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How to Draw Feet & Shoes - Art Tips for Foot Anatomy

Feet! The part of human anatomy that I’d argue is far more difficult than hands. Feet often get pushed to the side, but when the time comes to actually draw them, artists realize that they’re much trickier than anticipated. However, just like hand anatomy, there are plenty of methods that artists use to make illustrating them much easier. Here are some things to keep in mind when drawing feet and shoes!

Not much of a reader? Don’t worry -- we’ve got a video all about how to draw feet and shoes that's available to watch on our YouTube channel!

Foot Anatomy

an anatomical drawing of the bottom of a foot

Before we get into any tutorials, it’s important to understand foot anatomy! Unlike fingers that all generally follow the same heights with everyone, toes can point in different directions and be different lengths depending on the person. What remains consistent is that the big toe will be your largest, and your pinkie will be your smallest.

Starting from the big toe, toes will gradually get smaller until finally reaching the pinkie. But sometimes, the second toe will be taller than the big toe, or toes won’t slope in a perfect arch. Sometimes they might not even slope at all, and that’s not even half of the variety that feet can have. When in doubt, it’s always good to use plenty of references!

Drawing feet with 3D forms

a foot drawn with simple 3D geometry

Unlike hands, feet are difficult to draw without understanding their simple forms first. Starting with the ankle, you can think of that as a sphere. The heel of your foot can be a “pudding cup” shape, and your midfoot and ball of the foot can be drawn together as a “door wedge” or “cheese wedge.” Your toes can be drawn as rectangular prisms, but it’s a little easier to draw them as one big prism first, then split them up afterwards.

rudimentary toes drawn as rectangles to show their sizing

Your big toe will take up about a quarter to a third of the original prism. The remainder of the prism can be split into four to make up the remaining toes. The heights of the toes will change depending on what kind of foot you’re drawing. Keep in mind that you’ll still have to add definition to your foot afterwards as well -- round out the edges, add nails to your toes, add an arch to your midfoot, draw in the ankle, so on and so forth. But it’s important to have the basics in mind before jumping to advanced steps!

Drawing shoes with simple shapes

a shoe drawn with very simple 2D shapes

While feet can be quite difficult to grasp, shoes make them much easier to draw, because you don’t have to worry about toes! It’s important to have an understanding of the forms here as well, but if you have a good grasp on 3D forms, you can stick to just your simple shapes.

Your ankle can be drawn as a circle, your heel can be drawn as a trapezoid, your midfoot can be drawn as a triangle, and your toes can be drawn as a semicircle. If you’d like the 3D form version of these, it’s the exact same as the bare foot, but instead of a prism for the toes, you’d use a semi sphere.

The best part about this method is that you can rearrange the position of the shapes to draw in different perspectives! For instance, if you line all of your shapes up so they are facing forwards, you can draw a forward-facing shoe.

Drawing heels, sneakers, boots and more!

four images. The first is laces going through eyelets, the second is many different buckles on a shoe, the third is a very simple drawing of a sneaker, and the fourth is of a high heel

While there’s a method for drawing simple shoe shapes, there are many things to keep in mind when drawing different kinds of shoes!

  • Laces | Shoe laces should never be drawn as just an “x” pattern. They’ll loop under and over the edges of your shoes!

  • Buckles | When drawing a buckle, remember that the belt will cover part of the buckle. The buckle will look like the letter “c” instead of a full rectangle.

  • Shoe Soles | A sole is an extension of the foot, so in order to add it, you’ll have to draw an extra rectangle underneath the shape of your foot! For platform shoes and boots, this rectangle will get taller!

  • High heels | High heels can get complex because of the way you need to arrange the simple shapes. Your semicircle can remain flat on the ground, but your triangle should be at an angle to make up for the raised heel.

Feet and shoes may seem like they’re in a league of their own, but just like hands, they take practice. Use tons of references and draw them in a variety of poses, styles and perspectives, and you’ll be a master in no time! If you’d like to learn more about drawing hands, consider checking out our realistic drawing class, where you can get guided lessons and feedback for hands and all other aspects of human anatomy! If you’d like more tips about drawing hands and anatomy, check out our human anatomy playlist on YouTube!

Teacher Resources:

If you’re a teacher that’s looking for classroom content centered around drawing feet, visit this quick and easy resource!

If you’d like worksheets related to art, check out our teachers pay teachers page where you can get worksheets and lesson plans for your classroom! More classroom resources like this can be found on our art resources for teachers page, where we break down the elements of art, art history resources, and drawing resources!

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