Doodle Simple Human Figures | Cathy Wu | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.

      Hand Gestures


    • 7.

      Extra Practice


    • 8.



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About This Class

Humans are some of the most expressive and interesting subjects to draw, but at the same time they can seem intimidating and complex to portray. In this interactive class, we’ll be going over an easy beginner method to drawing basic figures in different postures that’s quick, simple to practice, and can be used in many ways! The bulk of the class will be focused on practice of drawing different types of gestures and poses using a simple method. Being comfortable with quickly sketching human figures in various postures can be useful in sharing ideas, storyboarding, storytelling, and illustration – it's fun and anyone can do it! Learn how to draw simple and expressive human figures that portray different poses, movements, and emotions, and you’ll be ready to add these to any project or doodle.


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Meet Your Teacher

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Cathy Wu

Freelance designer & illustrator


Cathy Wu is a freelance designer and illustrator based in Seattle, WA. Along with working as a UX/visual designer for tech startups, her passion for illustration has spurred on many independent ventures such as her etsy shop, Itscathywu ( You can also find more of her work at

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Cappy. Welcome to this class on doodling Simple human figures in this class will be going over an easy way to practise basic figure drawing that's simple and easy and could be used in a lot of ways. Two of the main ways I found these upgraded stick figures very useful in my own design work are in story boarding an illustration. I've worked on many graphic recording storyboards that aimed to help visualize various business ideas, and I used these figures to get the concepts across simply and accurately. They're versatile enough to show a wide range of movements and emotions, but abstract enough that they can represent any kind of person in my illustration projects . The very same simple figures help serve as a structured baseline to start drawing more detailed postures from as well, we'll be going over the basic shapes that make up the figure, how to put them together and then practice drawing a whole bunch of gestures together. I hope that by the end of this cause, you'll be confident to take on the challenge of drawing any human gesture with just a few supplies. The only materials will need to join our piece of paper and your favorite writing utensil, so let's get started 2. Shapes: to start drawing human figures. We only need a few basic shapes. Once we're comfortable using these, we can draw figures pretty quickly. The three basic visual elements will be using our circles, rectangles and lines, and we can put them together like this. To make a human figure. Were the circle for the head rectangle for the torso and lines for the arms and legs extending from each corner of the rectangle, the top two corners being shoulders and the bottom to corners being hips? Pretty simple. But first, let's practice drawing thes three elements over and over again until become a second nature . That way, when we start drawing variations of them, it will come easier as well. So let's crank out some circle heads and rectangle torso bodies, as well as some torso rectangles that are a little varied, whiter, the top or bottom or with curved sides. These kind of rectangles helped to show prospective in motion in our stick figures, Um, so they're important to get a hang up for drawing figures in more complicated postures and finally will practice drawing some lines of different kinds to represent straight and bent arms and legs. When you're happy with your shapes. Let's put them together into figures as we saw earlier. Our standard standing stick figure has a circle head, rectangle, torso and lines for its arms and legs. You can also experiment with how to use Thies to draw different shapes and sizes of people . For instance, tall people have pretty similar sized torsos, but longer legs and Children have smaller bodies but larger heads in proportion. As you observe people around you through the lens of circle heads and rectangle torsos, you may notice other ways to portray different shapes and sizes of people and stick figures , so practice drawing some of your own until you feel pretty comfortable with sketching your figures. 3. Poses: next, we'll try drawing some different poses. First, I'll show a couple photos of poses and how I go about simplifying them into stick figures. Then I'll give three poses for practice. Each one will play for about 10 seconds for you to draw on her own and feel free to pause the video. If you need more time and then I'll show you my drawing process for comparison. There isn't necessarily a right or wrong way to draw each pose as long as it conveys what it's supposed to. But sometimes seeing how someone else draws it can give you ideas for your own, the first to pose. And when a draw is this one, I'll start with the head first and then the torso off to the left to show leaning mental at legs with some feet on the ends to show which direction is being faced and then some arms for the 2nd 1 I will also start off with the head. There's nothing to distinctive about the shape or direction of this torso, so most of the expression on this one will come from the placement off the arms and legs like so so hope that gives you a little bit of direction. Um, as it's now your turn to grab a piece of paper and try it out. Three Practice poses followed by how I drew it coming up right now. 4. Motion: next, we'll add another layer of expressiveness to your figures by going over ways to convey motion. You've probably seen these kinds of embellishments added to cartoons or in comic books to show motion. They're really simple, but at a lot of expression. They could be used to show big motions of traveling from one place to another, like running or to show a small movements such a shivering or to show some other motion that's taking place, like waving of arms. Now it's your turn to practice. With each of these next poses, try to add something extra to show movement or emphasized motion in some way. 5. Emotion: Finally, let's try adding emotion to our stick figures. Even though they don't have faces. This is another good time to draw inspiration from comic strips and cartoons. You can show the emotions of your stick figures through the use of adding things like punctuation, for example, exclamation marks for surprise or question marks for confusion, radiating lines to show emphasis on one part of the figure, or things like an angry storm cloud over someone's head. To show they're upset. Try adding something to each of the next. Practice poses to convey or emphasize in emotion in the figure. Be creative and experiment with different ideas. You'll be surprised how many ways you can show emotion without needing to spell it out on a face. 6. Hand Gestures: Finally, hand gestures can often play a big role in expressing or conveying a message, and are pretty easy to add. The way I go about stick figure hands is to first draw a circle representing the hand and palm and then adding fingers as needed, very simple and also pretty effective here. I'm applying the same process for drawing a thumbs up, a pointing finger and a peace sign. The practice photos coming up will only show the hand gesture and not the entire person. So it'll be up to you to come up with the body that goes with each hand gesture. If you're ready to try it out, here comes some more hand gestures. 7. Extra Practice: This next section is optional with five extra poses that are also hopefully more challenging. If you can find ways to incorporate motion or emotion to this as well, even better. And if you'd like to find even more poses to practice sketching after this class, some good starting points to look for challenging postures can be in athletes, yoga poses or with dance moves way, - way , way, way. 8. Conclusion: thanks so much for taking this class and drawing so many different gestures with. I hope you had fun gaining confidence in your figure drawing abilities as well as take what you've learned and add your own creative spin to it. If you're able to draw a basic stick figure, you can draw a human in almost any post. Just apply a little observation and practice. Feel free to share your practice work in the class gallery or any drawings that started off as a gesture stick figure that you then built on to create something more detailed. Kind of like my example here. Look forward to seeing your work and thanks again for joining.