Body Proportions – Wooden Mannequin Drawings – 2 Lessons

body proportions mannequin Charcoal DrawingLesson #1: Middle School Art: Body Proportions – Wooden Mannequin Sketchbook Drawings

Students sketching mannequin - Sketchbook Assignment

My sixth grade art class has been busy over these past weeks with Drawing Observation Skills. We have been training our eyes to look at angles of lines, line curvature and now we are working on proportions. Specifically, we are learning about human body proportions. This lesson can be adapted to upper elementary and to high school art classes.

IO: Students will learn about human body proportions. Students will learn to use proportion and drawing observations skills to accurately draw a wooden mannequin. They will create form and contrast by rendering the final drawing with a full range of value.


  1. Define Proportions: Proportion is the principle of art that is concerned with the size relationships of one part to another.
  2. Body measurements based on HEAD height: (show photo & demonstrate)
    • The average adult is seven and a half heads tall.
    • The tops of the hips are four heads high.
    • The pelvic region is about one head high.
    • Elbow to fingertip is about two head lengths.
    • Wrist to fingertip is one head length.
  3. Why is important to understand apply correct proportions?
  4. Why is important to understand apply correct proportions?
  5. Video: Body Proportions – Drawing Techniques
  6. Teacher Guided Demo of Correct body proportions
    1. Activity: Students draw along in sketchbook
    2. Teacher Guided Demo of Mannequin Drawing
      1. Activity: Students draw along in sketchbook

Activity-Day 1: Timed Mannequin Sketches Sketchbook Assignment

Students will draw 2-3 sketches of mannequins in different positions in their sketchbook. (Timed drawings- 12 min each)

Materials Needed: Human ARTIST MODEL – 12″ inch – Drawing Mannequin Body , drawing pencils, student sketchbooks


  1. Open your sketchbook to the next clean page.
  2. Write “Timed Mannequin Sketches” at the top of the page (you will use 3 pages).
  3. At each table there are 4 mannequins in posed in different  positions (Do NOT TOUCH THE MANNEQUINS!). You will have 13 minutes to each mannequin.  Draw the 3 different mannequins on 3 separate pages.
  4. The teacher will tell you when to rotate clockwise to another seat at your table, so you draw a new mannequin. You will NOT need to change tables.
  5. If you finish the drawing before the 13 minutes is up, then add shading to the drawing.
  6. If there is time at the end of the class, add some shading to the drawings.

Lesson #2: Mannequin White Charcoal Drawing Project

White charcoal on black paper

White charcoal on black paper

Pre Instruction: Charcoal Drawing Techniques Lesson

charcoal-drawing-techniques-lesson-plan-worksheet-Project Objective: Create an interesting composition using a mannequin in three different positions (on the same drawing). Create the illusion of form by using white and black charcoal pencils to render the drawing with FULL shading (should see a full value scale on each part!).


  1. Position the mannequin in an interesting and appropriate pose.
  2. On a sheet of special black paper, use a pencil to draw exactly what you see, outline only. Show most of his body, but small parts may go off the edges (we should see at least ¾ of his body!) Leave room for 2 more drawings.
  3. Repeat #1 & 2 two more times so you have 3 different mannequin drawings on the same paper.
  4. After all three drawings are complete, use charcoal & white charcoal pencils to render the mannequins with FULL shading-showing full value ranges from light to dark.
  5. Spray lightly with hair spray.

Evaluation: Test Grade Visual- did students accurately draw the mannequins? did they create the illusion of form through the use of full shading? How did they use the space on the paper?

Materials Needed: Human ARTIST MODEL – 12″ inch – Drawing Mannequin BodyWooden mannequins, Charcoal Techniques Worksheet, white & black charcoal pencils, 12×18″ black paper, spot lights optional

Teacher Drawing

Teacher Drawing

Teacher Example

Teacher Example

Teacher Example

Teacher Example

If you choose to use ANY part of this blog (pictures or written), please link back to Create Art with ME!

Additional Observational Drawing Skills Lessons:

PVC Pipe Charcoal Drawing

Small to BIG – Enlargement Drawing

Chex Mix Cross-Hatching Drawing – Value Through Line

Sliced and Diced Form Drawing

Body Proportions – Wooden Mannequin Drawings – 2 Lessons

LEGO Colored Pencil Drawing

Sea Shell Pastel Drawing

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