Gesture drawing is a warm-up exercise for me. This way I can loosen up and work spontaneously. It's also the exercise I used when I was studying poses, action, proportion, and foreshortening.
Gesture is naturally used for drawing people. It's good to practice this skill and find a balance while capturing the motion of the subject. You don't want the gesture to come out to hard and stiff looking, but you also don't want the subject to look like a limp dish rag that has been run through a dishwasher, unless that is what you meant to draw! Your family, friends, or strangers can be your models. Note: don't draw or copy comic book characters, do real people first.
For your first exercise you can use any drawing materials, but I suggest you use newsprint and a ballpoint pen (so you can't erase).
1. Look at your models' pose or action and be aware of their center of gravity. Study their pose or action and try to memorize it, but don't stare or look at them in a creepy way. Especially if your model is a complete stranger or unaware of what you are doing. Lightly scribble the account of the entire pose right away.
2. Keep scribbling, don't pick up the pen, do it as fast as you can. Make your lines as soft and fluid as you can.
3. Define the action and don't draw parts yet, just the whole gesture. It doesn't matter what your drawing looks like, you're supposed to be capturing action.
It took me about a thousand gesture drawings to finally make good poses and I still do them! But don't be discouraged, start with small drawings. In a letter size paper, do about ten to fifteen gestures and draw a gesture in about fifteen to twenty seconds.
No one ever got good at anything without practice. So the best advice is for your to practice every day and never give up.
And feel free to print off some of my gestures and other pictures here for you to have some sort of reference to look back at whenever you need it. References are always a good thing, whether they're magazine clippings, photos or real life.
Please also feel free to click on any of the picture in this tutorial to get a pop-up window of the full sized picture.
Be sure to check out my website for art galleries and other great information. If you have any questions or comments about the artwork included in this tutorial, or about the article itself, contact me at [email protected].
Some of the skills you learn here can be transferred to drawing other things as well. Take the same strategies when drawing cars for example. You don't have to be a parts geek to understand how to draw a car or its parts.
- Paolo Libunao