Learning how to draw a woman is a topic that requires a lot of study. While it's easy to just reference a fashion magazine, there is more to it than just a pretty face and figure. I will explore some important considerations in this guide on how to draw women.
Typically, a level of maturity is needed to differentiate between a woman and a young girl in a drawing. Therefore, age is a huge consideration. What facial or body structures will best depict a certain age? What posture helps in emphasizing age?
Within that age, what is considered feminine in a given culture? How are women portrayed and how do they actually behave? There is so much to explore given these considerations that a drawing is an excellent outlet to portray these cultural ideas.
What about clothing and accessories? In any culture, fashion tells a lot about cultural trends. For example, loose clothing is symbolic of freedom while tighter clothing is used to emphasize sexiness. As an artist, the challenge will be to look at clothing and how it impacts posture. Let's get started.
It goes without saying that a closer look into the female form is a requirement. How well can a woman be drawn will be entirely up to the artistic knowledge and a strong foundation. It is always a good idea to do several sketches of a few ideal poses before anything else.
On those sketches, what type of a woman does the artist want to draw? How is the posture reflective of age? What clothing is used to emphasize culture and what restrictions do the fashion presented in terms of character movements?
In this example, robed clothing will reduce movement in the legs. Therefore, the legs are attached together. Such suggestions also play at the idea of conservatism in a culture. In contrast, accessories in the hair signify a level of attraction.
As for the posture, the playful sitting position is considerate of her surroundings. There will be some weight in sleeves as it brushes across the branches. The sketch is an ongoing process that takes into all these considerations into account.
The sketch is a gateway to the entire composition as everything up to now is a placeholder to finish the rest of the drawing. The face and the body will take up most of the time here. What details can be drawn out to signify ethnicity and age?
For example, a chiseled chin and indented cheeks can represent someone mature or someone with a certain ethnicity. As for the body, hand posture and slight feet movements can be used to emphasize a level of femininity.
Whatever the choices are, anything is possible with this kind of drawing. Tool wise, it is OK to warp areas of the drawing to give the woman some more thickness to the body. Other than that, small details like hair ornaments can be hard smudged out using the smudge brush.
Even the separations and kinks in the clothing are done with the smudge brush. To keep the drawing simple, there are only two layers: the character and the background layer. In the next step, more complex elements are introduced where there will a lot more layers to manage.
Even a simple robe can have multiple designs that add an element of attraction. The biggest challenge for an artist would be to add in these design details while still retaining the folds in the clothing. On another layer, I used random floral vector files.
These curved patterns can be imported and then changed into a clipping mask to arrange on the character. How can the designs be arranged in a way that adds to the composition? There is nothing wrong with manually drawing it in, either.
In fact, it is recommended depending on the situation as it could take more time to rearrange it properly based on the perspective that the design in facing. Again, this will be dependent on the artist's individual skills and the comfort level in using the drawing tools available.
Even after that, careful considerations must be made to balance the entire drawing. With a background, it is a good idea to unify the entire drawing based on having the correct shading give weights and proper cast shadows.
Since the character is sitting on a tree, there will be shading of foliage that will be reflected on her skin, clothing, and overall form. This is carefully drawn in on a separate layer and then muted out a bit by adjusting the transparency.
What else can be added to enhance the drawing in this last step on how to draw a woman? Since the background contains a tree, a foreground can be added to bring floral elements to life, and therefore, possibly enhancing the level of beauty in the overall drawing.
For starters, countless petals can be drawn and blurred in to give the illusion of motion. In doing so, the lighting will need to be reworked a bit. I do not want the woman to be too dark so I enhanced the lightning and contrast ratio a bit to even it out with the light petals.
Other details like flowers found on the branches can easily be drawn in using a regular textured brush with the settings set to 'splatter'. Larger flowers found in the immediate foreground will have to be drawn in manually to show off the floral details.
When everything is done, take a step back. Has the drawing finished exploring what it has initially set out to do? Are all the main questions of age, posture, and culture answered? Is there anything else that I can do to improve on it?
It's normal to go back and forth to refine some of the details in the drawing. Some ideas will come to mind near the finishing stages. As long as the majority of the composition answers key culturally themed questions, then I believe this is one of the best and flexible ways to learn how to draw a woman.