Manikins are wooden figures scaled down so that artists can continue to practice and hone their figure drawing skill without having to use a live model. They come in a variety of sizes, as both female and male, and can even focus on specific parts of the body - especially the fingers/hands! Here are some tips on how to use a wooden manikin for those who want to further practice capturing different poses at home: 1. Read as many online reviews as you can before purchasing a manikin yourself. Most art supply shops won't let you take a manikin out of its packaging before purchasing, so being able to read other people's reviews before deciding on a specific model yourself will save you a lot of time, money, and guesswork. 2. The more ball joints, the better. Ball joints are the spherical wooden 'joints' where human joints would be - at the wrists and elbows, knees, even the torso on the manikin can have a ball joint. This will help you create more realistic poses, as manikins have a reputation of often looking too stiff. Ones marketed as 'dance' or 'sport' manikins tend to have a better and more realistic range of motion. 3. Make sure your manikin is a reasonable size. Most manikins can range between 4" - 26", but 8" - 16" would probably work best with beginners, especially if scaling is something you're not necessarily comfortable with. Plus, if you're taking this manikin around with you, it'll be a lot more portable! 4. Brush up on anatomy and kinetics before you start working with one. Manikins don't have defined muscle tone like humans do, and in order to create realistic figures, you will have to use your imagination to make areas like the arms, back, and legs more believable. It might help to draw the manikin as is first, and then go back to create more realistic contours. 5. Using a manikin can be a fun and challenging way to study figure drawing. However, it is not for everyone. If you find out a manikin doesn't work for you, there are plenty of 'pose generating' resources online for artists who want the same practice by different means. Quickposes.com and Posemaniacs.com are perhaps the two most popular. Happy drawing!