11. Add emotion to your drawings.
You can add emotion to your drawings through movement. After all, body language is one of our primary tools of communication. By squashing, stretching, and spreading your character’s body shape in different directions, you can convey certain emotions. Squashing the character suggests tension, shyness, or fear. Alternatively, stretching them out could suggest surprise.
Photos are great reference points, but it’s important to still experiment and ensure you’re sketching with dynamism. A photo, after all, is still a static image and you’ll need to draw in a way that conveys movement. You can do this by mimicking the motion as you draw, similarly to how animators make expressions while they animate them.
“Don’t get too married to your reference photo. There’s a point where you have to infuse that last little bit of motion back into the drawing. Act out the pose yourself as best you can and don’t be afraid to look a little mad.”
Artist Megan Levens
12. Keep it short.
You should be scribbling your gesture drawing in a few minutes or less. In fact, some artists draw basic outlines for their models in around 30 seconds. You can add detail and correct mistakes later, but you’ll want to sketch the basic form of your illustration as quickly as possible.
Not only does this mean your model won’t have to hold their pose for hours on end, but it also means you can cut out hesitancy from your drawing practice. Hesitancy in sketches can make an image feel static and slow.
Learning resources for drawing dynamic poses.
Ready to get started with gesture drawing and dynamic movement illustration? Check out these learning resources.
Get faster with quick pose figure drawing.
Drawing quick poses with time limits is a great way to help you to get faster and hone your gesture drawing and dynamic pose skills. Learn more in this case study of action poses that artist Twosenseless, created using Adobe Fresco.
Learn character design fundamentals.
Follow along with illustrator Sam Peterson as he shows you how to render 3D figures and capture the human form. Get tips for digital drawing and painting as Peterson takes his artwork from sketched line drawings to finished art.