From Stick to Chick

aka: How to go from drawing stick figures to drawing people.

That’s right, folks, I’ve put together a handy little exercise for those who think they can’t draw! I was working on these examples and a few other things as I was getting my oil changed this morning (gotta love being able to sit in your car while the SuperLube guys take care of everything else) and the mechanic noticed my scribblings.

‘Did you draw that?’
‘Uh, yes?’ (sketch pad propped up on steering wheel, pencil in hand…)
‘Wow, that’s nice, I can’t draw blood with a razor.’

I had to laugh at that one–hadn’t heard that particular phrase before. Incidentally this was while I was working on a different sketch, I doubt the early steps below would have been as impressive, lol.

But here we go:

From Stick to Chick, er... Chuck
From Stick to Chick (or Chuck) Copyright 2010 Jennifer "Scraps" Walker

Step 1: Draw your basic stick figure. A circle for the head, a vertical line for the neck/spine, a horizontal line for the shoulders/arms and 2 diagonal lines for the legs.

Tip: A human adult is, roughly, 7 heads high. So, if you draw a 1-inch circle for the head, the legs need to end 7 inches from the top of that circle.

Step 2: Add the basic muscle groups. The head is actually more of an oval than a circle, with a small cylinder for the neck. An inverted triangle covers the shoulders and comes to a point somewhere in the groin area–don’t be too worried about that. Small circles for the shoulders (just inside the corners of the triangle), elbows and knees with ovals for the upper and lower arms, thighs and calves. A horizontal oval works for the hips.pelvis and some open triangles (flat end out) for the hands and feet. It’s starting to look more like a person now. Sorta.

Step 3: Since most folks don’t go around hanging out in Vetruvian Man pose, let’s redraw the shapes with the arms akimbo, flipper-hands somewhere in the hip region, and draw the legs a little closer together. That looks like a slightly more normal pose, doncha think?

Step 4: Using a heavier line, draw the basic shape of the body using the shapes as a guide. Arms and legs tend to start wide and taper to a joint; look at your own as an example. The head gets some slight dents about a third up on each side to show where the eye sockets would be, before the cheekbones flare out a bit. For a woman, take the top third of the chest out a bit before curving in to form the breasts (hint: they should be midway between the shoulder and elbow at their perkiest) and curve the waist in a bit. Men’s pecs also flare a little (but shouldn’t look like boobs!) and there’s usually not as much of a waist, it’s more a slope from the ribs to the hips.

The rest is just window dressing! Clothes (unless spandex) should be a little bit bigger than the figure that’s wearing them. Fitted clothes, of course, follow the natural lines whereas baggy ones tend to exaggerate and hang different. Look at magazines or catalogs to see the way this work, maybe even drawing your stick-to-chick shapes over the photos to get a better idea of how it all fits together.

Hope you give it a try!

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Daily Doodle 3.5.10 Copyright 2010 Jennifer "Scraps" Walker
Daily Doodle 3.5.10 Copyright 2010 Jennifer "Scraps" Walker

And here’s Friday’s doodle, posted a little late as Saturday was a busy one for me–I’m going out of town late next week and had some errands to run, materials to prepare (more on that tomorrow) and, of course, I’m still trying to get my schtuff together for taxes, too.

I was thinking about needing to get the oil changed so the top of the hat actually started out as an oil filter. But I’d flared the bottom corners a bit and decided they looked more like a hat. I’d just seen (another) ad for the new Alice and Wonderland so it became a Mad Hatter’s Hat with the card in the brim, but I decided I wanted it to be a woman, so this is Maddie Hatteress.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

You still have until 6:59pm EST Sunday the 7th to submit links to your daily doodles. I can’t believe NO ONE wants to win a hand bound journal…

If you’re looking for some inspiration as to what to doodle, check out Illustration Friday. Every Friday a new theme word is posted. It’s a fun exercise to brainstorm what a word brings to mind 🙂

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