A poseable artist mannequin allows artists to get more confident and start small with drawing figures. These tools might seem simple, but they offer great learning opportunities for understanding the shapes of the human body. We will review some of the best mobile artist mannequins on the market today, in this article.
Drawing people is not the simplest of artistic pursuits, as most creators already know. Artist mannequins have similar joints and the same general shape as humans, helping you create more convincing art. These figures can show you how dynamic and mobile the torso really is and how the legs, arms, and head all respond as the torso moves.
In addition, these figures help artists get more familiar with foreshortened perspectives, when the head, legs, or arms extend into the viewer’s line of vision. A mannequin is also helpful for understanding the way light falls onto body planes, which provides the foundation for creating convincing contours.
A basic idea of how shading works is a must for understanding lighting in human figure drawing. Knowing this principle helps you create shadow and light effectively, creating a realistic three-dimensional effect. As you can see, a poseable human figure will help in many ways as you learn to draw people.
The Four Best Poseable Artist Mannequins
- Wooden Male Manikin by Yazycraft
- Unisex Alvin Wooden Human Mannequin
- ROXYDISPLAY™ mannequin
- Completely Poseable Male By OM®
Wooden Male Manikin by Yazycraft
Getting your measurements right when you’re new to drawing people is a must and this Yazycraft Male Manikin will help you on your way. This particular tool is perfect for beginner artists as getting the dimensions right when you are new at drawing people can be tough.
For best results, it helps to draw your mannequin in certain positions repeatedly until they come to you naturally. As stated in the title, this is a male mannequin, so artists needing a more basic and gender-unspecific figure should look elsewhere for their model.
As you practice, you’ll soon get the proportions of the human figure down, then gradually begin to add facial features, hair, clothes, and other defining qualities to your work. Not all artists can immediately tell how certain body parts are supposed to look in art. Something as simple as being able to see the way a leg should look as it bends is often the missing ingredient in their skill development.
The base is rounded, enabling the figure to stand up straight and this figure has more of a natural wood makeup to it than others do. When you bend it into different postures, it will stay put quite well. Once ordered, the figure comes quickly in the mail.
Keep in mind, though, that you can’t position it in every way imaginable. For instance, you can’t bend the knees further than a semi-sitting posture, so you can’t make it squat down. You also can’t bend the arms as far as a real human could bend, but these issues seem customary with these wooden mannequin figures.
Overall, it’s a good tool for learning basic figure drawing. Having a visual representation of postures and proportions can help you get past mental blocks in your art. This tool isn’t as flexible as some others, but as long as you are gentle with it, it will work.
Unisex Alvin Wooden Human Mannequin
If you would rather work with a unisex figure, this 12-inch, Alvin Wooden Mannequin is a good choice. Like the previous mannequin we just reviewed, this model is ideal for beginners who are not looking to spend a lot for their supplies just yet. It’s a basic mannequin with joints that work fine and hold different postures well, though the legs aren’t as flexible as more expensive figures.
Crafted from hardwood, the figure is accurately proportioned and can adjust to many different postures and body positions. It weighs 0.7 pounds and is clearly made from a fairly durable material. Of course, caring properly for the figure will help it last much longer, so try to keep it away from children.
The movements provided by the figure are clean and you can position it as you want to every time. Although it’s ideal for beginners, it also works for more advanced artists. It’s lightweight and portable so you can bring it with you to art class and back home without any hassle. If you do this, however, it’s recommended to have a case to keep it in to prevent it from breaking.
If your goal is to perfect your skills for angles and basic human form, getting better at drawing both genders, this will do the trick. The different parts can handle a fair amount of wear and tear and recover easily. It comes with springs, so some users may feel limited with the range of motion offered by the model. But the mannequin will give you an idea of possible movements, even if they don’t stay in place.
If you prefer to work with a realistically sized human figure for your figure drawing practice, this ROXYDISPLAY™ Mannequin is a quality choice to make.
It’s 6 feet tall with 10.5-inch feet, 38-inch hips, a 32-inch waist and 36-inch bust. It has copper arm joints that make its arms flexible and comes with a chrome steel base.
This flesh-tone colored mannequin does not include wigs or clothes, but does have calf support, foot and base support, and a mustache shade with makeup.
A product like this is useful for those who aren’t just using their artist mannequins to draw. This can be used to display Halloween costumes or sports uniforms, as well, for instance. It’s a male figure that has arms that slide right into the model’s shoulders. Since the shoulders may look similar from either side, double check that you’re placing the right arm on the right side and the left on the left.
As far as assembly goes, it’s simple overall but might be easier with a partner, depending on your strength and experience. Assembling the stand is quick and can be done in just a few minutes. The mannequin itself, however, is pretty heavy. The arms come with sturdy metal hinges, which add to the weight.
You will find that the hands are easy to put into place but that the legs might require more placement and turning. The legs must be turned only when they are correctly locked, otherwise they can snap. Compared with the rest of the figure, some may find that the hands are not as sturdy as other body parts. You should tighten the elbows completely on both the bicep and forearm to get the best results.
Users can expect to own this poseable mannequin for a long time. The model is strong enough to hold a football goalie’s game equipment, so this should give you an idea of its durability.
Completely Poseable Male By OM®
Another full-sized choice on our list, this Poseable Mannequin by OM® not only works as a model for human figure drawing, but can also be used to model costumes. Its measurements are 30 by 36 by 37 inches and it’s 6 feet tall. Users will appreciate that it can sit as well as stand.
Since this model is definitely quite a bit more expensive than small wooden mannequins, it’s best for more advanced artists who are looking to take their skills to the next level. If you also have an interest in costumes or sewing, it can double as a mannequin for displaying clothes.
The model arrives unassembled and without instructions, so you may have to do some research when putting it together. You may also want to consult a mechanically inclined friend for help with assembly. When putting together the neck and spring portion, hook the spring into the mannequin’s head, then twist it over the neck bar. This segment will tighten if you turn it clockwise.
Don’t articulate the hands too far as they come with a locking mechanism and this could cause them to fall off. When you are putting the mannequin together, don’t loosen the bolts more than you need to and keep them threaded for the best results. In addition, don’t tighten the joint screws too much.
When the model is standing, allow the torso to rest on the model’s hips instead of using the abdominal joint. This piece stays in place better when the mannequin is sitting down. This figure is great for holding poses, is quite tough overall, and results in very convincing, realistic positions.
Five Tips for Better Figure Drawing
When people start making art, drawing realistic people is usually one of their first goals. This isn’t surprising as the human face and form have been the subjects of a lot of historically iconic pieces throughout time.
It’s also fun to be able to sketch your friends. Whether you have high hopes of rising to the top of the art world, or you just want to do great portraits, there are some general guidelines that will help you along the way. Here are some tips to aid you in your figure and face drawing pursuits:
- Start in Simple Planes: When you are drawing a human head, start by simplifying and getting rid of details. There are many shapes on the head, but you can break these down into just a few simple, basic planes. As soon as you’ve gotten more comfortable with drawing human heads, you can start adding more and more detail to your figures.
- Stay Basic with Head Proportions: Every adult head out there looks distinct, but when you get in the habit of drawing basic proportions on all your human drawings, you’ll have a good foundation. This will help you have a base to start from each time you begin a new drawing, regardless of the details to come.
- General Rules for the Face: Although every face does look different, observe these general rules and you will have much better results with your portraits. From the chin to the crown of the head, you should position the eyes near the middle and they should have about one eye-width between them. Try to draw the ears between the nose and eyebrows. Midway between the chin and eyebrows is where the bottom of the figure’s nose should go. The mouth should then be between the chin and nose, 2/3 up the face from the figure’s chin.
- Drawing Skeletons: Many artists find it helpful to study the skeleton and skull and even draw them as a way to get familiar with the foundation of the human body. Once you know more about the framework under the skin and how it influences the body as a whole, you can create more realistic depictions of the body.
- Think in Simpler Shapes: The human figure should be thought of in regards to basic, fundamental forms. These are the shapes that affect both the outside shape and inside gesture of the human body. When you can learn to look at the human figure and see it in simpler shapes, you can get better at realistic foreshortening in your pieces.
When you are starting out with human figures, you can start drawing gestural frameworks first. This involves constructing the foundation by roughly sketching the figure’s gestures. A loose idea like this will go a long way toward capturing the figure’s essence in its entirety. These tips and guidelines will help you become a better figure-drawing artist.