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Should You Learn Anatomy Or Figure Drawing First?

Wondering whether you should learn anatomy or figure drawing first?

Anatomy is great and very technical to learn to draw properly.

But do you need to learn anatomy first or can you jump into figure drawing immediately?

Both practices complement each other, but let’s see the differences and where should you start!

Differences Between Anatomy And Figure Drawing

The differences between anatomy and figure drawing are that anatomy drawing focuses on learning the structure and proportions of the human body, while figure drawing focuses on capturing the entire human form.

Since drawing anatomy includes the different parts of body, including bones, muscles and organs, it can give you a very detailed understanding of how the body moves and functions.

This allows you to more easily picture different poses in your mind and draw different bending limbs in different perspectives.

figure drawing sketch

Figure drawing, on the other hand, emphasizes capturing the overall gesture, pose, and proportions of the figure.

While anatomy study provides a foundation for understanding the underlying structure of the body, figure drawing allows for creative expression and the exploration of different styles and techniques.

Both are important in the development of an artist, as a detailed understanding of anatomy enhances the accuracy and realism of figure drawings

Understanding these differences will help you decide to focus on learning anatomy or figure drawing first.

Anatomy Drawing Or Figure Drawing First

You should consider whether to prioritize anatomy drawing or figure drawing first based on your specific learning goals and artistic style.

Anatomy and figure drawing are essential components of art, but the order in which you study them depends on what you want to achieve.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Learning anatomy first allows you to understand the underlying structure of the human body. This knowledge helps you create more realistic and believable figure drawings. It’s especially important for artists with a realistic drawing style.
  • Prioritizing figure drawing first allows you to focus on capturing the overall flow and movement of the body. It trains your eye to observe and understand different poses, enhancing your ability to convey energy and motion in your art. This is especially helpful for animators.
  • If your goal is to create dynamic and expressive figure drawings, starting with gesture drawing can be beneficial. Gesture drawing emphasizes capturing the essence of a pose quickly and helps prevent your drawings from looking stiff or unnatural. You can find some gesture drawing exercises here!
  • However, if you want to achieve anatomical accuracy in your figure drawings, studying anatomy first is recommended. Understanding the proportions and structure of the body will provide a strong foundation for your art.

I recommend you to experiment with both approaches and see what works best for you.

You can even mix and match and learn figure drawing and anatomy drawing at the same time.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer – what matters is finding a learning path that helps you develop your unique artistic voice.

Should I Learn Perspective Before Figure Drawing?

One Point Perspective is very simple, and the one you should start with! Here's how.

Before starting figure drawing, it’s important to learn perspective, as it will help you accurately depict the three-dimensional form of your subjects.

Perspective is the technique of representing objects on a two-dimensional surface in a way that creates the illusion of depth and space.

Understanding perspective allows you to accurately position and proportion the elements of your drawings, including the head and body.

By learning perspective, you can create realistic and dynamic figures that convey a sense of depth and dimension.

So yes, I recommend you to learn perspective drawing before figure drawing!

By incorporating perspective into your figure drawing practice, you’ll develop a strong foundation for representing the human form with accuracy and precision.

It will enhance your ability to capture the three-dimensional nature of the body, allowing you to create visually compelling and realistic drawings.


You can prioritize learning anatomy or figure drawing first, totally up to you.

While both disciplines are essential for aspiring artists, focusing on the structure and proportions of the human body through anatomy studies allows for more realistic drawings.

In contrast, figure drawing focuses on capturing the flow and movement of the body.

Finding a balance between the two can lead to a deeper understanding of the learning process and help you develop your own unique art style over time.

And if you’re ready to kickstart your drawing journey, check out my Complete Figure Drawing Course here!


Patricia Caldeira is the main writer here at Don Corgi. She's an art teacher with over 20.000 happy students across many platforms and courses!

Enjoy your stay and as always:
Keep on drawing!

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