May 21

Starting the Search

Person drawings can reveal personality traits and lead you to lost parts of the self. Draw a picture of any person of your choosing on a blank sheet of paper with a pencil. Artistic quality is unimportant, but do your best. Draw before reading further!

Person Dra​wing

Directions: Mark any of the following characteristics that you see in your drawing. Examine the proportion of one part to the rest of the person to determine if it is large or small.


  • Central: normal, self-directed
  • Side edge: feeling suppressed
  • Left side: impulsive, extrovert, past oriented
  • Right: controlled, inhibited, future oriented
  • High: ambitious, optimistic, fanaticizes, aloof
  • Low: insecure, inept, depressed; but can be calm, down-to-earth, thoughtful thinking, stable
  • Bottom edge: needs support, fears independence, depressed


  • Normal: about 3/4 of the paper height
  • Very large: aggressive, egotistical, overreactive, manic
  • Very small: inadequate, inhibited, withdrawn, anxious, shy, depressed

Line Quality

  • Firm or curving: secure, flexible
  • Jagged: hostile, impulsive
  • Sketchy: insecure, timid, compulsive
  • Long strokes: controlled, reserved
  • Short strokes: excitable
  • Scribbling: excitable, hyperactive
  • Vertical: assertive, determined, hyperactive
  • Horizontal: weak, fearful
  • Very straight: compulsive, aggressive
  • Shading: anxious, submissive
  • Heavy shading: agitated depression
  • Light pressure: timid, inept, low energy
  • Heavy pressure: tense, high energy, ambitious, aggressive, suspicious
  • Excessive erasing: uncertain, restless, dissatisfied, anxious


  • Ground line drawn: need for security
  • Extreme symmetry: compulsive
  • Asymmetrical: attention deficit, excitable
  • Transparencies: poor judgment, flashy
  • Lack of detail: withdrawn, empty
  • Excessive detail: compulsive, hypersensitive, manic

Head (intellect and fantasy)

  • Large: intellectual, aggressive, fantasizes
  • Small: feels inept, helpless, weak
  • Hair emphasis: sexuality, self-absorbed
  • Hair lack: sexual inadequacy, low energy

Face (communication, reality contact)


  • Large or emphasized: suspicious, anxious, hypersensitive, proper
  • Small or closed: introverted, hostile
  • Pupil omitted: guilt, introverted, isolated
  • Button or circle eyes: immature
  • Eyebrows arched or raised: critical, refined
  • Bushy eyebrows: gruff, uninhibited


  • Large: poor hearing, sensitive, suspicious
  • Omitted: normal or avoidant
  • Question marks: suspicious

Nose (sexuality, power, stereotypes)

  • Button or triangle: immature
  • Pointed: aggressive
  • Omitted: shy, depressed
  • Underemphasized: guilt, envy, hostility
  • Overemphasized: sexual inadequacy, depression, aggression


  • Emphasized: dependent, critical, immature
  • Full lips or cupid bow: sexual, flashy
  • Open: passive, dependent
  • Wide, upturned line: compliant, congenial
  • Omitted: guilt, depression, isolated
  • Tiny: independent, compulsive, arrogant
  • Frown: passive, dependent, depression
  • Teeth showing: aggression
  • Objects in mouth: sexual needs/aggression
  • Slash or short, heavy line: (cautious) aggression, critical

Neck (separates intellect and emotion)

  • Short, thick: gruff, stubborn, rigid, impulsive
  • Long: cut-off emotions, rigid, formal, moral
  • Single line: poor impulse control
  • Omitted: impulsive, immature

Torso (drives and emotions)

  • Large: unsatisfied drives or goals
  • Long or narrow: isolated
  • Rounded: passive, feminine, immature
  • Shading: anxiety about impulses
  • Small: denial of feelings, inferiority

Shoulders (power)

  • Neatly rounded: normal
  • Large: feeling strength, power
  • Pointed/square: pushy, hostile, defensive
  • Tiny: feeling inferior or inept

Waist (separates strength from sexuality)

  • Emphasized, high or low: (sexual) conflicts
  • Broken line: tension about impulses
  • Tiny: poor impulse control

Breasts (normal on females)

  • Large: dependence, flashy
  • Small/omitted: normal, stingy, immature

Anterior Limbs (contact, relationships)


  • Normal: relaxed, flexible appearing
  • Outstretched: desire for contact or help
  • Broad: strength, striving
  • Long: ambitious, aggressive
  • Reinforced: desire for power, assaultive
  • Short: lack ambition, dependent
  • Frail/limp: weak, inadequate, ineffective
  • Omitted: guilt, depression, withdrawal
  • Behind: evasive, controlled hostility, guilt
  • Right angle: immature, unemotional
  • Akimbo (on hips): bossy, self-involved
  • Folded: suspicious, hostile, rigid, passive
  • Winglike: eccentric


  • Small: insecure, helpless, not confident
  • Large: hidden inadequacy, inept, impulsive
  • Mittenlike (no fingers): hidden aggression
  • Omitted: normal, but can show conflicts, guilt
  • In pockets: guilt, evasive, suspicious
  • Behind back: evasive, guilt


  • Fists: aggression, rebelliousness
  • Detailed with nails: compulsive, aggressive
  • Without hands: aggression, assaultive
  • Large: aggression, assaultive
  • Long: unemotional, flat
  • Petal or grapelike: dependent, immature
  • Shaded: guilt about stealing, sex
  • Straight lines/spiked: hostile, suspicious
  • Extra fingers: ambitious, aggressive
  • Missing fingers: inadequate, self-punitive, guilt, poor social skills

Locomotor Limbs (mobility, support)


  • Short or omitted: immobile, constricted
  • Long: striving for self-reliance
  • Cut off by bottom edge: lack of autonomy
  • Crossed: defensive
  • Unequal size: conflicts about independence
  • Reinforced: aggressive, assaultive
  • Frail: lack of autonomy and independence
  • Pressed together: rigid, suspicious
  • Wide stance: aggressive, defiance


  • Long: insecure, sexual needs
  • Pointed: hostile
  • Opposite directions: autonomy conflicts
  • Toes: aggression
  • Omitted or small: helpless, depressed


  • Belt: normal in males
  • Excessive: flashy, egocentric, repressed, extroverted, sociable, approval seeking
  • Underclothed: showy, isolated, art student
  • Transparent: poor judgment, flashy
  • Stripes: compulsiveness
  • Buttons: dependent, inept, immature
  • Pockets: dependent, deprived
  • Ties: sexual concerns, aggression
  • Earrings emphasized: flashy, suspicious
  • Trouser fly: sexual concerns
  • Weapons: hostility

Figures and views

  • Standing, walking, playing: normal
  • Profile: avoidance, reserved, suspicious
  • Back view: suspicious, isolated
  • Leaning/seated: insecure, dependent
  • Straight down arms and legs: rigid
  • Clowns, soldiers, witches: hostile
  • Cowboys: immature, macho
  • Snowman/woman: avoidance, poor body image
  • Cartoons: avoidance, distancing
  • Stick figures: avoidance, uncooperative, hostile, poor body image
  • Seductive: dramatic, excitable

As you study the size, style, and representation of body parts in your drawing, you can discover clues about your need to attach, inflate self- worth, draw attention, control uncertainty, avoid contact, and overpower others to compensate for early unmet needs.

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