Drawing Personalities: 8 Practical Tips & Techniques
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Observe and analyze characteristics
  2. Sketch dynamic poses
  3. Use distinctive facial expressions
  4. Incorporate symbols and motifs
  5. Utilize color and shading
  6. Experiment with styles
  7. Refer to real-life models
  8. Continuously revise your drawing

Imagine you're sitting with a pencil in hand, a blank canvas in front of you, and a wild imagination at play. You want to translate someone's personality into a drawing, but where do you start? If you're looking to master the art of personality drawing, you're in the right place. This blog is here to guide you through the process with eight practical tips and techniques.

Observe and Analyze Characteristics

The first step in personality drawing is to observe and analyze the person's characteristics. This is the part where you turn into a detective of sorts, taking note of their mannerisms, body language, and quirks. It's these fine details that can help you capture their essence in your artwork.

For example, let's say you're drawing your always-energetic friend, Lisa. You might want to focus on her bright smile, her animated hand gestures, or the way she crinkles her nose when she laughs. When you start your drawing, begin with these distinctive features — they're unique to Lisa and will add authenticity to your artwork.

Remember, observation isn't just about what you see in a person. It's also about feeling their energy and translating that into your drawing. So, if Lisa is a bundle of joy, make sure your drawing reflects that. Use bold strokes, make her eyes sparkle or give her a dynamic pose. The goal here is to make your personality drawing a reflection of the person, not just a portrait.

So, take your time, observe, analyze, and then let your pencil do the talking. After all, personality drawing isn't a race — it's a journey of discovery.

Sketch Dynamic Poses

Once you've got the essence of the personality down, it's time to bring it to life with dynamic poses. The pose you choose for your drawing can speak volumes about the person's character. So, let's take a moment to discuss this vital aspect of personality drawing.

Consider this: Lisa, from our previous example, is an energetic and lively person. Would it make sense to draw her sitting quietly in a chair? Probably not. Instead, consider a pose that conveys her vibrant personality — perhaps she's in the middle of a dance move, or maybe she's leaping into the air with joy.

Sketching dynamic poses can be a challenge, but it's a fantastic way to inject some life into your personality drawing. If you're not sure where to start, think about how the person you're drawing usually carries themselves. Are they always on the move, or do they prefer quiet moments of contemplation? Use these observations to guide your decision on the pose.

And remember, it's absolutely fine to use references while sketching poses. Comics, magazines, or even online platforms like Pinterest can offer a wealth of inspiration. The goal here isn't to copy, but to learn and adapt these poses to suit your unique personality drawing.

So, get your sketchpad out, free up your mind, and let's bring some dynamism into your drawing. Because, in the end, it's these little details that make your personality drawing truly stand out.

Use Distinctive Facial Expressions

Now let's talk about facial expressions. There's a saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and when it comes to personality drawing, nothing could be truer. A person's face, especially their eyes and mouth, can reveal a lot about their personality and emotions.

Let's return to our friend Lisa. We know she's lively and energetic, but how would that reflect on her face? Maybe she has wide, sparkling eyes that seem to dance with excitement. Perhaps her mouth is always upturned in a bright, infectious smile. Such elements can play a huge role in making your personality drawing more believable and relatable.

Keep in mind that facial expressions should be consistent with the overall personality and the pose. If Lisa is performing a dance move, her face would probably reflect the joy and exhilaration of the moment. On the other hand, a calm and introspective person might have a softer, more thoughtful expression.

Here's a friendly tip for you: don't be afraid to exaggerate. In the realm of personality drawing, a little bit of exaggeration can go a long way in bringing out the essence of the character. So, give it a try and see how it transforms your artwork.

In the end, distinctive facial expressions can make your personality drawing come alive. They offer a glimpse into the person's soul and make your artwork more engaging and memorable. Happy drawing!

Incorporate Symbols and Motifs

Imagine this: you're working on a personality drawing of your friend Mark. He's a fantastic guitarist, always strumming along to the rhythm of his own life. How would you incorporate this important aspect of his personality into your drawing? The answer lies in symbols and motifs.

Symbols and motifs are visual elements that can represent certain ideas or themes. In Mark's case, the guitar could be a powerful symbol - it represents his passion, his talent, and his way of life. By having it in your drawing, not only do you capture his likeness but also his essence.

Motifs can be more subtle, recurring elements that add depth to your personality drawing. For instance, musical notes scattered around Mark or strings subtly incorporated in the background, give a nod to his love for music. These little details make your drawing unique and tell a story that goes beyond what meets the eye.

Remember, symbols and motifs need not be complicated. They can be simple and still carry a lot of meaning. A pair of running shoes for an athlete, a paintbrush for an artist, a book for a writer—the possibilities are endless. The key lies in observation and understanding, and in selecting symbols that truly reflect the person's personality.

So next time you're working on a personality drawing, think about the symbols and motifs that could help you depict the person's character. You might be surprised at how much depth and interest they can add to your artwork!

Utilize Color and Shading

Color and shading are the twin pillars of any drawing, but when you're creating a personality drawing, they become even more significant. They are your secret tools to translate someone's personality onto paper.

Consider this: Your sister, Lisa, is a vibrant, outgoing person who loves to be the center of attention. How would you bring her personality to life on paper? You'd probably reach for the brightest hues in your palette, right? A splash of bright red for her fiery spirit, a hint of sunny yellow for her optimism, and perhaps, a touch of royal blue to reflect her confidence.

Color is a language that speaks volumes. It can capture moods, express emotions, and tell stories. The key is to choose colors that mirror the person's personality. So, for someone calm and serene like your yoga instructor, you might lean towards cool blues and tranquil greens.

But color is only half the equation. Shading adds depth, texture, and dimension to your personality drawing. It can highlight features, enhance expressions, and even suggest personality traits. For example, a strong contrast between light and dark could imply a complex personality, while smooth, subtle shading might suggest a more laid-back character.

Remember, there's no right or wrong when it comes to color and shading. It's all about expressing your perception of the person's personality. So, don't be afraid to experiment and let your creative juices flow. After all, that's what personality drawing is all about!

Experiment with Styles

When it comes to personality drawing, the style you choose can make all the difference. It's like choosing the perfect outfit for an event. The style you pick should not only match the occasion, but also reflect the person's personality.

Imagine you're drawing your friend Mark, who is a skateboarder and a fan of street art. You might choose a graffiti-inspired style, with bold lines and vibrant colors. This style would not only reflect Mark's love for street culture but also his adventurous and rebellious spirit.

On the other hand, if you're drawing your grandmother who loves to knit and tell stories of the old days, a vintage, hand-drawn style might be a better fit. Gentle lines, soft colors, and intricate details can capture her warmth and nostalgic charm.

Experimenting with different styles can be a lot of fun, and it's also a great way to improve your drawing skills. You might discover a new style that you love, or find a unique way to combine different styles.

So, don't limit yourself to one style. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Who knows, you might just find the perfect style for your next personality drawing!

Refer to Real-life Models

When diving into the world of personality drawing, one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal is a good real-life reference. This could be a person you know, a celebrity, or even a passerby who catches your eye.

Think of yourself as a detective. Your mission? To gather as much information as you can about the person's personality. Look for specific traits and habits that make them unique. Does your friend Sam always twirl his hair when he's nervous? Does your teacher Ms. Johnson always wear a particular brooch? These tiny details can add a lot of depth to your drawings and make them feel more real.

Of course, you don't have to copy everything exactly as you see it. Feel free to exaggerate features or play with proportions to emphasize certain aspects of the person's personality. After all, personality drawing is all about capturing the essence of a person, not creating a photo-realistic portrait.

So next time you're people-watching at a park or a cafe, don't just sit there. Grab your sketchbook and get drawing! Before you know it, you'll be seeing the world—and the people in it—in a whole new light.

Continuously Revise Your Drawing

Now let's face it. The first draft of your personality drawing might not look exactly like you envisioned it. And that's perfectly normal! The beauty of art is that it's never truly finished—you can always add, subtract, or change elements until you're satisfied with the end result.

Think of your pencil as a magic wand that can transform your drawing in ways you never thought possible. Notice an eye that's a smidge too big? A quick flick of your wrist, and it's right as rain. Feel like the nose doesn't quite capture the person's snarky personality? No problem! A couple of strokes here and there, and voila! You have a nose that practically screams 'sarcastic.'

Revise, revise, revise. That's the name of the game in personality drawing. It's through this iterative process that your drawing will truly come to life, brimming with the unique quirks and traits that make up a person's personality. So don't be shy—grab your pencil and dive right in!

Remember, it's okay to make mistakes. They're not setbacks, but stepping stones towards your masterpiece. So keep going, and before you know it, you'll have a personality drawing that's as vibrant and unique as the person it depicts.

If you enjoyed the "Drawing Personalities: 8 Practical Tips & Techniques" blog post and want to learn more about creating captivating characters, check out Rory Duke Stewart's workshop, 'Drawing Compelling Expressions in Character Design.' This workshop will give you the tools and techniques you need to bring your characters to life with captivating expressions and true-to-life personalities.