Learning how to draw a woman’s body is a great way to strengthen your anatomy drawing skills. There are many ways to draw the female body and all bodies have different proportions. Learning how to represent these different proportions within the female body is a great skill to have. As we learn how to draw the female body realistically, we will find that it is quite easy once you know a few simple steps of construction. Being able to represent different female body types is something you can practice once you understand the basic principles of body shape. Having the ability to draw a female body is probably one of the most useful skills as an artist because the female body can be used in so many different contexts. Female body drawing is an essential skill to have and can be a great addition to various artworks that include other characters.
Table of Contents
- 1 An Easy Guide to Drawing the Female Body
- 2 Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Draw a Female Body
- 2.1 Step 1: Building Blocks
- 2.2 Step 2: Working Out the Proportions
- 2.3 Step 3: Drawing the Upper Torso
- 2.4 Step 4: Drawing the Pelvis
- 2.5 Step 5: Connecting the Pelvis to the Upper Torso
- 2.6 Step 6: Drawing the Hips and Legs
- 2.7 Step 7: Positioning the Arms
- 2.8 Step 8: Drawing the Neck and Head
- 2.9 Step 9: Drawing the Pectoral Muscles and Breasts
- 2.10 Step 10: Establishing the Form with a Line Work
- 3 Tips to Remember
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
An Easy Guide to Drawing the Female Body
All bodies are different, and even though there is a general rule for body proportions, all bodies vary in subtle ways. Learning how to draw the female body using a set of steps allows you to adjust and change them to give a female body sketch more movement. In this tutorial, we will learn the essential steps to create a realistic flow within a female body drawing.
Once you have learned these skills you can apply them to various female body drawings, to create different flows and shapes in your own female body drawings.
This tutorial will help you gain more confidence in creating a female body drawing that looks more realistic and has a legitimate flow that resembles a real female body. In this tutorial, we will see that the process is quite simple once we break down the fundamental process into digestible steps. We will also only need a few simple materials for this tutorial on a female body pose drawing.
As we learn how to draw a female body, we will be going through the fundamentals of how the female body is formed, so we will only need a few simple tools. Learning how to draw the female body realistically requires one to first learn the basics, so we will only need some pencils and a ballpoint pen for this tutorial. We will also want to make sure that we have an eraser and a sharpener throughout the drawing process. Lastly, we will want to make sure we have some decent paper. All materials can be found through the links below:
- HB pencil
- 2B pencil
- Ballpoint pen
- Good paper (200 g/m – 250 g/m recommended)
Once we have our materials, we want to begin to prepare ourselves for the drawing process by placing ourselves within an environment where we can focus. A good suggestion would be to find a space that is quiet and where there are fewer distractions. That being said, this process is not too difficult which means we can relax and take it easy as we go through the drawing process.
A good idea would be to put on some music in the background, so we can feel more comfortable as we go through each stage of the female body drawing process.
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Draw a Female Body
In this tutorial, we will be going through a set of steps that break up the drawing process into fundamental ideas. A female body pose drawing can be done in various ways, and giving a figure natural flow requires one to understand how the body is built. We will work out the basic parts of assembling the upper and lower body, which we will then distinguish further with proportion guidelines.
From there, we will work out the different body parts using the guidelines as a general rule. To create a female body pose drawing with the flow, we will use the demarcated lines as only a guide, which we will work around rather than holding it as a hard and fast rule. This gives us the opportunity to create movement and flow in the structure, which will result in a more realistic female body sketch.
Lastly, we will use our pens to accentuate the female body outline, by adding line work into the pencil sketch. Now, let us get into this tutorial on how to draw the female body.
Step 1: Building Blocks
We want to break down the female body into its fundamental forms, which we then slowly tweak and change as we go through each step. We can start by drawing two inverted trapezium shapes on top of one another. These shapes will establish the lower and upper part of the female body drawing but we want to make sure the upper shape is slightly longer than the bottom.
We don’t need them to be directly above one another, by adding a slight shift in movement we will give the woman’s body sketch more flow. From here, we will draw a vertical line that runs through both trapezium shapes to establish the general flow of the figure. We then can proceed to add the head shape, which we can draw as a general circle above the upper trapezium shape.
Make sure you keep some space between the upper trapezium and the head for the neck area. We want there to be some space between the head and upper torso for the neck area to be drawn later on.
Step 2: Working Out the Proportions
There is a general rule of proportions for the female body that divides the body into eight equal parts. The head, shoulders and upper chest, breast and sternum, naval and pubic bones, thighs, knees, shins, and feet are divided into eight equal parts.
However, this is a loose rule and shouldn’t force you to create a female body sketch using this as a mandatory principle. You can use the general idea of these eight equal parts to guide you, but when adding flow and movement into your female anatomy drawing, this rule goes out the window.
Step 3: Drawing the Upper Torso
Once we have the trapezium shapes established, we want to then draw an egg shape on the upper trapezium. We want to create the ribcage and sternum with an arch shape that curves to a halfway point in the upper trapezium.
Essentially, we will draw an egg shape with an arch that runs parallel inside of the egg shape, which will establish the ribcage.
Step 4: Drawing the Pelvis
We now want to draw the pelvis area by drawing a horizontal line through the upper section of the lower trapezium. From there, we want to draw two lines from the upper corner of the lower trapezium, moving down to the center of the bottom line of the trapezium shape.
Think of it as adding in an underwear shape into the bottom trapezium shape.
Step 5: Connecting the Pelvis to the Upper Torso
We now can connect the trapezium shapes by drawing the hips, and connecting the edges of each trapezium. We can also establish the naval directly in the middle between both the trapezium shapes.
The hips should curve inwardly between the upper and lower trapezium, and run along the outer lines of the egg shape.
Step 6: Drawing the Hips and Legs
The hips and legs will extend from the outer sides of the lower trapezium, all the way down the page. Allow yourself to use the guidelines as a suggestive length for legs and for dividing them into two sections.
The guidelines give a good indication for placement, but they can be ignored when adding bends into different limbs of the figure.
We want to imagine the general shape of the hips arching out of the trapezium shape, giving them volume and curves. They then can start to form a cone-like shape as they become narrower near the lower leg area.
As the legs extend downward, we want to imagine that the halfway point between the feet and the pelvic bone is where the knees will be situated.
That being said, if you allow the legs to bend, the knee position will heighten slightly with the bend of the leg.
You want to allow yourself to give bends in the leg to create motion.
Movement in the legs will change the position of different features. If the leg is slightly straight the knee will be slightly lower than the knee within a bent knee.
Step 7: Positioning the Arms
The arms will be established by the thorax and collar bone. The thorax is positioned at the top of the egg shape, which will then determine the position of the collar bones. The collar bones connect to each side of the thorax horizontally above the chest.
As you draw your arms try to imagine how your figure is positioned. Again, adding slight curvature to the figure’s torso is going to establish the perspective of the arms.
Another rule to remember is that the elbows fall in line with the naval.
The forearms and hands will extend to the upper thigh area of the figure. You want to play around with how your figure’s arms fall alongside the body.
As long as you remember that the elbows fall alongside the naval and the hands near the thigh, your figure will look right.
Step 8: Drawing the Neck and Head
The neck and head can be established from the thorax as well. The trapezius muscles connect to the collar bones which extend to the ears. This causes a triangular cavity in the neck area because the trapezius muscles connect from the ears to each collar bone on each side of the figure.
Step 9: Drawing the Pectoral Muscles and Breasts
With the pectoral muscles, they will fall in the same area as a male, which starts from the sternum and flows into the armpit of the figure. However, with a female body drawing, we want to establish a circular teardrop shape for each breast, which should fall slightly lower on each pectoral muscle.
The breasts always fall slightly lower than the pectoral muscle underneath them due to gravity.
This gives the breasts a more realistic form and position in the female anatomy drawing. The breasts also have a teardrop shape rather than a round shape, which run into the armpits of the female figure.
Step 10: Establishing the Form with a Line Work
Once we have gone through the basic steps of creating the general figure shape, we should be left with a relatively realistic figure drawing. From here, we want to take a pen and proceed to work out the female body outline.
We want all the little female body sketched lines that we have made to point out key aspects of the figure. What is meant by this is that we want to now accentuate the figure by outlining around the hips, legs, and the rest of the body as we aim to establish the form more distinctly. We want to consider the subtle aspects that define the figure’s form, like the knees, calves, pelvic area, naval, hips, arms, neck, and other aspects of the body that bring the female figure to life.
The intention here is to identify the figure through your drawing marks by making a female body outline.
By creating a female body outline, you learn how to establish the subtle aspects of the female body drawing that describe the form more distinctly. Try to work with your pen and slowly outline each area of the body, to solidify its structure.
Allow yourself to take your time, using your pen to bring out the female body pose drawing more distinctly. Creating a female body pose drawing requires one to capture the basic form and shape which then should be refined with more distinct marks.
And there you have it! The comprehensive steps to creating a realistic female body pose drawing.
Tips to Remember
- Work out each section with attentiveness. Take your time, working with your pencil to work out the female body sketch.
- Build the character. The steps establish a building process- you want to consider that the body is made of different parts put together.
- Consider the subtle details. A female anatomy drawing has soft and subtle curves; we want to think about this as we draw the figure.
- Take your time. As you learn how to draw a female body correctly, you want to take your time, really thinking through each aspect of the body.
- Learning how to draw a female body takes time, so use this resource to practice constantly.
Learning how to draw a female body takes time but once you have the basic fundamental steps, it is much easier. When creating a nuanced female body pose drawing, you want to know how the body is divided into different sections. This tutorial establishes how to transform a female body sketch into a more refined female anatomy drawing. Remember to play around with adding curvature to your figure, allowing for the arms to bend, and using the guidelines as a basic guideline that can be broken with your female body drawing.
Take a look at our female body drawing webstory here!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Draw the Upper Torso of a Female?
When drawing a female anatomy drawing, we want to imagine if it were a mannequin by drawing two trapezium shapes inverted vertically to one another. From there, we will have the upper trapezium shape slightly longer than the lower one. The chest area is established by drawing the rib cage, which starts as an egg shape placed in the upper trapezium. There will be an arch shape inside of the egg to create the curvature within the sternum area. With a female chest, they still have pectoral muscles which will be drawn from the sternum to the thorax just below the neck. From there the breasts would be placed slightly under the pectoral muscles in a circular or teardrop shape. This is because of gravity, which allows the breast to slightly hang lower than the pectoral muscles. This is the correct placement of the upper torso’s features within the female body, and then can be refined further with shading and outlining.
How Do You Draw Legs on the Female Body?
With the female body, understanding the basic correct proportions help with the placement of each feature of the body. From the head to the toe, the body is divided into two main sections, which are divided into equal parts by the pelvic bone. From there, the placement between the pelvic bone and the feet can be divided in half to establish the placement of the knees. However, this is a general rule and has many exceptions because body shapes differ. This placement can help you to establish a general area of the placement of the legs but starts to change when you incorporate flow into the figure. Once the figure has movement in the legs, there will be subtle changes in the position of the legs. But working with the proportions to establish general placement – which you then can change around – is the best way to go about it.
Matthew Matthysen is an educated multidisciplinary artist and illustrator. He successfully completed his art degree at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, majoring in art history and contemporary drawing. The focus of his thesis was to explore the philosophical implications of the macro and micro-universe on the human experience. Matthew uses diverse media, such as written and hands-on components, to explore various approaches that are on the border between philosophy and science.
Matthew organized various exhibitions before and during his years as a student and is still passionate about doing so today. He currently works as a freelance artist and writer in various fields. He also has a permanent position at a renowned online gallery (ArtGazette) where he produces various works on commission. As a freelance artist, he creates several series and successfully sells them to galleries and collectors. He loves to use his work and skills in various fields of interest.
Matthew has been creating drawing and painting tutorials since the relaunch in 2020. Through his involvement with artincontext.org, he has been able to deepen his knowledge of various painting mediums. For example, watercolor techniques, calligraphy and lately digital drawing, which is becoming more and more popular.
Cite this Article
Matthew, Matthysen, “How to Draw a Female Body – Realistic Female Life Drawing.” Art in Context. November 30, 2022. URL: https://artincontext.org/how-to-draw-a-female-body/
Matthysen, M. (2022, 30 November). How to Draw a Female Body – Realistic Female Life Drawing. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/how-to-draw-a-female-body/