Adding figures to your paintings is a great way to add interest. The viewer will spend more time looking at a painting when there are people. These figures on the left are done quickly and without much detail. Even without the detail a viewer knows what they are. You will see improvement in your figures if you practice them often. They can be done from life or photos or even from your imagination. The samples done here are people walking. It gives action to your paintings to add figures.
Some of the facts for painting people are: there are about seven heads in the total height of the figure, the top of the legs or waist is half the height of the figure, arms hang to about halfway down the thigh. Observing people is the best way to learn the right proportions.
I always look for the light falling on a figure and I use that to create form. Use shadows and lights next to darks, similiar to the paintings above. Try not to paint stick figures, notice how people stand and walk and the angle created with shoulders and hips.
Another important fact for figures is to scale them to your surroundings. People closer to you are bigger than people in the distance. Be sure that your people are the correct proportion to buildings, doors, cars etc.
Use the biggest brush possible and paint shapes to create your figures and add as little detail as possible. A story can be told when you add figures to your paintings. Practice and have fun with it. Try not to be perfect and your figures will be better.
Hi PJ I'm so happy I came ascoss your blog and these little people.I too am an artist, mostly painting sea, sky & landscapes. I have started to introduce small figures into my paintings and I think yours are perfect. Thanks!
Thanks Raine! Check out my instagram page for the latest artwork ( instagram.com/pjcookartist ).
Good luck with your figure painting and have fun.
I am an old grandma that wont to start again to enjoy painting and may-be to introduce my grandchildren to this art. You have given precious suggestions and I will read more from you. Love Loredana
Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. Enjoy painting!
I have just retired and want to “stretch” my brain. I have chosen watercolor and am thoroughly enjoying the challenge. I want to add people to my “barn/farm” scenes. You have given me courage to try. Thank you!
Just love how characters brings a painting to life thank you.
Thank so much!!!!