A question for experienced drawers and artists?

How does a professional artist draw a person or character with accurate human anatomy, without any references? Does the artist have the human anatomy memorized?

Also proportions, does the artist have correct proportions memorized as well?

The reason I ask is because I can draw decent when I have a reference to look from, but with no reference I am in big trouble because I have no idea what it should look like.

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  • Danielle Bourke

    Some people just have an ability to draw accurate proportions, the majority of people don’t.
    There is a word for this ability I just can’t remember what it is.
    Yes I can draw correct proportions without visual aids.

  • Melissa

    You should study the anatomy more then, start with specific body parts and sections. Draw them with references with for awhile, then when you’re comfortable, draw that section on your own. When you master that down, add on another section of the body until you got it down packed.

    that’s how i learned, anyway.

  • theoregonartist

    First I’d suggest you pick up a couple of decent books on "drawing anatomy" or just "anatomy study" books for artists, they’ll give you some good basic ideas on measurments for particular body part lengths and sizes and shapes, distances and so forth…..I drew,drafted and painted for about 33 years before retiring. One book I highly suggest that you can find on amazon books is called "The Pencil" by Paul Calle. It’s the most amazing book I ever owned during my own career. If you have any talent at all and you want to continue this at any length, get that one book and pick up a few anatomy books. I’m pretty sure after reading "The Pencil"…….you’ll have a much better apprectiation of your own ability and possibility.


  • It is perfectly acceptable to use references, most artists will do.

    Certainly with time you might pickup some of the proportions, but they will not necessarily help as they do not take in perspective and foreshortening. For example, if you wanted to draw somebody with their hand coming towards you, knowing the proportion of thumb to forearm will not help.

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