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A Block-In Method To Explode Your Figure Drawings

This article walks artists through the simple concept of the block-in method for figure drawing. It will explode your drawings have your figures looking alive and dynamic immediately.

The Block-In in figure drawing acts as an organizational blue print or tool for the artist. The Block-In organizes the drawing and gives the form guidelines for the artist.

So what is the Block-In method and the benefits of learning this technique? In simple terms, the Block-In is a simplified 2D drawing of the 3D person or subject you are drawing. The block in is designed in observation to the model. This will help your drawing become more realistic and help your drawing come alive! It will help you begin to see the model correctly and help you avoid mistakes that may occur without the use of the block in. By practicing the block-in, youíll be able to master the human form with more of a likeness and having it come alive in your drawings.

So, how do you do a block-in? This is definitely the simplified version but with practice, you will become an expert at this technique. First, you will start with a sketch of the shape of the whole pose using no more than 6 or so lines. This will create a shell, or what some teachers call an envelope. This shell is where the drawing will develop inside. It doesnít have to be perfect. In fact, it wonít be perfect. The points of the shell will probably be out of place a little, just remember, itís okay! This is just giving you a guideline of the pose, helping you figure the overall dimensions.

The next step would be to start to fill in your shell. Do this by sub-dividing your shell into smaller shells. Then begin to break the shells down into major shapes. I say major because you donít want to focus on finer details of your drawing during the block-in. This is a major no, no! Worries of fine details such as hair, facial features, expression, etc are a waste of time at this point and could lead to big mistakes. This is generally a beginnerís mistake. It is much more important to focus on the larger shapes. At this point, your drawing will look not so pretty and a little broken up. However, one important note to keep in mind as you go throughout your block-in, always be conscious of your angles.

You will want to begin breaking down your sub shells and refine them. Stay general at first and then get more specific as you go. Your shell wouldíve been broken down into dynamic shapes that will serve as the underlying foundation of the drawing. Your lines will change from long to shorter as the refining process begins.

Finally, after dividing and chiseling away at your shell, you will have a structure that will serve as your blueprint for your drawing. Keep in mind that you have been checking your angles the whole wayFeature Articles, this is important.

Block-ins may take a little time getting used to and changing your drawing habits but the rewards are endless. You will see your drawings improve drastically and immediately and you figures will start to come alive. Explode your drawings with this technique!

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Todd Harris is a master artist who is currently working at a multi-billion dollar company as a concept art director. He is trained in the florence academy method of art and loves drawing. is a resource web site developed to help aspiring artists master the human figure with drawing and sketching tips, tricks, techniques, and advice. It is jam-packed full of resource articles on drawing and sketching as well as career advice. For more info please visit or email us at

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