to help guide you as you construct your stick figure.

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    Sticky Boy Figure Drawing For Kids

    Kids, learn how to draw the Stickboy by following the steps below.


    Draw the shape of the circle. Use coins, bangles or any thing in round shape to get a perfect round face for the stick boy.


    Keep a big dot in the top left corner of the circle.


    Keep an other big dot in the top right corner of the circle. Now you have drawn with the eyes.


    Draw a semicircle in the bottom of the circle. It is the mouth for the stick boy.


    Draw a vertical line from the center of the circle.


    From the edge of the vertical line, draw a slanting line in the left side.


    Draw a slanting line in the right side of the vertical line. Top edge of the three lines should touch each other.


    From the center of the vertical line, draw a slanting line in the left side that points upwards.


    What Is Stick Yoga

    An simple stretching exercise that makes use of a 4 or 6 foot staff or stick for leverage, support, and balance is the hamstring stretch. It consists of stretching exercises that include elements of yoga, tai chi, and martial arts into one practice. It entails using leverage and body mechanics to stretch with more comfort and safety than previously possible.

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    Communicating With Autistic Children Through Stick Figures

    Jason H.J. Lu wrote a book called the Eikona Bridge: Live Communication with the Autistic Species in which he discusses the importance of stick figures in communicating with autistic children. He points out that our brains work according to signals they receive, but these are not direct signals. The signals have different contrasts, and we respond accordingly.

    For example, its hard to think when there is a bright flashlight in our faces. And this is similar to what happens with autistic children who maximize contrast in their sensory and thinking processes. Rather than see whats relevant to the rest of us, like the people sitting on a lawn in front of their house, autistic people focus on contrasts like the bright green grass and bright blue sky.

    On the other hand, when stick figures are used, they are simple, and there is no color contrast. Normal people and autistic people see the same thing. They can communicate better.

    So not only can we tell a lot from the stick figures drawn by gifted and autistic children, we can use those figures to communicate with them in a more direct way. We can teach them to focus on peoples faces and on relevant objects.

    How To Plan The Comic Layout

    How to Draw Stick Figures In Profile

    As I said before, the panels are simply a tool for presenting the story. They show the flow of time, the actual events we should pay attention to one by one. But their shape and size have a function as well, so they shouldn’t be ignored.

    Go back to the comic and analyze each panel. What elements are the most important? What do you want to make the readers see first? Crop the panels to accentuate the message. When you’re done, number the panels.

    You can learn more about the power of composition here:

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    Week : Construction Pose Proportions Muscle Structure Hands Feet Hair And Clothes

    I hate drawing people. Stick figures are always just so easier, right? Well, thats just because I didnt know how to draw people.

    Honestly, with a few key pointers on figure drawing you could go from stick figures to a regular Michaelangelo. Alright, maybe not BUT a week of a brief introduction to figure drawing could definitely upgrade your stick figure drawing skills. Check out whats in store below!

    If you are just joining us, this is part 4 of our 4-week series on the beginners guide for how to draw. Check the other guides out here!

    Figure drawing has not changed over the past centuries. We humans still look the same so the techniques and tips are the same. I found the best resources to actually be some older publications. No need to reinvent the wheel, right?

    Andrew Loomis Figure Drawing For All Its Worth is a really meaty, technical guide for figure drawing. Like, seriously meaty. I would say it would be a great resource if you really want an in-depth study into the human figures. Its available as a free download here.

    My absolute favorite guide to figure drawing is this 100-something page book Drawing the Head & Figure by Jack Hamm. Seriously, dont judge this book by its cover! Hamms book was published in the 80s which is very evident as soon as you see the dated hairstyles. Just dont mind the hair tips in this one.

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