How to Draw a Comic Book Hero

Artist Working at Home

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Comic books are filled with characters, and the most dynamic are heroes of the story. If you pay attention to the lines and coloring, you'll notice that these are rather simple drawings. With a little bit of help and a few tricks, you can learn how to draw your comic book hero.

This lesson will show you how comic book artists approach a character. It begins with a basic frame, continues with outlines of the details, then finishes it off with a great superhero costume in bold color.

Once you know the basics, you can develop your character and work on drawing him in different action positions. Character development is the first step to creating your comic strip or book, and the process is a lot of fun.

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Create the Hero's Frame

Step One

Illustration: Shawn Encarnacion., 2017

The first step in drawing your comic book hero is to build a simplified skeleton. This is the basic structure that outlines his body and form.

It also defines what position he'll be in, including his arms, legs, torso, and head. In this case, our hero is in a forward lunge—almost mid-leap—with his arms up to show off those powerful muscles.

The skeleton also makes sure you get the character's figure in proportion. The goal is to create a simple, clear base on which you'll build your comic book hero. Don't get sidetracked by too much detail, focus on the basic shapes for now.

Begin drawing in pencil so you can erase these guidelines later. Use simple shapes like circles and geometric outlines for each of the major body parts. Connect these with simple, single lines for the arms, legs, and spine.

It's also a good idea to add centering lines on his face. This cross of two lines—one vertical and one horizontal—will help you place his facial features symmetrically and define which direction he's looking in.

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Draw the Hero's Outline

Step Two

Illustration: Shawn Encarnacion., 2017

It's now time to outline your comic book hero. These lines will appear in the finished drawing, so keep them smooth and flowing. 

This figure is based on real human anatomy, but he's slightly exaggerated for dramatic effect. After all, a comic book hero has to look super strong!

Take your time and draw one section at a time, following the example. Notice how darker lines are used for the main outline of the body and thinner lines are used to define details. 

You might find it easier to draw his torso first, then work up to the neck, and down each limb. This gives you an excellent foundation to build on. Concentrate on the outer outline first and come back later to fill in the details.

Some people prefer to work on the face last while others like to do it right away. Either way, it's key to giving your hero a personality, so take your time on his eyes and mouth.

Draw each muscle line in one fluid motion. Use lighter pressure at the beginning and end of each line to give them more emphasis and dimension.

As you work, erase the unnecessary skeleton lines. If you're going to trace your character on another piece of paper, it's okay to leave them. Tracing can be done in ink, and the lines should also be nice and clean.

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Complete the Comic Book Hero Character

Step 3

Illustration: Shawn Encarnacion., 2017

Now it's time to finish the outfit and add some color. If you're using colored pencils, keep them sharp and shade patiently for a nice, smooth finish.

This hero is African-American, so his skin is a deep brown color. Like many comic book characters, his uniform has bold colors with a lot of contrast. Pastels don't portray the strength we're going for, so choose colors that have some power behind them.

Once you're done, try drawing the same character in another action pose. The best comic book artists can duplicate their characters in a variety of scenes, so give it a try with this guy.