About the Figure Study project…

You will create a figure drawing from images of art models that I will supply. While students in college work from live models, you will be provided with printed reference materials, which contain tasteful artistic poses. 

I believe this is an essential art project for many reasons. 

1.     Figure drawing is the traditional cornerstone of all art training and has been a staple of art education for more than 2000 years. The human figure is one of the most enduring themes in the visual arts and offers every challenge an artist could require -perspective, proportion and composition. 

2.     The student’s portfolio of artwork, which is evaluated by the College Board, must contain certain traditional types of works to be considered complete and eligible for college credit. Any portfolio without figurative work would be seen as lacking and could receive a lower score. 

3.     Working from the human figure is important preparation for college art courses, as well as careers in the visual arts. Figure drawing can be applied to animation, portraiture, cartooning and comic book illustration, sculpture, medical illustration, fashion design and many other fields that use depictions of the human form.

 Before you begin your drawing, your will be required to get written permission from your parent. If your parent or guardian feels strongly that this particular assignment is inappropriate for you, images of clothed models will be substituted.    

Some examples by my AP Studio Art students:

Some examples in Color by my Varsity AP Studio Art students:

Some examples by old masters:


A GREAT site for Figure Drawing practice:


An excellent Figure Drawing Timelapse video:

Life Drawing in College:

Life drawing classes in college often intimidate beginning artists. However, it’s only awkward until the minute your pencil touches the paper. Then it becomes an artistic exercise no different then drawing a still life of a bowl of fruit. You must concentrate on getting the angles correct, the proportions, shading etc. At that point the model is an amazing tool for learning how to draw. Life drawing classes teach far more than drawing from photographs and I encourage you to take them when you can.


Clothed Figures: 

Once students have mastered drawing the human form, it becomes so much easier to draw clothed figures. However, if the figure’s proportions are off, the piece will not work no matter how well the clothing is rendered. This is why students will do figure drawing and drape/fabric study before they’re ever asked to draw a clothed figure in an assignment as in Foreshortening and social issues.

Some examples by my AP Studio Art students:

 Some examples by other AP artists: