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How To Draw Basic Human Body Proportions (With Template!)

Figuring out the basic human body proportions can be the most frustrating topic when learning anatomy drawing.

If there’s no base structure, it’s easy to get the proportions of different body parts wrong.

However, you can easily figure them out by using the rule of the head as a measurement.

This is a very simple drawing technique and the method we’ll follow in this tutorial.

Everything in this human proportions drawing tutorial is easily explained step-by-step. So you never get human proportions wrong again!

Note: You can find the TEMPLATE of the basic human proportions at the end of the post, along with different views!

How To Draw Basic Human Body Proportions

Finding the correct human body proportions takes time and practice.

However, a great way to easily figure them out is by using the head as a measurement!

This way, it doesn’t matter the size of the head. Whether big or small, you’ll always get the right proportions to draw the human figure.

Step 1 – Start by Drawing a Head

Start with the head by drawing a circle or ellipse.

Draw The Head to start the human body proportions drawing

This shape can be of any size. Just remember to have enough space for the rest of the body.

Go ahead and draw two lines. One horizontal and another vertical, to find the center of the face!

Step 2 – Draw 7 More Heads for the Height of the Body

Below the first circle, draw 7 more heads, roughly the same size as the first.

Distribute them along the page, vertically aligned.

Repeat The Head 7 More Times

As a rule of thumb, the height of a figure is about 8 heads long.

However, this number can change when drawing different heights or even people of different ages.

Draw fewer heads for shorter people and more heads for taller bodies!

Step 3 – Draw a few Guidelines

It’s time to draw a few guidelines to divide the body into different parts.

Each guideline will help us learn where each body part goes!

Start by drawing 3 guidelines: one for the top of the head, another for the bottom of the feet, and a last horizontal line dividing the body into two equal parts.

Draw 3 Guidelines For The Top Of The Head Bottom Of The Feet And Middle Of The Body

Next, we’re going to divide the legs area into two parts.

You can do this by dividing the bottom area of the body into two equal parts with another guideline.

Divide The Legs Into Two Equal Parts With Another Guideline

For the upper body, we need a few more lines. Do this by drawing a horizontal line below each circle.

Draw One Guideline For Each Head On The Upper Body

Finally, I recommend adding 3 extra guidelines for focal areas of the body, such as the shoulders, fingers, and ankles.

Draw 3 More Guidelines For Focal Points Such As Shoulders Fingers And Ankles

This way, you’ll be able to draw these more easily!

Step 4 – Draw a Simple Shape for the Torso

We have the whole structure needed to draw the human body.

Let’s start with the torso. First, draw a vertical line starting on the bottom of the first head until it reaches the middle of the body.

Draw A Vertical Line That Reaches The Middle Of The Body

The torso starts on the shoulder line and ends at the bottom of the third head, where a guideline rests.

For its shape, draw a simple shape that resembles a ribcage.

Draw A Ribcage Shape For The Torso

Step 5 – Add an Oval for the Waist Area

Right below the torso, draw an oval shape for the waist area.

For The Waist Draw An Oval

This shape is centered with the vertical line and the torso’s bottom guideline.

Step 6 – Create a New Shape for the Pelvis

We reach the pelvis area, and for this one, use a rectangular or a pentagon shape.

The Pelvis Can Be Done With A Pentagon Shape

As for its position, it intersects the waist, and the crotch touches the next guideline!

Step 7 – Draw the Shoulders to Complete the Upper Body

Let’s finish the upper body by drawing two ellipses, one on each side, for the shoulders.

Draw Two Ovals For The Shoulders

These shapes start on the shoulder guideline we drew before and end on the next line.

Step 8 – Add the Arms, Wrists and Hands

Let’s keep things very simple to the arms and hands.

Starting on the shoulder, draw a line, going down until it reaches the next guideline.

Afterwards Draw A Line Going Down Until It Reaches The Next Guideline

This is the upper arm, and resting in this line, we can draw another circle for the elbow!

Draw A Small Circle For The Elbow

Now, draw another line going down, stopping at the next guideline.

Here is our wrist, and you can draw another circle for it.

Finish The Arm By Drawing Another Line Going Down Stopping At The Next Guideline

Finally, draw a rectangular shape and a few strokes for the hand.

Add A Rectangular Shape And  Few Strokes For The Hands

Remember that the fingers go as far as the next line!

Step 9 – Next, Draw the Legs and Knees

We will use a similar structure as we just did, but this time for the legs.

Starting from the pelvis, draw two lines going down, one for each leg.

Starting On The Pelvis Draw Two Lines Going Down For The Legs

The upper leg is two heads long. Once you reach that length, draw a circle for the knees.

On The Next Guideline Add Two Circles For The Knees

Then, draw another two lines until they touch the ankle line.

Draw Two More Lines For The Lower Legs Until It Reaches The Ankle Line

You have the necessary structure to draw the legs now!

Step 10 – Finally, Draw Two Trapezium Shapes for the Feet

The only thing we’re missing now is the feet.

For those, start by drawing two small ellipses right where the legs ended—one ellipse on each side.

Draw Two More Lines For The Lower Legs Until It Reaches The Ankle Line

Then, below these, draw a trapezium shape for each foot!

For The Feet Draw Two Trapezium Shapes

And that’s it! Our human proportion drawing is finished.

With very simple shapes and lines, you could find a simple structure for the human form.

Now, it’s time to practice these and then learn some human anatomy!

How To Draw Human Basic Proportions From Different Views

The proportions are mostly the same when drawing the body in different views.

The shapes are roughly the same, although some have to be adapted to fit the new angle.

Let’s see a few examples!

Side View Basic Proportions

From the side view, you only have to draw one side.

This makes things easier since you don’t have to worry much about symmetry.

The shapes are mostly the same, except the torso and the pelvis.

Side View Basic Proportions

For the torso, draw a bean shape. As for the pelvis, we can still draw a similar shape but add a few curves instead!

Back View Proportions

The back view has the exact same structure as the front view. So you don’t have to worry much about it!

Back View Proportions

So that you don’t forget the view you’re drawing, you can omit the face guidelines, for example.

You can also draw smaller shapes for the feet since we mostly see the heels from a back view.

3/4 View Basic Proportions

The 3/4 view is notoriously more difficult to draw. However, it can be done using the same method we did.

3 4 View Basic Proportions

Again, some shapes need to be adapted. It’s helpful to add some dimensionality to some of them as well.

This way, the body gains more depth, and the 3/4 view gains more form and believability.

And that’s it for mastering proportions!

Want to dive into Figure Drawing? Click here.

And if you want to find 15+ Tutorials on How To Draw People click 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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