OH WOW I’ll be glad to answer this for you!! Also, getting into figure drawing at 16 is really good, since the earlier you start, the better.
AWW NO don’t get depressed!! D: Everyone starts out with unsatisfactory figure drawings in the beginning, so don’t feel down about it. Just look at this comparison of mine from my first figure drawing to my semi-recent one:
(I cringe at my old work eeuugh)
WELL FIRST THING is to keep figure drawing!! I know, lame answer, but it’s crucial to sharpening your figure drawing eye. Practice figure drawings as often as you can; find open figure drawing sessions and go to them! You naturally improve your observation skills as your eye becomes more in tune with observing the overall figure. Take the opportunity as early as you can because figure drawings are the most important foundations in starting character designing.
Second, do some quick 30 second to 1 min gesture drawing exercises. This doesn’t mean drawing a fully fleshed out figure, but concentrating on the gestureof the figure. Gesture follows a line of action. The line of action is important to bring out the gesture, or entire movement, of the figure, bringing more life into them. Here are mine outlined in red…
You should always draw the line of action in one swoop in 2 seconds flat. Actually, 1 second.
Keep your eye on the model as you draw and avoid staring at your paper (cause you pretty much start to draw things from memory which is NOT REALLY RECOMMENDED um because you got your model right there in front of you!). For the rest of the 29 or so seconds you’ve got, keep your eyes on the model and start swiping big strokes in places where you see lots of movement. Does that leg stick out to the left? Big swipe! Wow, that arm makes an interesting movement! BIG SWIPE. (And you should avoid using an eraser for these! You don’t have time to erase things, especially if you only have 30 seconds. Just go with the flow~)
These should sorta end up like stick figures or armature figures, but they’ll have a lot of movement and action in them that’s crucial in creating good figure drawing foundations.
For long poses, like 5 minutes to 15 minutes, the same gesture drawing essentials still apply. Line of action and overall movement of the figure, but be sure to make initial strokes very light so you have room to flesh out the figure more later. This should take about 1 minute. This is a great time to go back and fix strokes you may have mis-drawn previously.
The next part is a little tricky. Your next task in the next couple minutes is to start marking and mapping parts of your drawing where muscles and big body structures are located. This could use some basic anatomy study, but overall good observation plays a big part in identifying these body parts. These marks can vary from ovals, triangles, single strokes, or squares. But avoid those lollipop heads, they are part of the overall gesture too! But once you’ve got a general structure drawn out, don’t just start outlining around them, figure out how the muscles fold and bend over the bones. You may have to exaggerate just a little bit to get your hand to really emphasize these spots.
Although I do have shading in mine, the same understanding of muscle weight and movement still applies. Try and vary your line weight to emphasize any muscles or limbs that come out towards you or hold more weight.
I know there’s much more to be said, but I feel like these are the most important concepts that I’ve learned in figure drawing. I’ve bolded the more important tips for tl;dr. SORRY IT’S SO LONG!! D:
(psst also consider picking up “Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth” by Andrew Loomis. It’s basically the figure drawing foundations bible for a lot of artists and it’s a very great tool for learning figure drawing!!)
Good luck, fellow anon, and I hope you find my advice helpful in some way!!