"Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see - to see correctly - and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye." - Kimon Nicolaides

How can you learn to draw women?

Whether you need to female characters or real subjects, drawing women can be quite complicated. The female form, much like with the male form, needs to be drawn according to the proper proportions of your subject. There are a few drawing techniques that can help you.

In this article, we'll look at drawing tutorials and learning how to draw women.

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How to Draw a Woman: The Upper Body

To draw the human body, you need to take inspiration from a model: be it nudes, oil on canvas, sketches, or photography.

How can you draw women's upper bodies?
To correctly draw women's upper bodies, you need a good understanding of human anatomy. (Source: adamkontor)

You can download copyright-free images to use as inspiration. You can also use another drawing as inspiration.

After you’ve got the necessary materials - paper, pencils, a rubber - you can start with the upper body and the head, shoulder, and chest.

Since the female form is made up of muscles and flesh, you need to focus on using curved lines.

Start with splitting your page into segments to help you with the proportions: the shoulders should be twice the width of the head, the top of the head to the genitals should occupy the length of four heads, and from the hips to the ground should measure around three and a half heads. The hips are wider than the shoulders.

The whole body should measure around 7 heads:

  • 1 head: top of the skull to the chin.
  • 2 heads: to the bottom of the chest.
  • 3 heads: to the bellybutton.
  • 4 heads: to the genitals.
  • 7 heads: the bottom of the feet.

To draw a woman face-on, start by sketching the head and the neck. You should add construction lines for the first four heads, a line for the knees, feet, and two horizontal lines for the shoulders.

The larger the shoulders, the stronger your subject will appear. Inversely, the narrower the shoulders, the skinnier and more graceful your subject will appear.

Next, draw out the shoulders and the collarbones: they need to curve downwards slightly.

Then, the thoracic cavity: it measures about 3 and a half heads in length and ends just below the belly button. The nipples and breasts are halfway up the thoracic cavity.

An oval can be used to construct the tummy. At the centre of this circle you can place the bellybutton; about two heads’ lengths from the chin.

The circle for the waist will depend on how corpulent your subject is. However, the waist goes in by the bellybutton.

Then, there are the arms. The arms and hands reach to the middle of the thighs. The elbows are at the same height as the belly button and the wrists are at the same height as the genital area.

You might also be interested in learning how to draw animals.

How to Draw a Woman’s Face

It can be difficult learning how to draw faces as you need to pay particular attention to the proportions.

How do you draw women's faces?
The face is what will bring most drawings to life. (Source: chriscarroll071158)

Start by splitting an oval into two halves. Divide the lower part into two equal parts and the latter of these parts into three. Thus, you’ll have an oval divided into five parts: the upper half, the centre, and three parts separating the nose from the chin.

The middle is the line for the eyes. The nose is located between the middle line and the second line. The mouth is found in the first of the three parts. The ears are located between the eye and nose lines. These lines can help you keep the face in proportion.

In the middle of the face, you need to place the eyes about an eye’s width apart. Eyes are usually almond-shaped. It’s important to take care when drawing the eyes because they need to reflect the pose of the model. Large eyes with long eyelashes and high and fine eyebrows will make for an aesthetically-pleasing face. At the centre of each eye, you can draw the pupil with the help of a black circle which you can then colour. You can add a thicker line to accentuate the makeup if necessary.

Women tend to have smaller noses but fuller lips. The bottom of the nose and the nostrils are at the intersection between the second horizontal line and vertical middle line of the face. You can draw a nostril on each side. Of course, this is just advice rather than rules. Facial features and proportions can vary. Drawing a rounder face with soft curves will make the face appear more feminine whereas straighter contours can appear less feminine but sexier.

Now you just need to add the mouth, ears, hair, and take particular care of the details. The shadows around will accentuate the brow and the cheekbones. Soften the chin and cheeks if you’re drawing younger women or girls. The harsher these lines, the older your subject will appear.

There are plenty of great articles and tutorials that can help you with this.

How to Draw Female Curves

When drawing men, the focus will be on the muscular structure whereas, with women, you need softer longer curves.

How can you draw women's curves?
The outline of a woman's body gives her the distinctive feminine form. (Source: JillWellington)

When drawing women, you may want to downplay wrinkles, folds, lumps. We tend to focus on the curves of the hips, waist, and chest. Women tend to have hips wider than their shoulders and their shoulders tend to be lower than they are on men.

You could draw the number 8 over the two parts of the body (chest and hips) to get a better idea of the harmony between the upper and lower parts of the body. The width of where the 8 crosses over will dictate the subject’s body type.

For a woman lying down or standing when viewed from behind, we need to also think about her buttocks. The buttocks need to be slightly wider than the shoulders. Do several sketches of the breasts, hips, and buttocks to find the proportions that work.

A woman’s stomach and buttocks tend to be curvier than that of a man. On the other hand, the stomach and hips of men are usually drawn using straight lines. You need to accentuate the curves at the base of the spine when drawing nudes.

Find out more about how to draw.

How to Draw a Woman’s Lower Body

We can’t stop there; we need to draw the lower body including the hips, legs, and feet.

How do you draw women's legs?
Poorly drawn legs can ruin a good drawing. (Source: Free-Photos)

Women tend to have more developed thighs than men. The legs can’t be more than three and a half times the length of the head. The knees are equidistant from the genitals and the base of the feet.

To draw legs, draw two vertical lines. You need to attach the thighs to the hips before moving onto the calves. The calves aren’t aligned and need a different curve.

The last steps:

  • Draw the clothing if not doing a nude.
  • Take care with folds, shadows, and the cut of the clothing.
  • Erase the construction lines.

And there you go. You’ve just finished for first drawing of a woman.

To draw a realistic woman, you need to know more than just how to draw. You also need to know a woman’s anatomy.

After that, you can move onto drawing men.

If you'd like to learn more about drawing, get in touch with one of the many experienced and talented tutors on Superprof. There are three main types of drawing tutorials available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type of tutorial has its pros and cons so take the time to carefully consider which type is best for you, your preferred learning style, your learning objectives, and your budget.

Face-to-face tutorials are a bespoke service in which you'll have your own tutor and you'll be the only student in the lesson. The lessons will be planned with you in mind and your tutor will be available to answer any questions you may have. Of course, a tailored service comes at a price and when you hire a private face-to-face tutor, you'll also be paying for all the extra time they put in planning your tutorials and travelling to and from your tutorials.

Online tutorials are also a bespoke service between a single tutor and student. However, both parties won't be in the same room and the lesson will be conducted using video conferencing software so that the tutor and student can see and hear one another using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Since the online tutor doesn't have to travel and can schedule more tutorials per week, they have fewer outgoings, a greater earning potential, and will often be able to charge a more competitive rate as a result.

Finally, group tutorials are a great option for those on a budget. While you won't get a tailored service as you're sharing the tutor's time with other students, you will be able to save money as each student is footing the bill for the tutor's time. Similarly, if you and a group of friends would like to learn how to draw, you can get group tutorials together.

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