Drawing a Female Back Torso in Pencil

See a drawing demo which explains the anatomy of the back while also showing pencil drawing techniques to achieve a convincing sense of realistic form. Anatomical landmarks shown include the scapula, pelvis, centerline, the Posterior Superior Iliac Spine, and more. Techniques for creating tone are shown using graphite powder, a white plastic eraser, a kneaded eraser, and a graphite stick on charcoal paper. Demo led by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

Video Walkthrough

  • Curvature of the centerline on the back.
  • Don’t just outline the figure, draw inside and through the figure.
  • Look for areas of compression in the muscles and fat.
  • Block in a large “rug of tone” with the graphite stick
  • The difference between charcoal powder and graphite powder.
  • Graphite powder is incredibly messy.
  • Smudge with your fingers and also your palm.
  • Graphite powder allows for soft smooth areas and rougher marks.
  • Reductive drawing technique: removing highlights with your eraser.
  • White plastic eraser is great for very bold areas of highlights.
  • Crisp edges vs. soft areas.
  • There is a back and forth between adding and subtracting.
  • Look for the reflected light in the figure.
  • The back is a very subtle form, it’s challenging to draw for that reason.
  • Look for where the skin stretches in the torso.
  • Signs that you are almost finished with the drawing.

Art Supplies

Reference Photo

Bones mentioned

  • Scapula
  • Pelvis
  • PSIS (Posterior Superior Iliac Spine)

Muscles & Landmarks mentioned

  • Centerline
  • Deltoid
  • Trapezius
Torso Reference, Back #1

As a free educational source, Art Prof uses Amazon affiliate links (found in this page) to help pay the bills. This means, Art Prof earns from qualifying purchases.