6 Very Common Figure Drawing Mistakes, And How to Avoid Them

We came across several (actually, six ) common figure-drawing mistakes that we would love to share. 

Like any other art process, figure drawing is a fluid activity and impossible to pin down with exact rules—but if your goal is to create a more convincing life drawing, then these next few ideas will certainly help.


Here are the six common figure-drawing mistakes, along with their solutions:

Mistake #1 – Drawing without a goal in sight

More often than not, people immediately begin sketching without establishing some kind of intention in their mind first. You’ll find that a well-thought out drawing always seems more focused, and clearer than one that doesn’t.
Solution: Pause for a moment before beginning your drawing and to look at what you see in front of you. Keep your mind open for ideas to pop up—a moment of reflection and stillness will allow creative ideas to reveal themselves. Once you have a plan, begin drawing!

Mistake #2 – Failing to keep the figure on the page
It’s always shame when heads, arms or feet get unintentionally cut out of a drawing, just because the artist has run out of room on the paper. 

Solution: Sketch in the underlying body structure first, before committing to the entire drawing. Be sure to mark where the top of the head and the bottom of the feet will go in your initial rendering, along with some extra space for the margins. It sounds simple enough, but many people still forget to do this important step. 

Irregular proportions are the norm. Nothing is truly equal or symmetrical in nature, even though it may appear that way upon first glance. 

Mistake #3 – Ignoring the figure’s environment
In life drawing, figures can easily appear to be cut out or “floating” in space. This is quite distracting, no matter how well-drawn the image is. 
Solution: Include a bit of the environment in the drawing. The smallest line can help the figure look more solid and more grounded.

Mistake #4 – Working on the details too soon 

It is very easy to get lost in the details, but all that work goes to waste unless you have the proper larger forms in first. The temptation is to start “finishing” off the drawing too fast, resulting in some beautifully rendered areas that have to be erased later. 

SolutionGet the drawing laid in correctly from the start, always remembering to work from large to small.The main forms go in first, followed by the details that can be considered icing on the cake.

Mistake #5 – Not spending time on hands and feet

Both beginners and professional artists have trouble drawing hands and feet. If you actually take the time to make the hands and feet as good as the rest of the drawing without fudging or trying to cover them up—well, then you are in the top ten percent!

Solution: Work longer on the hands and feet and study them thoroughly. Drawing from the old masters (who offer many solutions) will help. Also, draw and redraw the hands and feet until they appear to be done with ease.

All of this will take time, but it’s more than worth the extra effort. A great work of art is like a chain: it is only as good as its weakest link. If you “screw up” on one part (i.e. the hands and feet) it will weaken the entire work.

Mistake #6 – Thinking that you have learned enough

In art as in life, ideas unfold as you progress. As Picasso once said, “Success is dangerous.
One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others. It leads to sterility.”


Solution: Make a decision now to keep learning,and to keep your mind open for new ideas. Forget being “right” all the time. Instead, search for new artistic discoveries and always look for ways to learn from your mistakes.

Check out new artworks to inspire you >> 

[Via Emptyeasel]