Day 28 // How to Draw a Sleeping Pose

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We’ve made it to the very last lesson in People Skills! I’m sure at this point you’re a bit weary and ready to do the action you are about to be drawing…sleeping! This lesson is all about understanding the position of the body when it is lying down. You don’t need to stick to studying sleeping people; any lying-down pose will help you learn. When someone is sleeping the body is, obviously, very relaxed, but pay attention to what thearms and legs are doing, as well as the head!

If you wish skip ahead to the LEAPING poses section, go to 33:42 in the video. 

But be sure to watch the first 7 minutes of this video to learn how to create your skeletal structure.

Let's learn about Sleeping poses

My Observations

These are the observations I made when studying people in a sleeping pose. You can make these types of observations by completing the steps in today’s homework. These generalizations can help give you a foundation for drawing your own sleeping poses freehand.

People are mostly upright

At least one of the feet needs to feel grounded – look for the body’s center of balance

Each foot pointing in a different direction

If one side of the hip is up, the body weight is on that leg

What else do you notice? Be sure to make your own observations as well!


Set up a Skeletal Structure

Watch the video tutorial to help you learn how to set up a skeletal structure you can use in your pose studies.

Get some Reference Photos

Collect as many reference photos as possible of the particular action you are studying, in this case, sleeping. I’ve provided the images I use in the tutorial below, along with some tips for finding your own.

Superimpose Skeletal Structure

Use Procreate to trace over the photos to create a posed skeletal structure. Repeat this for as many photos as possible. This process has three important benefits:

  1. You will become more familiar with how to set up the body in a sleeping pose
  2. You will make essential observations about how to depict someone sleeping
  3. You will create a “Page of Poses,” a library of ideas you can reference whenever you need to draw a person sleeping
Draw the Pose Freehand

After making observations about walking from your page of poses, sketch out a sitting pose freehand. If you want, refine and finish your sketch with all the details, including facial features, clothes and hair. 

Photo References

Two great resources for free-to-use stock photos are and Below are the photos I used in the tutorial. I’ve linked each image to its source. I encourage you to find even more reference photos. You can even take pictures of yourself or your friends!

Keep researching, observing and learning! I’ve made a Pinterest board full of additional resources to help you learn more about drawing bodies and poses.

This lesson is a part of a month-long series that will get you you familiar with the basics of drawing humans, and help you develop your own people-drawing style. To learn more, check out the People Skills Intro, or continue on to the next lesson below.

Want to put your People Skills to work?

Time to go to…

Character Camp is a FREE series of prompts, guides, and tutorials to help get you familiar with designing and drawing your own characters. Each day for four weeks, we’ll have a different prompt to get you learning how to draw characters. We’ll be exploring human characters, animals and creatures, even inanimate objects as characters.