How to Easily Draw Legs for Beginners

Let’s learn how to draw legs!

The proportions, shape, and range of the legs are all important to know when drawing them. And knowing the anatomy of a leg will help you a lot as well.

In this tutorial on how to draw legs, I am going to break down the basic anatomy and proportions of the legs while keeping the lesson straightforward and easy to learn.

I won’t overcomplicate it for you, or try to teach you every single strand of muscle in the legs.

But,

I will teach you how to get the proportions of a leg right every single time.

The Basics of How to Draw Legs

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to draw legs for an average size woman.

I will also give examples of how to draw male legs, as well as different body shapes.

Let’s get started!

How to Draw Legs for Beginners

When we are learning how to draw legs, we need to have a good starting point.

That starting point is the pelvis.

Step One: Pelvis

Tools: Pencil (if you are drawing digitally, use your first layer for steps 1-4 of this outline)

Let’s begin with our base for the legs; the pelvis area.

Start by drawing a circle or soft square.

Step one: Base for drawing legs

Inside of the circle or square, draw two horizontal ovals.

These will be the base for the hip joints where the legs will attach.

Step Two: Upper Leg

From here we can draw vertical parallel lines that will become the center of the thighs.

Next, draw a small circle at the end of each line. These will be the knee joints.

Drawing the thighs

 

Step Three: Lower Leg

After drawing the knee joints, we will then draw two more lines.

These lines will run down the calves all the way down to the heels.

At the end of each of these lines, we will draw a small circle to represent the ankle joint.

After drawing the ankle joint, I typically also draw the heel of the foot.

 

This will look very rough, but rough is how every great picture starts out!

Proportions & Structure of the Legs

Now that we have our outline for the legs, let’s look at proportion:

The most important thing for you to learn as a beginner learning to draw legs will be the proportions of the legs.

If you can get this technique down, the rest will become easier!

The legs are exactly half the length of an adult person’s body.

When measuring the legs, drawing a horizontal line at the pubic bone and another just below the feet will be a good measure to go by.

Proportions

Let’s start with our first line of measurement:

Step Four: Measure Proportions

Draw a horizontal line at the pubic bone,

Then draw another line at the feet below the heels.

Next, draw a third line at the center where the knees are.

When using this measurement technique, the upper leg should be slightly shorter than the lower leg.

Proportions of the legs

This will get easier with repetition!

When you first start out learning how to draw the human body and proper proportions, you may need to erase a lot, and remeasure often.

But as you get more familiar with the anatomy and structure of the body, this technique will become second nature.

Don’t give up!

In this next section, we are going to learn how to draw thighs.

How to Draw Thighs

Let’s draw the thighs next.

The thighs have muscles called Quads that start at the hip and go all the way down to the knee.

Step Five: Draw the Thighs

Draw the thighs rounding down just below the knee.

Remember, the thigh muscles make the top of the leg look rounded.

This applies to people of all ages and genders, roundness will just depend on body weight and shape.

How to Draw Thighs

This is the basic shape of the upper leg, and this technique will work well for most drawings.

If you want to learn more advanced techniques for drawing legs, look for the next lesson in my advanced tutorials section coming soon!

In that lesson, I will go over advanced techniques for drawing the musculature of the legs.

Drawing the Calves

The calves are the rounded muscles on the back of the lower leg.

This is one muscle group we will always trace out when drawing the legs and is important to have correct proportions.

For the feet, I have a full tutorial on how to draw feet that can help you with that part.

How to Draw Calves

Step Six: Draw the Calves

Draw large ovals just below the knee joints, toward the back of the leg.

This oval shape should reach the center, or just below the center, of the lower leg.

On both men and women, the calves are the widest part of the lower leg.

Draw the area between the calves and the ankles slimmer and more narrow than the calves.

Here are some basic examples of how to draw calves, and legs from the knee down.

Front, side, and back of the legs:

How to draw legs from the calves down

How to Draw Knees

After we finish drawing the legs, you want to detail the knees a bit.

This is going to be the bare-bones basics of how to draw knees for beginners, I will be writing a more in-depth tutorial about how to draw knees shortly, and that will be in the Advanced Tutorials section.

How to Draw Knees

The knee cap is basically a small disc-shaped bone, and that is what we will be outlining when drawing knees.

Step Seven: Draw the Knees

Just beneath the thigh muscles, draw a small rounded line on the inside of the knee, close to the outer leg.

Draw a second one opposite of the first if the character’s legs are straight on. (Example: the first image above)

 

How to Draw Knees

This is a section that seems simple, but you will progress If you practice.

Differences between male and female legs

In the tutorial above, I taught you the basics of drawing legs.

The example I used was an average build female, but men and women’s legs aren’t the same.

Men and women are shaped differently, and to accurately portray that, we need to know both male and female human structural anatomy.

Let’s go over leg structure from the hips down:

Male and Female Legs

Look at the image above: the first is a very fit man, the second is a lean woman. Regardless of weight, women have more curves while men are typically more angular.

Women’s waist’s start higher up and are slimmer than men’s. 

Men’s hips are square-shaped, and more straight up and down than women’s.

Let’s look at an example:

For men, from the top of the hips to the bottom of the glutes or mid-thigh, we can draw a square box shape.

For women, we can use an upside-down heart shape to outline the hips.

Men's hips and women's hips

This is true for any man or woman of any age after puberty, regardless of height or weight.

It is just a representation of how the hip and pubic bones are formed in the different sexes.

Even though the woman above is very slim, her hips are still heart-shaped. And even though the man had defined glute muscles, his hips are still square.

This example also works on plus-size characters.

plus size characters

How to Draw Female Legs

No one is the same exact shape or size, and that goes for both men and women.

For example, these pictures below are both women, and while they have the same anatomic structure, they’re very different.

In this section, I will go over the specifics of drawing female legs.

Drawing the female leg

When drawing women, starting with a circle or oval shape for the pelvis area is preferable.

Female legs are very round, whether a woman is lean and lanky, overweight, or muscular and fit.

This is because women have extra fat storage in the legs and hips, giving them a rounded appearance.

When drawing a woman, drawing a triangle or upside-down heart shape can help us find where the waist hips should be.

When drawing female hips, it’s important to use this shape.

Drawing straight up and down hips and legs will make female characters look very whimsical and cartoonish, or even more masculine.

Even in cartoons, it is good to make your characters anatomically correct.

How to Draw Male Legs

When drawing men’s hips, starting with a square or rectangle for the pelvis area is good.

While men’s thighs are still rounded, their torso and hips are more square and straight angled than our hips as ladies.

How to Draw Males legs front and from behind

Men typically have more visible musculature, whether they are lean or more built, so to speak.

Their calves and thigh muscles are especially more visible than women’s.

Men naturally store less body fat than women, meaning that any muscle at all will be more visible.

The most important takeaway when drawing male legs is to make their hips square, and musculature noticeable.

How to Draw Legs from Behind

Let’s look at how to draw legs from behind.

The human leg has the most muscle of any part of the body.

The glutes specifically are our largest muscle group! They are also usually one of the widest parts of the body.

In this section, we are going to cover how to draw legs from behind, drawing the glutes, and drawing the back of the legs.

How to Draw Male and Female Legs

Drawing the Glutes

Just like the pelvis is the first thing we draw with the front of the legs, the glutes will be the first thing we draw when drawing the back of the legs.

Let’s look at an example for the shape of the glutes.

For beginners, we won’t go over the muscles in the glutes, rather just the shape.

How to draw a butt, Glutes

The glutes can be drawn as two overlapping circles.

Depending on what way the hips are facing will determine how we outline them.

Below I have an example of a male character and a female character from behind.

In these images, I have drawn the curvature lines so that you can see the full shape.

How to Draw Butts, How to Draw Glutes

Drawing the back of the thighs

The back of the thighs are typically less curved than the front of the thigh, and appear to be straight up and down comparatively.

Here is an example of the curvature of the legs:

How to Draw Legs from Behind

Drawing the back of the calves

When drawing the lower half of the back of the legs, start with outlining the calves and heels.

From here, outline the calf muscles, and the rest of the lower leg.

How to draw the back of the calves

 

If you have any questions about this tutorial on how to draw legs, leave them down in the comment section.

I will try to answer all comments as quickly as possible.

Thank you for working through this lesson on how to draw legs!

You can find related tutorials in the Beginner Tutorials section located at the top of the page.

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Hi there! My name is Leah, and I am going to help you learn how to draw, and take your pictures to the next level. I have college-level experience with form drawing and multiple art classes under my belt that have helped me create these tutorials. Let's learn how to draw together!

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The following two tabs change content below.
Hi there! My name is Leah, and I am going to help you learn how to draw, and take your pictures to the next level. I have college-level experience with form drawing and multiple art classes under my belt that have helped me create these tutorials. Let's learn how to draw together!

Latest posts by Leah (see all)