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21 Sitting Drawing Reference Poses For Artists (+ Resources)

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One of the best ways to improve at drawing is by using great reference images. And that’s why you should get the best sitting drawing reference poses you can find when practicing drawing sitting poses!

I’ve searched everywhere for the best sitting reference poses for you to draw and split everything up into several sub-topics.

You’ll find reference photos of people of different genders on stairs, on the ground, cross-legged, and even on a wall!

So, let’s go over the list!

Female Sitting Reference Poses

21 Best Sitting Drawing Reference Poses cover

Let’s start this list of different sitting reference poses by showcasing some female poses!

This doesn’t mean that you have to draw a woman sitting with these exact poses. This just means this section is all about photos of females sitting for you to reference.

This might be helpful to you if you’re looking to draw a female character in your artwork.

So let’s review the list of the best female sitting reference poses!

1) Woman Sitting On Escalator

Girl Sitting On Escalator, female sitting Poses Reference
Woman Sitting On Escalator

This is a very relaxed sitting pose that you can draw, with the legs a bit open and relaxed. This sitting pose is particularly good for a more casual look.

The way the person is looking to the side also makes it seem that she is relaxed and doesn’t care too much about what’s going on.

While this reference pose has been taken on an escalator, you can easily apply it to a set of stairs or even a chair with a small step. So try it out and experiment with drawing this sitting pose differently!

2) Crossed-Legged Sitting Woman

Woman Sitting Cross Legged In three quarter view, facing the camera reference pose
Woman Sitting Cross-Legged

Sitting in a crossed-legged position is a very common pose! It can be used for drawing bored people or in a negative mood (like the one in the picture), or you can adapt it to someone reading a book, for example!

Note the overlapping shapes of the legs, as well as the pelvis.

Many artists struggle with drawing overlapping legs, so feel free to draw on top of the image to practice the shapes. Especially in this 3/4 view!

This is a very flexible sitting pose, so do try out a few different angles you can use it in.

3) Woman Sitting On The Ground

Girl Sitting On The Ground, Smiling, Sitting Reference Pose
Sitting On Stone Steps

While in this reference pose the woman is sitting on the ground, you can also draw it in a chair if you’d like! We go over a few drawing poses sitting on a chair further down this article that you can take a look at.

When drawing this sitting pose, notice the twist on the torso. This is opposite to the angle of the legs!

Also, take into account the angle of the knees. They will dictate the whole shape and position of the legs.

This can be a tough sitting pose to draw, but focus on the main shapes and you’ll do fine!

4) Woman Sitting On Stairs

Girl Sitting Pose On The Ground, Looking At Camera, Side female pose
Sitting On The Ground

Even though this reference pose is similar to the previous one, you can note that the torso doesn’t twist too much! It’s angled in a way that follows the rest of the body.

This can make this drawing pose easier to draw than the previous one.

Not only that, but the legs are closer together and a bit less dynamic. You can draw this pose much easier, thanks to this.

But I would still encourage you to take this photo only as a base and consider exaggerating the whole gesture of the pose!

Drawing sitting positions can be hard, but if you can focus on the basics and exaggerate the pose, you’ll improve quickly.

With that said, I feel this is an excellent pose for beginners since the body is easy to see, and there are no weird angles to draw.

5) Woman Sitting Sideways On A Rock

Woman Sitting On The Ground, Side View Reference Pose
Sitting Sideways On A Rock

Another fantastic sitting pose to draw for beginners! This side view sitting pose is pretty clear to see and has some good angles to draw.

For example, the somewhat bent angle of her left leg is a nice break from the monotony of her right leg and the overall pose.

This makes the pose more dynamic and exciting!

It’s also a pretty relaxed pose that you can draw, so do try out this sitting pose!

Male Sitting Reference Poses

Now it’s time for some Male sitting reference poses.

Again, this doesn’t mean only males should be drawn in these poses. It only means that the reference photos I include here are of males sitting!

We have a wide array of poses to work with here, so let’s go over the list of the best male sitting reference poses!

1) Man Sitting On The Ground

Sitting Pose Reference Of Man Sitting On The Ground
Sitting On The Ground (Facing Front)

This is a perfect sitting pose for a more pensive or negative emotion! You can really show a lot of feeling through this pose, depending on how you draw the expression.

But even if you don’t show the facial expression, you can already see how negative this sitting pose can be.

With that said, do be careful drawing this sitting pose! Since it’s facing the camera, there’s a lot of perspective and foreshortening to work with. This can make this sitting pose a bit hard to draw.

But if you’re looking for a challenge, this reference pose is perfect for drawing!

2) Man Sitting On A Wall

Man Sitting On Wall, three quarter view
3/4 View Sitting Pose!

Another very interesting sitting pose that isn’t very hard to draw: a three-quarter view sitting pose!

While I think this is an excellent pose for beginners to draw (mainly because of the clear lighting and not a lot of overlapping body parts), it can be a bit tough in terms of perspective.

This is a 3/4 view sitting pose, so be careful with the angles of the legs and the face!

Still, do give this sitting pose a try! I think it’s a pretty fun pose to draw.

3) Man Sitting With Open Legs On Ground

Man Sitting On The Ground Facing The Camera With Open Legs, Relaxed Reference Pose
Relaxed, Sitting On The Ground Pose

A very relaxed pose, this is a great sitting pose for a cool and loose character. With the legs open to the sides and the hands in the middle.

Remember that just like one of our previous sitting poses, this one is also looking directly at the camera. Making it a front-facing view, which can be a bit tough to draw.

Go over the shapes, and don’t forget to use foreshortening wisely! This sitting pose extends quite a bit more than it looks at first.

It’s still a pretty fun pose to draw and reference, but take your time with it!

4) Man Laying Back On Stairs

Man Sitting On The Ground, Laying Back Pose
Man Sitting On The Ground, Laying Back

While this sitting pose is almost a lying-down pose, I thought I’d include it here either way!

This can be a very fun pose to draw, and it doesn’t even have to be drawn sitting on the ground. You can draw this pose on a couch or just lounging somewhere.

With that said, the photo is a bit strict with the movement.

So, I’d take this one as a base and then try exaggerating the pose’s flow. Maybe make the character relax a bit more instead of looking so stern.

It’s still an excellent sitting pose, though! Especially since the body is very easy to see and outline.

5) Man Sitting In An Yoga Pose

Man Sitting In An Yoga Pose Meditating, Reference Pose
Sitting In An Yoga Pose

An excellent sitting pose for when you want to draw someone meditating, this crossed-legged pose transmits a sense of calm and focus.

There are many ways to draw legs crossed when sitting, but in this case, you’d want to draw one leg on top of the other.

The praying hands are optional, of course! You can try drawing the hands to the side or above the head. Totally up to you.

And if you’re having some trouble drawing hands, here are the best hand references photos.

This is a very fun sitting pose to draw and reference, especially since there are clear shapes to draw, with a high contrasting body and background.

Sitting On A Chair Reference Poses

Let’s be more specific in our sitting drawing reference poses and include some cases of people sitting on a chair!

This can change the entire flow of the pose quite a bit, so do pay attention to how everything overlaps so you can really nail down these poses.

Let’s review the list of reference poses of people sitting in chairs!

1) Woman Sitting On Chair In A Fashion Pose

Woman Sitting Pose Reference, Sitting On Chair, drawing references female
Interesting Sitting On Chair Pose

A very magazine-worthy sitting pose, this reference photo of a woman sitting on a chair is commonly used by fashion magazines.

With the legs hanging to the side of the chair, this can be a challenging sitting pose to draw but also quite fun.

Focus on getting the shapes of each part of the body right, especially the torso and the pelvis! And then follow it through with the limbs and head.

While a somewhat difficult sitting pose (especially with the added chair!), this is a good test of your skills. So do give it a try!

2) Man Sitting On A Pose In A Side View

Man In Side View Pose Reference, Sitting On Chair
Side View Sitting On A Chair!

Most side views can be pretty easy to draw, but not when your legs are crossed in a chair! 

A very focused sitting pose fits a character that’s thinking or focusing on something important.

This sitting pose on a chair can be tough to draw since a big part of the body is overlapping (specifically the crossed legs). So, do be careful when drawing this sitting pose!

Consider well what you need to draw and what you need to hide. Feel free to draw over the entire image so you can really understand what’s happening in this sitting pose!

3) Woman Sitting On Chair, Looking To The Side

Woman In three quarters view, sitting on chair, reference pose
Another 3/4 View, on a Chair!

Once again, we come to a sitting pose with a twist on the hips and torso. This one can also be challenging to draw!

The legs shouldn’t be very difficult to draw in this reference pose since it’s easy to see the overall shapes.

But the twist on the torso and the entire head going (almost) opposite of the body can be difficult to draw!

This is another of those poses reasonably used in the fashion world. So this suits a more fashion-inclined character quite well.

4) Crossed Arm Man Sitting On Chair

Crossed Arm Man Reference Pose, Sitting On Chair In three quarter view
Crossed Arms, Sitting On Chair Pose

You can tell right away by this sitting pose that this is an angry or annoyed pose!

The crossed arms and the tensed-up body are great examples of negative emotions expressed through the body.

This is a perfect pose for characters who are upset at something or someone who feels obligated to sit in that specific spot.

A very fun pose to draw, but since it’s in a 3/4 view, do watch out for those annoying angles!

5) Man Sitting On Stool, Facing The Camera

Man Facing Camera Sitting In A Chair, Stool, Front View Sitting Reference Pose
Sitting On A Stool, Facing The Camera

A front-facing sitting pose can be a great tool to practice drawing! We artists typically draw front views quite often when practicing, so this is an excellent reference pose for beginners.

Everything is clearly seen in the photo of this sitting reference pose, you only need to focus on the base shapes first. Draw the big shape of the torso, and then continue on.

If you’re looking for a good sitting reference pose to draw, this is the one!

(also, I know a stool isn’t technically a chair, but I liked the pose and thought it fitted here well!)

6) Woman Sitting On Chair, Looking Back

Woman Sitting On Chair Looking Back, Sitting Reference Pose
Sitting On A Side View, Looking Back

You can find a complete step-by-step process of how to draw the sitting pose above in my article How To Draw Sitting Poses Step By Step! (With Tips).

Talking about easy sitting poses, this one is also an excellent reference pose for beginners! Although one of the legs is over the other, the entire pose is quite clear to see.

The only thing you need to take more care and time drawing is the tilt of the head looking back.

This can seem pretty simple at first, but with the entire pose going one way and the head going the other, it can be tough to get right!

Don’t be afraid, though, this is still an excellent sitting reference pose to draw!

7) Man Sitting On Chair, Looking To The Side

Man Sitting On Chair In A Relaxed Pose
Relaxing On A Chair

Alright, let’s go for something a bit harder to draw! This sitting pose on a chair is pretty tough to get right.

The pose itself is pretty fantastic in my opinion, and you can get a great-looking pose for your characters and artwork by drawing it.

But to get the pose right can be quite a challenge.

Not only is the perspective tough to draw, with some foreshortening needed, but the whole black clothing and the black background makes it a bit difficult to study.

With that said, I really found it to be an excellent sitting pose, so do try to draw it!

8) Man Sitting On Bench, Facing The Camera

Man Sitting With Crossed Legs On Park Bench
Relaxing On Bench With Crossed Legs

Although not technically a chair, this sitting pose reference shows a lot of confidence and is pretty stylish.

Not only that, but it’s also very clear to see every part of the body, with the only overlapping shapes being the legs in front of the rest of the body.

If you’re looking for a confident sitting pose, with crossed legs and open arms, this is the one!

9) Woman Sitting On Chair With Legs To The Side

Woman Sitting On A Chair with Her Legs To The Side, Relaxed Reference Pose
Sitting On Chair With Legs To The Side

A very common reading and relaxing sitting pose, this reference pose of a woman sitting with her legs to the side can be pretty comfortable.

You can easily add a book to her hands or add a blanket on top to make this pose even cozier! 

With that said, this can be a bit tough to draw because of the overlapping legs with the rest of the body.

It’s not extremely difficult, so I still recommend drawing this sitting pose for beginners!

10) Woman Writing On Desk, Sitting In A Chair

Woman Sitting On Chair At Desk Working, Reference Pose
Sitting At A Chair in a Desk, Working

Another very common sitting pose depicted in artwork is sitting on a desk!

There’s a lot you can do with this sitting pose. You can make your character work on the computer, write on a typewriter, or even draw something!

The options are endless. You can even change the legs around quite easily and mix the pose with one of the previous ones, crossing the legs, for example!

This is also a sitting pose on a chair that isn’t very hard to draw! The torso is very clear to see, as well as the side profile of the face.

I highly recommend beginner artists draw this sitting pose ref for practice, it’s a great reference pose that will help you in years to come!

11) Woman Sitting On Chair, Looking At Camera

Woman Sitting On Chair, Looking At Camera
Sitting In A Chair, Looking At Camera

Alright, let’s end this article with a more challenging sitting pose! I like to include these difficult tasks now and then, just to challenge artists to improve.

This is a very interesting pose and can be super fun to draw! You can see most of the body pretty well, allowing you to draw each body part with simple shapes.

The primary difficulty in this sitting pose on a chair is that there is quite a bit of overlap of the legs and the right arm.

Not only that, but the leg is going away from the viewer, making it a bit hard to get the shape right.

This is one of those reference poses that you should focus on drawing the main shapes of the body over and over again. Don’t go with the muscle memory of what you know what a leg or arm looks like. Instead, focus on the reference photo and what shapes appear in this sitting pose!

Alright that’s about it for the sitting drawing reference photos, if you want more do check out my article on The 7 Best Free Pose Reference Websites For Artists!

And as always,

Keep on drawing!


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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