To draw Joe Louis, we should first sketch in some basic construction lines. Use a 2H or harder pencil and sketch very lightly so that the lines are easy to erase later on after we ink. Sketch out a basic upper half of a stick figure shape such as this one. The arms should be bent upwards so that the boxing gloves are pointing in our direction. These lines don't need to be perfect as they are simply guides.
Next, we should draw the basic human figure. Doing this will help ensure that the figure is proportionate when we add clothing later on. You do not need to include details such as facial features, but be sure to include the construction lines of the face. Draw the basic shape of his large boxing glove on his hands. The head should be a 3/4 angle and tilted down slightly.
Now that we're finished with the construction lines, let's begin working on his eyes. Make sure they rest evenly on the horizontal construction line of the face. They should be thin almond shapes. Make sure that the iris and pupils are looking directly at us. Use an ellipse template if you need help drawing perfect circles. Draw creases above and below each eye for eyelids.
Next, draw his eyebrows. They should be fairly long, and pointing down in the middle. This will create a few crease above the bridge of the nose. Also draw a few horizontal creases on his forehead while you're at it.
Use the vertical construction line of the face to help place the nose in the center of the face. The bottom of the nose should end half way between the eyes and chin. He has a flat nose with wide nostrils and a rounded tip.
Joe's lips are one of his most defining facial characteristics. He has an especially large upper lip. Imagine the upper lip as an arch with a shallow notch taken out of the top. Be sure to draw a slight indentation above the upper lip, as well as fine vertical creases on the lips themselves.
Now draw the outer contours of his face. He has a very large, square jaw, but a small chin that protrudes noticeably.
At this angle, the right ear will be almost totally hidden from view, but we will have a full view of his left ear. The ears should rest high on the head since his head is tilted down. The top the ears should be even with the middle of the forehead, the bottoms should align with the middle of the nose. Be sure to draw plenty of curved creases inside the left ear.
As a boxer, Louis has short hair. It should only be a couple inches long, but very thick and wavy. It should be parted down the left side. Draw numerous wavy lines at the top of his hair pointing to his right side.
Let’s draw his neck and upper shoulder. His neck will be mostly hidden from view at this angle, but we should be able to see the back of it protruding from behind the ear. Draw the upper portion of his left shoulder. Also draw his clavicle pointing upwards at an angle.
Draw his left arm, with the forearm bent towards us. He should have a massive shoulder muscle, and large, well defined muscles on the rest of his arm. His elbow should be tucked beneath the outer edge of the forearm. We will be erasing some of these lines in the next step when we draw the glove, so keep that in mind.
The glove should be very large, especially since it's pointed in our direction. The wrist of the glove should be covering most of the forearm and the lower portion of the bicep, so you'll need to do some erasing. The wrist of the glove should have a thick strap around it. The hand of the glove is made of two large sections - the fingers and the thumb. Sort of like a large, well padded mitten. The finger section should be folded over, and the thumb should be pressing against it. Draw a few long creases across the body of the gloves where it is stitched together.
Now draw the right glove, which should appear smaller at this angle. We should be able to see more of the thumb. The wrist of the glove will be almost totally hidden from view, behind the hand of the glove.
Next, draw the right arm, which should be mostly tucked out of view. We should be able to see a portion of the shoulder and upper arm. The forearm should be beneath the glove, since it's bent upwards.
Finally, draw his torso. It should be mostly covered up by the gloves and arms. We should probably be able to see some of his chest and nipple as well as some of his high wasted boxer shorts. Draw a few horizontal creases in the fabric of the shorts.
Now that we're done penciling the image, we can move on to inks! Use a Micron marker or a brush and India ink. Carefully go over each line with patience and be sure not to accidentally ink any unneeded guide lines. A brush works great for inking muscles and hair. When the ink is dry, erase your pencil marks with a kneaded eraser.
You can add more depth to the image by giving it shadow. Establish your light source and use black ink or a fat tipped black marker to shade the opposite side of each major muscle and the creases on the gloves. Black out the roots of his hair, the underside of his brow and nose, and the underside of his jaw.
If you need to make any corrections, use white ink or opaque white paint. You can also use it to add highlights if needed, such as to the hair or gloves. And you're done! That's how you draw Joe Louis. You're a champ!
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