KS3 Art Lesson: Drawing Human Figures

This is a stand-alone art lesson that helps to teach students how to draw the correct proportions of the human figure. This is an introduction to figure drawing, which can be used in a bigger scheme of work looking at the human figure, or it can be used as a cover lesson.

The lesson PowerPoint and resources for this drawing lesson are available here.

Drawing figures art lesson resources
Figures in Motion

I have found that students make some common mistakes when drawing the human figure, and it is very difficult to draw people from direct observation (especially when there are 30 students who all need to complete a drawing or sketch in less than an hour!)

This drawing lesson is split into three parts; an entry task, the main activity part of the lesson, then a plenary that asks students to reflect on their work.

Resources you will need for the lesson are:
– A4 paper / sketchbooks
– Pencils
– Lesson PowerPoint
– A4 print outs of the jointed figure (attached to the PowerPoint)

The starter activity asks students to split their page into two – my students have an A4 sketchbook.

On one side they will stick in their jointed figure, in an ‘action’ pose, then next to that on the other side of the page, they will try to draw it accurately. I completed a demonstration before students started working.


Students took some time to cut the parts of the figure out accurately then decide on a pose they wanted to draw. Some made mistakes like sticking the limbs on the wrong way round, or missing some out completely!

They will be able to recognise these mistakes at the end of the lesson.

The slide on the PowerPoint includes step by step instructions for what to do, so students then had to try and draw their figures as accurately as possible – checking the proportions as they went.

Students found this quite challenging – trying to draw to scale to match their figure, and drawing out the correct shapes. However, they made excellent progress and showed huge improvements from their first set of drawings from a previous lesson:

how to draw human figures art lesson

Reflecting on their work at the end of the lesson, students self-assessed their work. Using a slide on the board with keywords, they wrote sentences explaining what they had done well and what they could improve.

I have cut my jointed figure out neatly and created an action pose.
I have pressed on lightly with my pencil and most of my shapes are accurate.
I have drawn the figure accurately and the proportions are correct.

I need to draw my figure bigger so it fills the space.
I should check the proportions of the legs and arms.
I need to stick down all of the limbs and make sure they are the right way around.

As an extension, students could start to add shading to make their figure look 3D, however very few of my students got to this stage:

art lesson drawing people cover work

I have found this to be a really useful lesson and it could easily be used as a cover lesson too. There are instructions on the PowerPoint, and students are not just drawing for the whole lesson. I photocopied the jointed figure onto different coloured paper which I found increased student engagement.

What do you think of the lesson? Have you done human figure drawing lessons with your students? Let me know in the comments!

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The lesson PowerPoint and resources for this drawing lesson are available here.


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