Figure Drawing

Stephen Yavorski
2 min readNov 26, 2020

This is basically, just the transcript of the video in this article.

We’re going to be going over some key concepts, like abstracting form, something I like to call an envelope, and making complex shapes simpler to understand and draw.

What you’ll notice first, is that I am creating a shape that wraps around the entirety of our ballet dancer. This is my envelope. It’s called an envelope, because it envelopes what I am drawing. Doing this is helpful, because it simplifies all the complex form in to just a few lines. In this case 4.

Immediately after I draw out my envelope, I go in and start breaking down smaller shapes. I’m asking myself “what is the biggest and simplest shapes I can carve out of this large simple shape”? Often, the shapes I carve out, will be only 2 or 3 lines.

As you work in to your big simple shapes, you will start seeing how those shapes that you carve out can be cut in to, with more, slightly smaller simple shapes. Be careful to not hyper- focus too quickly. Staying large and simple is a key factor in making sure you have everything in correct proportion.

Eventually, going through this process will result in getting your details in. The tiny details will almost happen in spite of you. As you go through this process, make sure you are paying attention to how new information shows you that your old lines may need to move. We’re starting out with zero markings and zero information on our workspace, whether it be paper, canvas, or digital. It’s only natural that as you get further in to your drawing, things will need to be reshaped and tweaked.

Pay attention to every shape. Shapes, like shadows and negative space, are as much of a shape as the form itself. Draw out, in line, where value and color changes before massing it in with color and value. You will have an easier time, if you have a map of where you are laying these things out, rather than just recklessly putting darks and lights in.

When you’re putting your values and colors in, pay identify the direction that the value turns. Whichever direction the value goes, it’s as simple as laying down a value scale in that direction. After a little bit of work, your drawing will come together.

If you liked this video and it helped you. Please share it with your friends and comment down below with what you would like me to cover next. You can check out my links in the description to follow my instagram and join my art discord, where I post practice reference like this and offer feedback. I’ve also created a Patreon, that you aren’t required to support, but all patrons are deeply appreciated. You can see which tier best suits you. Have a great day and see you around.