How to draw a body - Character Design sketching

How to Draw a Girl Body| Character Design Sketching


Hey look:

To draw an attractive character design (male or female) with clothes, the outfit has its importance. However, to succeed is counter-intuitive:

  • You have to start by drawing the (nude) body first.
  • Then we will draw the fashion clothing style.

Let’s see together how in the video:

1. Find a cozy cafe

Let’s go to chill in a cafe to sketch!

This is the “Ngot cafe” in Ho Chi Minh City.
I find good concentration in such places.
And you, where do you like drawing the most?

cafe ngot - ho chi minh city
Cafe Ngot – Ho Chi Minh City

2. Look for inspiration

I found a very interesting poster displaying tribes outfits all over the world.
And one attracts my attention.

Taking inspiration from the asian woman on the history wall poster
Pointing the inspiration of the day on the wall poster

I was thinking:
How about drawing something new from this woman from the Asian tribe?

  • If you look at video games, animation, movies, the designers behind often take inspiration in history books.
  • Then, they twist the originals as their wish to make them innovative and even more interesting.

3. Find a comfortable seat

My seat is at the corner where I find peace.

The seat and the table height gives me a proper posture for drawing. (Some cafe have a too low or too high chair that handicap the drawing practice)

sketching seat
Sitting in a cafe for drawing

I will draw from here looking at the poster.
Luckily I have a good vision.

* I used to have a nerdy look with big glasses. But I went to LASIK a few years ago to operate my eyes and regenerate my full sight

4. Learn from the past to create something new

If your ego is telling you: don’t copy.
Then, you will hardly get a high designer level.

History is a tremendous treasure where your imagination has now an unlimited access to it!

Use reference pictures to draw your character design
Use reference pictures

Imagine if mankind was reinventing the wheel every time a new human born. It wouldn’t make sense. (I’m curious to see what the world would look like though)

Learn how to copy and absorb information to mix them, cook them in your brain to innovate! That is how brainstorming creative method is so efficient.

5. Interprete with your own style

The original drawing has its own gravure old style.
However, I want to absorb the data to redraw them my own way.

Think of your mind as an idea shaker to generate new ideas!
That’s the magic power designers and artists learn to master every day by sketching daily.

Draw you own style of character design
Draw your own style

6. Start with a vertical axis

This simple line has its importance.
You will use it as a main guide for your drawing.

how to draw a body - character design sketching - vertical axis
Vertical axis

7. Draw the body following the axis

The pose is static.
So you need to follow the body parts all along this axis.

how to draw a body - character design sketching Follow the axis
Follow the axis

8. Draw the arm visualizing the bones

To draw the pose, it is much easier to start with the skeleton.
To simplify, we draw the arms drawing sticks representing the bones.

how to draw a body - character design sketching - Identify the bones
Identify the bones

9. Draw the outfit

Only when you have a good picture of the body, you can start drawing the outfit.

Even if in this drawing, the hat attracted me first, I didn’t start sketching it.
But the body and the head.

how to draw a body - character design sketching Don't start by the hat
Don’t start by the hat

10. Draw the body first

It is the same process as learning how to draw a body for fashion designing or concept art, or animation…

Drawing clothes has a similar process with drawing a shoe.

  • To draw clothes, you need to draw the body first.
  • To draw a shoe, you need to draw a standard foot first (called Shoe last)
how to draw a body - character design sketching - shoe last
To draw a shoe, sketch the shoe last first.

Draw the base drawing first.
And your mind will be relieved of the proportion and posing information.

This is the only way you can draw activating your full creativity.

how to draw a feminine body - character design sketching - full focus of creativity
Full focus on creativity

11. I draw hatching for shadows and color blocking

When you feel pretty satisfied with your accomplishment, add shadows, prints, color/material blocking.

I use hatching to make it fast and easy.

how to draw a body - character design sketching - hatching for values
Hatching for values

12. Think in 3 dimensions (not flat)

Many fashion illustrations are flat. I recommend you to learn how to draw like animators, comics and manga artists. They can build up the body model in 3d in any position drawing from imagination!

Think 3d when you draw
Think 3 dimensions

13. Tip to draw a hand easy

Hands are crazy difficult to draw for a beginner.

To simplify the hand, group the 3 last fingers.
It’s now so much faster to draw hands with success!

You don’t have to leave the hand space blank or hide them in the pocket or in the back. I know this trick too, I did it when I was younger.

how to draw a body - character design sketching - group hand 3 fingers
To draw a hand easy, group these 3 fingers

14. Create fashion poses

When you know how to draw body anatomy in 3 dimensions, with the bones as sticks, you can create your own fashion poses. It elevates the fun and freedom of creativity!

I am now drawing the side view with more fluidity and body curves.

how to draw a body - character design sketching - create poses
Create poses

A body is organic and is full of curves.
The bones use sticks while the muscles use curves.
(I draw with what I call the S-curves)

I want to draw like if the body were like in “dancing movement“.

how to draw a body - character design sketching - sketching s-curves
Sketching s-curves

15. Check your gravity line

A beginner mistake is to draw an unstable body posture.

The gravity line is very useful to check your body balance. It starts from the bottom of the throat, then goes down to the ground vertically. Then check your body position if it feels balanced.

how to draw a body - character design sketching - gravity line
Gravity line

16. Tada!!

Starting a blank page is no easy.

It’s a pleasure to draw from reference picture as you outsource a part of your inspiration. It is so much fun!

I recommend you to create your own library of inspiration picture as a database. If you want to make it seriously, create folders by types. For example: Mechanical, Machines, Transport, Nature, Human, Science….

Whenever you need a boost of inspiration you can pick up something there.
The pictures don’t have to come from Google’s image but most interesting, from your phone camera.

Take inspiration from real life!

how to draw a female body - character design sketching - result
I don’t know how to call here.
Let’s write this: Woman Neo Asian Tribe

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About The Author


Hello! My name is Chou-Tac. I am a Product Designer from France. If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my industrial design career, I believe that they can also help you reach your design goal as a student or professional. My aim to help you all along with your design projects and journey. Anytime, feel free to leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at : )

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