How To Draw Architecture Human Figure


Drawing human figures in architecture is something that every artist should strive to master. This artful skill requires knowledge, technique, and practice, but is rewarding and can be used to enhance any sketch of architectural details. Learning how to draw architecture’s human figures is a great way to add even more detail to a three-dimensional design. Whether it’s a sketch on paper or a detailed computer-generated image, understanding the basics of how to draw human figures in your architectural design will enable you to truly enhance the realism of your rendering.

Learning the Basics of Proportion

The first step in learning how to draw a human figure in an architectural sketch is to understand the basics of human proportion. The head of the human figure should be roughly one-eighth the length of the body from head to foot. The legs should be slightly longer than the torso, and the arms should be about two-thirds the length of the legs. These basic rules are important and should be followed if you want to achieve realistic outcomes. Additionally, when drawing the torso, the figure should be slightly wider at the hips than at the shoulders. Again by following these simple rules, the human figure should look realistically proportioned and be more harmonious with the other parts of the sketch.

Positioning the Figure

Once the proportions of the human figure have been established, the figure must then be placed in the sketch accurately. This requires the artist to have a deep understanding of the focal point, or center of interest, of the composition and to position the human figure in relation to it. This can be difficult, as the figure must be positioned such that it does not distract from or overpower the center of interest. The figure also must be carefully placed such that it does not seem out of place or unnatural in the overall composition.

Rendering the Figure

Once you have established the proportions and position, it is time to render the figure in greater detail. This is done by carefully depicting the facial features and other anatomical details of the human figure. Small details, like wrinkles and facial expressions, all contribute to the realism of the figure and must be taken into account to truly bring the figure to life.

Special Considerations

When rendering a figure into an architectural sketch, you must also take into account the environment in which the figure is placed. For example, if the figure is placed indoors, he or she must be shown with appropriate clothing or other accessories that are related to the environment. Additionally, the figure should be placed in an environment that is related to the focus of the sketch. If the environment does not fit the narrative of the sketch, the human figure will seem out of place and could throw off the balance of the composition.

The Effects of Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important factors when drawing a human figure in an architectural sketch. The direction and intensity of the light can affect the overall composition, as well as the figure itself. For example, in a very dark environment, the figure may appear to be silhouetted, while in a very light environment, it may be depicted with greater detail. Additionally, shadows can be used to great effect when drawing human figures in an architectural sketch, as they can provide depth and texture to the figure.

Using Tools and Technology

Using technology and other tools can help you to enhance the realism of your drawings. Advanced software like Photoshop and SketchUp can help you to easily duplicate or transform the human figure in your drawing. Additionally, such programs can be used for a variety of other tasks, including adding textures, colors, and effects. These advanced tools can help to take your drawing from good to great.

Working in Color

Exploring color when drawing human figures in an architectural sketch can be a great way to add life and realism to your drawing. A neutral palette of colors adds to the realism of the figure, as does the exploration of color in the environment. By introducing subtle highlights and shadows, the figure is given more depth than a monochromatic drawing. Additionally, a heavier application of color can be used to balance the composition and create a more harmonious overall image.

Using Explainers and References

The use of explainers and references is one of the best ways to improve your drawing skills. By studying the works of artists whose drawings you admire, you can learn from their techniques and apply them to your own work. You can also use explainers and references to explore the human figure in greater detail and become more familiar with anatomy and movement.

Stealing From Others

Stealing from others is a great way to get inspired and learn new techniques. In the world of drawing, there is no one-size-fits-all answer; techniques and styles vary between artists. Therefore, studying other people’s work can provide you with new ideas and help you to discover ways to improve your own drawing.

Using Nature as Reference

Finally, never forget the power of nature as a reference. Taking the time to study the shapes and movements of humans, plants, and animals can provide great insight into the anatomy and proportions of the human figure. Additionally, taking the time to observe the play of light on the environment can help you to create a more realistic and believable architectural sketch.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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