This basic tutorial summarizes my many years of personal experiences on studying female figure drawing. It is suitable for beginners who would like to have a general understanding of the key points in female figure drawing. More often than not, I find that beginners tend to focus on too many details at the beginning of the female figure drawing exercise. In fact, the most important step is to define the action of a female figure. Learn to find the line of action first, before adding the other lines for completion. Every artist has to start his/her picture with a few essential lines which are often the most important ones. The rest of the work falls into place in relation to the very first line of action.
You should study and practice based on a lot of tutorials like this and get an appreciation of line before attempting any shading. If the outline is poor, the shading will be of little help. Practicing “picture writing” with a pen develops a sense of rhythm. The pen is a difficult medium of expression for beginners to handle but repays well the effort expended to master it. Practice female figure drawing with a flowing pen line gives control and coordination of hand and mind. Reclining figures afford an opportunity for the study of foreshortening, which is a difficult problem for students; In these sketches, the outline should be indicated lightly. Then the proportions established and finally gone over with decision and the shadows drawn with broad strokes from the worn-down side of the pencil. A female lying down pose calls for the grace of line, but one of the difficulties is to judge proportions for beginners, especially the size of the head. Do not devote too much time to this till after the rest of the female figure drawing is completed. To test your accuracy, turn the paper around to check up.
Drawing the same female figure in varied poses and from different angles gets you well grounded in life studies. The above drawings made from nature will prove useful to copy for simplicity of line and technique. Female life figures drawings studies from nature are not always possible. Therefore, it is still advisable to study the human form through copies in order to gain as much knowledge as possible.