In this tutorial, we will draw two women stretching. What will make this drawing a little easier for us is the fact that almost all the angles of the features of the two young women are parallel to each other.
As you will see, we are going to take this tutorial down a path that slightly differs from some of my previous ones. After the initial guidelines are established, the drawing will be completed in stages. Additionally, we are going beyond the line drawing stages with this one by shading our subjects. Therefore, make sure you have a tortillion to blend tones and a kneaded eraser to lift out highlights.
With that said, here is the reference photograph. Take a look and let’s get started!
Draw the Figure Outlines
Begin by drawing two tilted ovals for the heads. Make sure the angles of the ovals are roughly parallel to one another. Use the reference photograph to account for how much space you should put between the ovals. Also, make the oval on your right ever so slightly smaller than the first one, since this woman is standing slightly farther back.
Continue to sketch the outline of each figure. To maintain a consistent curvature of the two figures, it’s helpful to first draw a few extra guidelines. Draw a line from each head that will run the length of each torso, as indicated by the blue arrows. To get the tilt of the shoulders parallel, draw the guidelines perpendicular to the heads, as indicated by the green arrows. Finish up by sketching the outlines for the torso and legs.
Complete the foundation of each figure by sketching the outline for the arms. Once again, try to keep the angles of each arm mostly consistent between the two women. Before moving on, make sure you remembered to keep the features for the woman on your right slightly smaller.
Work on the Faces
Draw the basic facial guidelines for each face. Begin with a vertical axis for each head. Check to see that these lines are parallel before doing the others. There is a slight curvature of the vertical axis of the woman on your left since her head is slightly tilted.
Use the guidelines to sketch the facial features of each woman. Use the reference photograph to try to match the unique characteristics of each feature. Carefully look at the hair of each woman and try to capture the directional flow and length.
At this point, you can use a kneaded eraser to remove the facial guidelines. Use your pencil to establish a few basic tones in the shaded areas. The reference photograph shows the light coming from our right, so the darker shaded areas will mostly be on the right side of the women (our left). Leave brighter areas white (like the blue arrow). Also take care to leave areas of reflected light (green arrow) along the border of selected shaded areas.
Use a tortillion to carefully blend the shaded areas. Start with dark and work to light. Pay attention to the photograph to see which light areas need a little tone. Blend smooth transitions between dark and light.
Add additional tones to the hair. Since the woman on your left has darker hair, be much more generous when applying graphite. Try to follow the directional flow of sections of hair when applying tones. Leave some areas lighter for highlights.
Blend the hair with your tortillion. Once again, keep consistent with the flow of the hair as your move the tortillion to blend areas. Pick out highlights of sections of hair when needed, and apply pencil strokes from dark areas into the highlights to represent visible strands of hair.
Complete the Torso and Legs
Add tones to the body of each woman. Use a range of values from dark to light, remembering the light source and where the shades need to be. Don’t forget the reflected light along the shaded sides.
In the same manner that you blended the facial tones with a tortillion, repeat by blending the tones of the body. Smooth out the tones for gradual transitions from dark to light. Be careful not to rub too much graphite in the areas that are supposed to stay lighter. Use the kneaded eraser to pick out highlights.
Finish the Arms
Draw in details for the arms and hands. Include subtle lines to indicate armpits, elbows, and fingers. Draw light lines along the biceps and forearms that will aid in the placement of shading.
Use the lines from the last step and the reference photograph to help you place tones along the right side of each arm (their right). Notice that even though these tones are to represent shading, they shouldn’t be too dark. Reserve the darkest shading for under the left armpit of each woman.
Smooth out tones one last time with a tortillion. Soften the edges if they seem too harsh. Maintain a light area along the middle of each arm and a reflected light along the edges so that the arms keep a cylindrical appearance.
Take a final look at your drawing. Look for any tweaks you want to make: darker shadows, picking out lighter areas, better defining areas for contrast, etc.
That essentially completes this tutorial! When I originally set out to do this, I planned on adding only a little shading to change things up a bit. As I got going, I decided to add more. However, the level of detail you desire is up to you. If you wish, don’t stop where I did. You can continue to layer in more tones as often as you want. The more you do, the more realistic your drawing can become!