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Gesture Drawing Tips And Things To Search

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When you draw a figure it looks too stiff, or the FRESH ON THE BLOG:

proportions are way off?

Or do you tend to focus on one part of the

body, forgetting the rest and end up with a
distorted image?

I bet the problems you have now are because you didn’t practice enough of gesture

Then, let’s see what gesture drawing is, why such practice is important, and some
gesture drawing tips of what to focus on and what to avoid :

Gesture Drawing
What is gesture drawing?
A gesture drawing is a laying in of the action, form, and pose of a
model/figure. Typical situations involve an artist drawing a series of poses
taken by a model in a short amount of time, often as little as 10 seconds, or
as long as 5 minutes.
(Souce: Wikipedia)

Why is it important to practice gesture drawing?

Gesture drawing lets you practice new positions and new ways of drawing a person by
focusing on one pose during a very short period of time.

While practicing figure drawing, you don’t have the

time to measure the exact amount of inches there
are from one landmark to the other.

Instead, you must quickly see the overall

“emotion” a body is trying to communicate and
then put it down on the paper.

Of course, you still must preserve realistic

proportions to make those short 1-minute poses
believable. And the more you practice – the faster
you will start understanding subconsciously how
body parts relate to each other.

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Another perk of doing quick gesture studies is the diversity:

It gets so easy to only draw a person standing upright straight on and sideways, as well
as just one body type…

These are the drawing you see in beginner artist’s art pieces all the time, because it is
what they’ve been practicing from the best figure drawing books, and so when the time
comes to draw from imagination – these are the only poses that can be done right!

But by practicing gesture drawing and figure drawing your brain learns to adapt and
understand all the extensions, bends and rotations body parts make possible. And then
drawings from your head become much more interesting and dynamic!

Note: Grab my FREE PDF guide “20 Best Figure Drawing Tips” to quickly
improve your next figure drawing!

What You Need To Start Practicing Gesture

1. Medium

Anything goes!

The “traditional” way of doing these studies are with pencils or charcoal. However, you
can practice gesture drawing/figure drawing with any medium you like using, want
to experiment with or have close by – paints, pens, digital, markers, pastels, inks etc.

The reason why big pads of paper and charcoal are used the most is that they let you
work bold, and use your shoulders to make the lines instead of just using your wrist.

So, if you want to start off with them, go ahead to your closest art store and get a big
drawing pad filled with cheap sheets of paper (you don’t need anything expensive
because you will use A LOT of paper with your gesture exercises, and you are not doing
them for sale, but for practice).

And as for the drawing tool, you get to pick amongst charcoal pencils, charcoal sticks,
graphite pencils and vine charcoal. If you are not sure which one you would like the
most out of them, I recommend this very affordable Charcoal Drawing Set that includes
all of the items mentioned above.

You spent less than 10$, have all your tools ready.

Now it’s time to look for a model.

2. Life Model

The best option is to go ahead and search “life drawing session near me” and I’m
sure you will find a few going on nearby!

If not, then you can always ask one of your friends or family members to pose for
you! They won’t have to do much but set a timer somewhere between 10sec.-5min. and
change position every time it “beeps”. In return, they get your love and maybe some
food after.

Last option could also be to go to some crowded place like a mall or a coffee place,
and just sketch people around you. They won’t pose, but some of them will hold a
position for a couple of sessions-minutes. Just enough time for you to get the “feel” for
their body movements!

3. Gesture Drawing Reference Websites

There are a plenty of websites that can provide you with a variety of photographs for
your drawing practices!

The best part? They include a timer you can set to your liking!

Also, they have many other options to play around with: male/female/both; nude or
clothed; some of them even ask you what type of pose you want to practice, and if you
want to focus on a specific body part!

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So here are my Top 5 Free Go-To Resources For Everyday Gesture Drawing Practices:

1. Line Of Action
2. Sketch Daily
3. QuickPoses
4. CharacterDesigns (the only one without a timer, but with a variety of poses per model)
5. CroquisCafe (a YouTube Channel)

Also, if you want to know more about these websites above, and check out 4 more
options you have, I recommend reading “Best 9 Free Pose Reference Sites To
Practice Figure Drawing Online“ article.

here is an example of quickly sketching in a 2-minute pose:

Gesture Drawing Tips: 5 Things To Avoid

As the beginner and advanced artists alike, we learn with practice.

However, there are a couple of things that shouldn’t be done, and here is why:

1. Undecisive Strokes

A lot of unnecessary strokes take up precious time that we can’t afford to lose in such
short sessions. Also, they simply look unprofessional as though the artist doesn’t know
what they are doing.

Instead, try to actually LOOK at the model and think of the angles, lengths and then put
it down on paper.

2. Bold Strokes Right Away

Don’t get me wrong here, you should work boldly. However, if your first few strokes are
super dark and massive – it will be really hard for you to build on them. At the end, your
sketch will look like a complete mess, and you won’t be able to “cover” your mistakes
with bolder lines.

Instead, start by applying confident lines without using your medium to it’s darkest
potential, and then build on top with stronger and more accurate strokes.

3. All The Straight Lines

Most of our bones have specific curves to them, even humerus (the top(and only) bone
of your arm) has just a TINY bit of a curve! I won’t get into anatomy here, but the point is
this – don’t force everything to be straight because it’s not.

Instead, free up your movements and add some dynamic to the posture!

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4. Focus on details

If you focus on one part of the body, like a head for example, then you simply won’t have
enough time to put anything else on the paper. Overall, it’s a gesture drawing! So, you
must work with the whole figure.

Instead, start big and then slowly zoom in, and you will see that you have no time to
even think of details because you are so busy trying to get the whole figure onto the

5. Measuring EVERYTHING

When we draw from life, we tend to try our best to capture the likeness of the person. To
do that, we often use our pencil as a measuring tool. And that takes TIME. By the time
you measure everything – (at least) half the time will be gone.

Instead, don’t waste your precious time measuring. Remember, you are not doing it to
practice capturing a likeness, but to practice capturing the FLOW.

* If you really can’t stay away from measuring, then the only thing I would recommend is
to hold up your pencil horizontally to see which body landmarks meet and where. But
then, back to work!


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Here is an example and a BONUS Gesture Drawing TIP just for you guys from a
character design artist/illustrator Fatima Camiloza:

Try not to limit yourself to what you see. The model is meant to be a
reference that helps you portray what you have in your imagination. You
can inject personality, style, fashion of your own liking to take what you see
and make it your own.

Gesture Drawing Tips: 5 Things To Focus

As well as previously mentioned DON’Ts, there are also a couple of DO’s that will help
you achieve better results while practicing gesture drawing:

1. Action Line

Always start your gesture drawing with an action line – a line that goes from the top of
the head down to the feet. It’s like a curve the body forms while in different poses. Action
line will help you get a more dynamic pose and overall flow of the figure. It also provides
you with a roadmap to use while placing in body parts.


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2. Fit The Figure on The Page

This tip works well with the “focus on detail” thing you must avoid. If you focus “big” but
still only work mostly on the upper/lower half of the body then you are risking having to
fit the other part into the page with funny proportions. Therefore, after placing in your
action line, I suggest to also mark the top of the head and the bottom of the feet in order
to have ‘boundaries’ to work within.

3. Contrapposto

A very simple tip that will save you from figures that look stiff and unnatural. Remember,
our body is asymmetrical. So, if your arms and shoulders angle tilts up on the right side,
then your torso and legs will tilt down at the right side. It’s just this useful thing out body
does to keep balance

4. Negative Shapes

Look for negative shapes in your model! Sometimes we think we “know” what we see,
but it ends up looking awkward. But, by looking at negative shapes, our brain works
differently and actually sees the right shapes that then become landmarks for the
placement of body parts.

5. Exaggerate

You don’t have to work in the super realistic constraints. Gesture drawing practices are
done to learn gestures, and what’s better than exaggerating them (within reason) to
understand how every part of the body works with another in all sorts of the different


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Here is an example of a process and a BONUS Gesture Drawing TIP by Orfenn

Schuller a preproduction artist/storyboard artist/animator just for :

When working on gesture, keep drawing. You should spend a lot of time
working on them. Drawing real people, drawing everyday people around
you. For beginners gesture drawing can be frustrating, but just keep doing
it till you get better. Don’t worry how crappy your drawings look like at first.
Never focus at drawing clean lines, just draw without a care in the world.

Free Resources To Get You Started

20 Best Figure Drawing Tips PDF! – a little gift from me to you ♥

It’s a 23-page PDF that you can print

out, or just read on your device!

After reading this guide, you’ll be able


✓ Think like a true artist who has a Get Me For Free HERE
lot of practice with figure drawings

✓ Draw better and professional-looking figure drawings

Proko: “How To Draw Gesture” Video and Description.

Sycra on YouTube “Some Figure Drawing Tips” Video:

Some Figure Drawing Tips

Ver más tarde Compartir

“How to Improve Your Figure Drawing – Step by Step” on Skillshare by Robert


* Skillshare is a paid platform, however by following my link you get 2 months for FREE,
so you can watch this course and many others for free in those months

Premium Resources To Make You A Pro

Gesture Drawing Books:

Check out our blog post on “14 Best Figure Drawing Books For Beginners”.

If you are busy and are looking for a quick answer, the 2 books I recommend the most
“Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth” by Andrew Loomis;
“Figure Drawing: Design and Invention” by Michael Hampton.

Gesture Drawing Courses:

“Figure Drawing Fundamentals” Course by Proko.

Great for beginners and advanced artists alike;

15 hours and 30 minutes worth of video;
It’s fun and therefore easy to learn;
They teach everything from gesture, landmarks, measuring proportions, shading and
much more;
You get Extended Lessons, Demos & Examples, Critique Videos and Assignments &
Warning: videos are uncensored.

“Anatomy for Figure Drawing: Mastering the Human Figure” by Neil Fontaine.

Taking your gesture drawing to the next step;

Learn the skeleton, muscles, skin, fat;
Learn how breasts attach, squish and their overall mechanics;
Learn how to draw head, hands, feet and faces.

That’s all on the gesture drawing tips and things to avoid! Hope you learned something
from this blog post, or at least got inspired to go check out some courses and practice
some exercises

Next Steps
Grab supplies;
Learn from Free or Premium Source;
Start Implementing the Gesture Drawing Tips!
Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to our email list and follow us on social media if
you would like to read our future posts!
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram.

Good luck on Your Art Path,

– Anna.

Blog Posts to check out next → “How To Practice Drawing Effectively”

and → “How To Make Money Online As An Artist In 2018”

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jenni 2 5 J UL 2 0 18 RE PL Y

this helps a lot , really liked this! thank you.

YourArtBud 2 6 J UL 2 0 18 RE PL Y

I’m so glad you found this article helpful, Jenni!

Thank you for stopping by

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