Art For Non-Artists: Painting People Quickly

When you are a non-artist, painting people seems very scary, but with a little effort you can create impressions of people fairly easily.

One easy method is to use the letters M and W as a starting point. I spent a little time practicing putting the letters together with a paint brush tool I produced the image below. After getting two MW combinations I liked, I added a couple blobs for their heads, extended the legs and added a stroke or two for arms.


It really works – they do look like a short, wide man and a tall, skinny man in a tux or or black suit in silhouette.

I used Wacom’s Bamboo Tablet and Artrage software. (There are some very useful tutorial links at the Artrage website to get you started using all the tools available.)

I do like to use Artrage to sketch because I can easily erase mistakes or lines I don’t like. However, pen and paper does teach you to stop overcorrecting so it’s good to practice with both.

After I created my MW men, I added a layer under them with the paint roller. You can see both layers in the top right hand corner of this screen shot.

Screenshot 2017-07-25 22.11.37

and here are the two layers merged together:




Here’s the image put through a Photoshop gradient:


Using the techniques above (and a little more time and study of proportions) I created a more complicated image for The Year of the Numen. As you can see, it’s not an artistic masterpiece, but it does look humanoid and I think it has some charm and mystery about it. It will do for an illustration of the story I want to tell.


To think it all started with a M and a W!

I do have to admit that it helps to have an artist’s manikin or to know a little bit about proportions. There are many resources out there to aid the beginning artist (or non-artist doodler) and I have one recommendation at the end of this post.

If you want to learn more about using blobs of color to create people, then I recommend this book below.  Many of the techniques discussed are for advanced artists, but for the beginner it’s worth spending time looking it over to get a sense of how we see color and images in paintings.

Who knows? If one plays with color long enough, even a non-artist can create people.

For more posts for Non-Artists, click here.

Keep doodling!

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