Like many other kids all around the world I started to draw early on in life. I just had a passion and a talent for it. I would look out for books on how to draw and spend hours just doodling, drawing and sketching. Sometimes by best friend would come round to my house, we would pause our favourite cartoon on the VCR and draw the characters… just because.
Some of the first books I bought were when I was at school. I must have only been about 10 or 12 years old but I will never forget some of the stuff inside them. In fact I am sure I still have the books in the attic somewhere.
Step by Step
I liked books that showed me how to draw people step by step. I really enjoyed drawing people and would often draw my Mum and Dad as they sat watching TV. My doodles today are still
the same; mainly stick figures built out to form real people, or heads and faces drawn to proportion.
I also enjoyed books that taught how to draw cartoons step by step for kids. There is a different type of learning for kids and after all they are the ones who watch and become inspired by cartoons. I tried making my own characters and drew cartoon strips with them. Learning how to draw animals step by step was another of my passions.
The key phrase in the last two paragraphs has been ‘step by step’. You see the best way to learn how to draw things really is step by step. Start with the basic shapes and build upon them to make it look how you want it. This applies to pretty much anything; you might draw a person by starting with a stick figure, simply to put the limbs in the right position first. After you do that you can start to think about where the muscles go and what clothing looks like. Even the most complicated things are made from the most basic of shapes. A jumbo jet is famously drawn with a washing up liquid (detergent) bottle shape with triangles attached for wings. Of course the real thing is then fleshed out from that.
This brings me nicely on to the point of this post – how to draw a superhero. When I was a bit older and really into my drawing I bought this book – How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way. There is something about the way in which superheroes are drawn that makes them more interesting and inspiring. There are some subtle techniques used, which I will describe.
Posture and Proportion
In figure drawing proportion is important. It is how we all look and how our bodies are made. With obvious exceptions, such as disfigured people or people with growth defects, there are rules that we all conform to without even knowing about it.
For example: the gap between our eyes is about the same distance as the width of each eye
The distance from fingertip to fingertip when our arms are stretched out to the sides is the same as our overall height.
The size of our feet is reflected in the distance between our wrist and our inner elbow.
I bet you are now looking at yourself to test this out. It may not be spot on for everyone but these proportions are consistent throughout the majority of the human race.
Notice how a superhero stands; not sat slumped in a chair, not stood with their feet together with their arms to the side. They are usually stood in a dynamic, energetic posture; they have authority and confidence. Their postures are nearly always exaggerated too, arms out to the side somewhere, legs apart, mid jump or mid punch. They are all postures that suggest energy and movement.
In the Marvel book you will learn early on about the 8 head rule. Basically, we real people are usually around six to six and a half heads tall. This means that our bodies can be divided up into six equal parts, each being the same height as our head.
With superheroes their bodies can be divided into eight sections that are the same height as the head. This is demonstrated in the sketch to the right. You will also see that each head section denotes where another body part begins. Notice how the chest, waist, crotch and knees all fall where the head lines are.
When drawing faces of superheroes the number of lines used is kept to a minimum. Even by using very few lines the facial features can be drawn effectively and convincingly. That is the idea behind comic books; they are simple yet effective representations of the real thing, not really well drawn true to life images.
Practice makes perfect and it may be you are suited to drawing in a certain style over others. Whichever it is start with the basics and develop from there. I definitely recommend the Marvel book above if you want to learn how to draw super heroes.
Filed under: Arts