Day 27: Figuary review & summary!

We are close to the end of Figuary 2019. I really hope you have enjoyed it. I have absolutely loved it. Today I wanted to look back over the things we covered. So in week 1 here’s what we did.

Week 1 – the Story of the Pose

Each figure and each pose presents your eyes with a ton of information. A camera can catch it all, but your drawing, especially in time limited poses, cannot. But that’s a good thing, because it’s the selection and emphasis of the most important information that lets you tell a captivating story about the pose. 

We looked at some lines and shapes in the torso that are commonly really useful for telling that story. 

These are often created by the big mass of the ribcage and the mass of the pelvis, and the relationship between them and how that affects the squashy bit in the middle. There might be a big, important curve to capture, or maybe a sharp angle. 

Often the torso is rotated relative to our eyes a bit, or is twisting. Comparing the distance from the centre line to each side will help you make sure you don’t reduce that rotation or twist. 

It’s very common to accidentally reduce those important curves and angles, or to get distracted by irrelevant details. Focus on and emphasise the important curves and angles. The skill to build is to identify what matters and bring it out, discarding irrelevant details. 

Week 2 – Tonal Shapes and Their Edges

In week 2 we looked at how useful the edges of the tonal shapes are. Light hits the figure and at some point the curving planes of the figure turn away from that light and create shade. 

The lines created tell you about the volume of the figure, just like these lines on the cube tell you this is a 3D cube, not some weird flat diamond shape. 

Try to massively simplify the tonal shapes – look for the overall shapes that explain the big important volumes, not too many little details.


Rather than trying to draw the outlines and the fill with shade, think of these edges as equally important to the outline and build them up together. Capture those edges with a softer or thinner edge and you only need to fill with shade if you have time. 

If shading, we think hatching is really effective for beginners because it help you develop your dexterity. It’s hard and takes time, but it’s worth it. 

Week 3 – Making expressive marks

We looked at making marks by using our whole arm, moving from the shoulder, rather than just using our wrist and fingers. We also looked at how that can be combined with the overhand grip. 

This way we can produce nice big smooth lines, the kind that will be great for capturing the gesture.

Drawing bigger and not flat on a table but at an angle helps make this easier. 

This is going to be unfamiliar for a lot of people, so at first it’ll feel awkward and the results won’t be great. But you’ve got to persevere until it feels natural, just like we had to get used to writing when we were kids. 

We also looked at the importance of slowing down, selecting and committing to only the important lines. 

Week 4 – short poses and extra tips

In week 4, we looked at what can be achieved in just a 60 second pose. That included the importance of shifting from an outcome focus – where you worry about how the drawings look – to a process focus where you worry about how much you’re learning from the process.

We looked at why it’s useful to warm up before drawing figures, and some ways to do that.

We looked at useful things to check to get things in the right place – negative space and alignment. Again it’s about keeping it simple, and just using things that are going to help you tell the story well.

Phew! We went through a lot guys! Hopefully you started to be able to implement some of this, but it was probably too much to really get the hang of all of it in just 28 days. This month wasn’t about mastering skills, it was about building habits so that you can practise regularly and effectively for the longer term and that will lead to real mastery and drawings that you love. Tomorrow, we’ll do some final feedback on drawings, but also talk a little bit about what to work on after Figuary, so you can keep those habits going. We are working hard now on the life of drawing programme, which I think is going to be amazing.

Enrollment will be in March and the program will start in April. It’s 10 weeks of fun, doable practice with teaching integrated into it, designed to turn your knowledge into real skill and better figure drawings. 

It’s a chance for us to work more closely together for those of you that want to take your skills further. Go to to find out more. Enjoy your practice session and I’ll see you here tomorrow. 

Day 27 Croquis Cafe practice session

Day 28 Feedback video


How to Draw Any Pose from IMAGINATION During your journey of learning to draw the figure, you’ll probably have pivotal, memorable moments. Maybe it’s a drawing that felt like a turning