Wooden Art Mannequins
Figurines for Sketching and Drawing the Human Form
Hi and welcome to Bootkidz, a small design company based in London - thanks for visiting. This page has links to artist manikins used for drawing and sketching the human form.
A9 Rig (3D Printed Mannequin + Parts)
Digital Double - an American company has created a new 3D printed art mannequin product available for you to assemble. See their website (digitaldouble.net) that sells the 3D printed artist mannequin. Read more about the 'Armature Nine' mannequin at Kickstarter.com.
Where can I buy art mannequins?
We keep this page constantly updated with links to artist mannequins. We're based in London so many links are to local London art shops and the links point to their artist mannequins. Some links are to shops based in the USA. See the links below.
Drawing from a Mannequin
Inexpensive artists tools
Art mannequins are inexpensive artistic devices made in wood or plastic - used by artists to create poses for sketching, illustration, and more sophisticated pieces of art such as marble statues. Mannequins depict a snapshot of a pose or a motion of a person at a point in time.
Difficult to draw
The human figure or human form is one of the most difficult and important things an artist must learn to draw taking many years to perfect and master. Ultimately the artist must be able to draw the human figure without having to reference a physical mannequin.
Drawing people is a skill
Once an artist understands what poses are possible he or she can draw people in their daily lives easier and art becomes more enjoyable. An appreciation for the difficulty of drawing the human form can only really be gained by picking up a pencil and paper and drawing people in their daily activities. The multitude of poses and stances people can take is unlimited. The skill and talent required to draw people is appreciated by all artists.
The visual processing centres in the brain have an innate ability to detect human shapes and can easily spot flaws in poses and positioning of limbs within a painting. Our hunter instincts and survival abilities allow us to see human shapes hidden in amongst complex scenery.
It takes an artist many years of practise to perfect their human drawing ability. Face, hands and feet are the most difficult to draw. People express themselves through body-language through their face, hands, and surprisingly even their feet. Posturing is taught to ballerinas and dancers to help them understand how to express themselves to their audiences through different parts of their bodies. One consideration of dance and ballet is that these are ways for us to express ourselves artistically through body positioning.
Easy to represent
The limbs, head, and torso are generally easy to represent as there are fewer joints and a lower range of motion associated with these parts of the body. It is interesting that we can sense when the position of an arm or even a finger has been drawn only slightly incorrectly. As people grow older their range of motion is reduced. Old people have less flexibility in their joints than young people, whereas babies are free to virtually position their limbs in any position.
Special hand mannequins can be used to visualize the position of fingers once the basic shapes have been achieved. Drawing hands is one of the most important skills an artist must learn.
Animators study the human skeleton and muscle system to allow them to draw human-like creatures in their keyframes. They design skeletons and imagine how skin and sinew might look placed over this framework. Cartoon characters are designed by first considering what the skeleton might look like. A rough skeleton showing the bones of the head, body, arms and legs is sketched by the cartoonist and a body is placed over the bones to help imagine what kind of different poses the character might take.
Books on human balance and posing and art classes can help the artist perfect their drawing ability. Photography magazines and books on the human skeletal system are useful for beginners. It is recommended you study these types of books, but the most important thing you can do is practise drawing in a sketch book. Sit on a bench and draw people as they walk-by.
Getting balance right is difficult. Use a camera to take photos of active people. Then study the balance of the human body. Use an art mannequin to create different poses based on photographs. Make small alterations in these poses to see what different positions look realistic. Proficiency is only gained through practise.
Take a look at this popular website called Pose Maniacs that has a flash based viewer that shows the human body in different poses.
More sophisticated mannequins are used by 3D software to directly drive the joints of a 3D model within rendering software (3D Studio MAX, Blender). Joint actuators drive the position of virtual-joints in the 3D model within the software.
Smaller mannequins or stick figures are also used by stage designers and choreographers to design theatrical plays to visualize the position of actors and actresses on a small model of the stage.
Animation is the study of movement and an animator learns human-form and human-movement by sketching people in their daily lives. Talented animators use a variety of mediums including computer animation software (Flash, Flame, Character studio) and pencil and paper to design the characters we see in cartoons and movies. Rough draft story boards depicting characters within scenes are drawn by chief animators to describe to their animation teams what work will be done.
Mannequins with built-in electronics for example remotely controlled limbs and facial features. Sophisticated servo-motors and remote controls used puppeteers move the limbs of the mannequins to create the illusion that the creature is alive. This is the field of animatronics the modern day equivalent of puppetry.
There are different types of mannequins including: child mannequins, female and male mannequins. Artists also use animal "mannequins" although strictly speaking the word mannequin should only be used for the human form.
Whether you are a professional artist or just keen to learn to draw mannequins are important tools to help you learn to draw people.