This week is going to be a little different. It’s going to be dedicated to all of the children, young people and “young at heart” people who love to draw superheroes! Here’s how to do it in 8 simple steps…
You will need…
- sheet of paper,
- picture of a superhero or heroine,
- black pen
- colouring pencils or pens
(I have drawn my hero digitally on my Android tablet so that my sketches can be seen clearly but it’s simpler to do on paper with a pencil and pen.)
Step 1 – Draw a stickman
Using pencil make a stick figure in a heroic pose. Draw very lightly so that you can erase your lines later. Make his or her body roughly 8 head sizes tall from the heels to the top of the head, like this…
Step 2 – Make a rough sketch
Next, think of each body part as a simple shape. So, for instance, the upper arm might just be a cylinder. My hero’s cloak is just a wavy line and his feet are just quadrilaterals (four sided shapes). Then use these simple shapes to make a rough sketch of your figure over the top of your stick man. Again draw lightly. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look quite right yet – we’re just getting started.
Step 3 – Erase the stickman
Next rub out the stickman part of your drawing so you can see your rough sketch clearly.
This is my rough sketch (below). On the head I’ve just drawn 2 curved lines across his face and one down the middle. This helps me see roughly where to put my eyes and nose. Then I drew another small line across below that to show where his mouth will be. I had a go at drawing his hands at this stage but the fingers look a bit like banana fingers! That’s OK we’ll fix it later…
Step 4 – Carefully draw the outline a bit better while looking at your picture of a hero or heroine.
Now it’s time to make a more careful drawing. It’s a good idea to look at some pictures of superheroes so that you can see more details of their shape. Try to find one in a standing pose. Again draw quite lightly at first.
If you can’t find any, here are four I found on the internet – Spiderman and Thor from Marvel and Superman and Batman from DC…
(Image credit Marvel and DC respectively)
I looked at several reference pictures to draw my hero. I tried to draw the lines cleanly and to show the general shape of his muscles. I also began to make up an outfit for him and drew in his face and hair.
Step 5 – Ink the outline and then erase the rough sketch
The next job is to ink the careful drawing you just made using a black ink pen. Then leave it alone for a good ten minutes to make sure the ink is dry. Once it’s ready then you can erase your rough sketch. Here is my more careful drawing with the rough sketch removed…
Step 6 – Contour and Shadow Lines
Your next job is to add some contour and shadow lines to give your picture the feeling of being 3D. Contour lines are little light lines which show the viewer the shape of a 3D object in a normal flat drawing. Shadow lines are little lines added to show the areas of a picture which are a bit darker.
This stage takes a long time because you have to draw so many little lines so I usually listen to some TV or an audiobook while I do this bit.
Here’s the next stage drawn…
You can see the lines I drew more clearly in this close up. I imagined that the light was coming from in front of him and slightly above him. So the sides and underneath of each part of his body shape have shadow lines and contour lines…
I tried to use each line to show my viewer the shape of my hero.
Step 7 – Colour
After the contour and shadow lines are done the next stage is to colour your hero. I chose blue and yellow because they are my favourite colours…
For each shadow area I chose a darker version of the same colour I used for the rest of the shape. So the main colour of his suit is a bright blue, so I used a darker blue to colour in the shadows on his suit. His boots are yellow so I used a light brown colour for the shadow areas. This also helps the viewer to see the shape of your hero or heroine.
Step 8 – Shadow and Background
Your last job is to give your hero or heroine a shadow so they don’t look like they’re floating in the air! (Of course if your hero or heroine flies then you might not need to do this bit!). Then you might want to draw in background. I started out just giving my hero a shadow to ground him because I didn’t have time to draw a full background, but then I found an old digital sketch I’d done previously of a futuristic city skyline, so I put him into that picture. Here’s the finished hero with just a shadow…
And here he is in a futuristic city. I made him face the other way to fit into the background better and gave him a name “Captain Quark“. (Quarks are the most elemetary particles we know of in the universe. His superpower is to be able to manipulate matter to make and repair things.)
If you know anyone who would like to have a go at drawing this picture, I’ve made a free print out of the main stages I went though.
Click to go to the free download.
It should print out correctly onto A4 paper in portrait mode. It is licensed for Non Commercial Use under a Creative Commons License so you can use it, share it, make a paper aeroplane out of it! (It’s also free to use in schools.)
I hope you enjoy it! I would love to see any hero’s any of you have drawn using this basic plan!