How to Draw and Shade the Human Torso

How to Draw and Shade the Human Torso

Step 1 – Prepare for the Drawing with Studies I’m approaching this drawing as a portfolio
piece, or something that might hang in a gallery. I think this is a good mentality to have going
into a longer drawing because we take it more seriously. With that, comes prep work… I like to do some small sketches before I
jump into the actual drawing. Proportion studies, gesture studies, value studies, and anatomy
studies. These give me a running start when I begin the drawing. In the premium version
of this demo, I walk you through each one of these studies. Step 2 – The Layin Since I’m drawing from reference, not from
imagination, the first step should be heavy on measuring. Checking to make sure my proportions
are correct. In fact I’m going to start this drawing like I start all my figure drawings
from life. Identify the largest shapes and rhythms, then add the anatomical details on
top. After establishing the proportions I’m going
to hone in on the anatomical details. We know that the pec has 3 distinct portions
based on where they originate on the chest. The clavicular portion, sternal portion and
abdominal portion. All 3 start at the chest and swing over and around the biceps to attach
to the humerus. Now, this part of the lat is interesting.
It comes down the side of the torso, but instead of softly blending into the obliques, it curves
out again to wrap around the volume of the serratus. Most people assume this whole area here is
the lat muscle. The upper portion of this volume is the teres major muscle, which we’ll
learn about in our next lesson, as we move to the back of the torso. So, look at this contour. It’s subtle, but
we should look for 3 curves when the arm is up like this. Teres major, latissimus, serratus.
And then we reach the obliques. In the serratus I’m clearly seeing 4 digits
and a portion of a 5th hiding under the pec. Now let’s find all the stuff on the other
side. It’s gonna look different because we’re looking at it from a different angle. That’s
why it’s important to study the 3 dimensional muscle forms rather than 2 dimensional muscle
maps or diagrams that we commonly see. Let’s get the tendinous intersections of the
abs and then we can move on to shadow mapping. This step is kind of in-between the linear
layin and the shading stage. We’re going to create a map of the separation between the
lights and the shadows. As we do that we’re going to design interesting edges and shapes
to the core and cast shadows. I know that might sound confusing. If it does, you probably
need to go back and rewatch the shading lessons from the figure drawing course. The core shadows on the abs follow a zigzag
pattern. Some muscles like abs, serratus and obliques naturally have repeating forms. Try
to design them to have some kind of variation and rhythm. Look for variations in edges,
shapes, values, and sizes. Step 3 – Shading the Forms We have the layin finished, now it’s time
for the shading. I like to start by separating the lights from the shadows. A quick way of
doing this is with some charcoal powder. I dip a soft sable brush into a little jar
of charcoal powder. Lightly tap the brush on the jar to knock off some of the charcoal
and slowly start spreading it onto the shadow areas. Don’t do this too fast. Take your time and
keep it clean. Now let’s do the details. This part of the drawing gets very meticulous.
It takes a long time to shade properly. We have to analyze every plane change, every
edge, every shape, every value of every core shadow, halftone, highlight… There’s a lot
that has to be processed and we shouldn’t rush it. If we’re going to study the human
form, then we should actually put in the time to study the forms. This is how we do it.
This is where a lot of our time will be spent. If you’re like me, this process is absolute
joy. It’s like meditation. Play some good music and spend your day shading! At this point I’m cleaning up the shadows
and filling in the shadow areas that are too small to get with the brush. The brush is
great for covering large areas, but not for small shapes that need a bit more precision. The charcoal powder also has a limit to how
dark it can get. As I’m filling in and cleaning the shadows, I’m also darkening the overall
value of the shadows. If the shadow value is too light, then I don’t have much to work
with in the lights. So, if I make the lightest shadow this value,
that means I have these values to work with to shade all the halftones within the lights.
That’s not many values. So, I want to darken the lightest shadow to open up that range
in the lights. Make sense? I’ll start the details on the head. Since
I gave most of the drawing a light glaze of charcoal, I can use the kneaded eraser to
pick out the highlights. Think of the torso as a simple rounded egg.
Think about the light direction and how the halftones transition from light to dark, to
coreshadow, to reflected light. This overall egg effect should be present in your drawing
even when the small detailed forms are added. The best way to make that happen is to add
the large halftone gradations early. Like the dark halftones on the abs. When shading it helps to think about planes.
Not the flying planes. I’m talking about geometric shapes. Instead of blending in a bunch of
soft arbitrary tones. I’m observing the value of the side planes, bottom plane, top plane
and front plane. I’m looking for clues in the photo that will help me show these forms. Let’s add that nipple. Don’t outline it. You
don’t want it to look like a pepperoni fell on his chest. Add some variety to the edge. As I design the tones on the serratus, I’m
intentionally looking for ways I can make each digit different. Nature is organic and
rarely repeats the same shape twice. So if we make each digit the same, it looks weird. Ok. I’ll start the lat with a base layer of
halftone. Then I’ll add some plane changes and pick out highlights. Approach the highlights like any halftone
shapes. Don’t just erase them. Draw them. Design them. Think about the shape, edge,
and value. You can even use line direction on a highlight to show the form, just like
you would with a halftone. In the light areas I use the tip of the pencil
to get a thin line. I also make sure my pencil is nicely sharpened when shading an important
light area. Using the tip in the lights adds finer detail, texture, allows you to cross
hatch with the forms for a better 3d effect, and forces you to shade slower and make better
decisions. again seeing the digitation of the obliques mostly at this edge. I’ll start the halftones here and fade them diagonally across the oblique as long thin shapes Thinking about the pattern I’m making. I don’t want to repeat zebra stripes across his torso. I’ve basically covered the whole torso, so
now it’s about continuously going through the forms and seeing if there’s anything that
can be improved. It’s a slow process that requires patience and a constant search for
improvements. All that’s left is the arm, legs, and finishing
touches. I hope you enjoyed this demonstration! In
the premium anatomy course this demo is over 1 hour long and I go into much more detail
explaining each step of the process, guiding you through the anatomy of the torso. Portions
of the video are in real time and the parts that are sped up are sped up much less than
this video was. If you liked this demo, you’ll definitely like the premium version that’s
included in the anatomy course at If you liked this video, don’t be all selfish, share it with your friends. And if you want to be updated on new videos, click this button or go to

100 thoughts on “How to Draw and Shade the Human Torso

  1. Stan, you're God! Your videos encourage me to keep moving forward. Thank you very much for all this stuff – compared to another sources it's just awesome, always funny, informative, useful and on very high professional level

  2. I don't know what to do, Stan. I'm young, and have age restrictions on my YouTube account. It's denying me access to majority of your videos, because of the nude models. I want to learn though. πŸ™

  3. U have many of followers Arabs , can you put on a translation of the video? Incidentally channel reference for many of the painters from beginners up to professionals .. Thank youuu


  4. thank you proko!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Could you do a video on feet, pretty please? I've always had trouble with them… Stuff like drawing them from different angles and making them look like they're bearing weight is a total nightmare. Great video, by the way! I cannot thank you enough for the time and effort you put into these!

  6. You're really good at anatomy so will you ever possibly use all this knowledge to make a super hero or something in a future video? You'd probably be able to make something pretty cool

  7. this is an absolutely fantastic video. where did you learn to do that? you see, I wanna be a comic book artist, but I feelΒ I need to know the basics first. so ive been studying Bridgman relentlessly and skimming through loomis as well. obviously, you know the human figure just as well as those guys do, so could ya give me a couple tips?

  8. Great artist and instructor I purchased his first two courses and will buy the anatomy once I complete previous courses. If you want to learn to draw this is the best course to take period. thanks for sharing your knowledge and making drawing fun and less stressful.

  9. If I practice on paper and have never used a drawing tablet will the difficultly be just about the same or very hard

  10. Hey! This was awsome! Can I learn it too, if I watch your videos and check your page, or I'm required to be an art student?

  11. Proko amazing,just loving it,u are magical and listening to you is just a pleasure cuz explanations are so clear!i held my breath through process

  12. Im 12 and I want to be a concept artist. I know to fulfil my dream I have to be amazing at anatomy however I don't know where to start. Do I have to learn all the technical names for muscles and bones or do I just have to know how to draw them? Please can someone tell me the best way to learn anatomy… Thanks!

  13. β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–„β–€β–’β–’β–’β–’β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–’β–’β–’β–’β–’β–’β–’β–’β–’β–’β–’β–’β–’β–ˆ

    You thought there was more. WRONG!

  14. nature is organic and rarely repeat it self the same twice…
    I just notice that your serratus is more congruent than your reference.
    Sorry! maybe I just misunderstand or there's something wrong with my perspective here…

  15. What paper did you use for this drawing? It looks like it handles the charcoal very well and I've been trying to find a good paper like that.

    Thank you πŸ™‚

  16. you are really very good but please, can you change your music Logo? it makes me very depressive…all the rest, fantastic

  17. I REALLY LIKE THIS "LESSON'….I am working on a torso sketch, upper torso, and this is so helpful to me that I wanted to thank you for posting this. I am interested in your courses, too and will check them out. I like the manner in which you draw, and also your teaching manner is perfect. No nonsense, but positive, empathetic to your audience, and you seem totally dedicated to the art. I hope to see more of you soon. –Glenn

  18. 😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😱😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

    Question: Are the two different kinds of emojis equal or not?

  19. As a visual artist and as someone who studies anatomy for my profession, I absolutely love your channel. I fully appreciate how you call everything by its anatomical name and include every detail in your drawings. It satisfies both my artistic and nerdy side haha.

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