Gesture gives movement, dynamism and beauty to your subjects. If you feel like your characters or poses feel stiff or robotic, this is where you need to be focusing your time.
I will be writing this post in relation to drawing humans, but you can apply all of these techniques to animals, plants, objects and structures. Look at the art of Loish for inspiration on how one artist applies the same techniques to all of these subjects.
look for the natural beauty in the form. The movement and dance of the subject. Observe how there are flowing lines moving from head to toe throughout the person, both in the lines of action and also the actual anatomy. Once you start seeing those flowing connecting lines, you will see them everywhere.
Weight and gravity
finding the centre of gravity and how weight and gravity affect the body during movement helps you to accurately describe it. What makes a mime look like they’re really pushing against an object that won’t move? It’s the perceived weight of an object. This can be described in both the way you draw the object and the person who is interacting with it.
Strength is one of the things gesture describes the most. The difference between a weak and strong punch is gesture. By exaggerating muscles, movement and using expressive lines or paint strokes, you can describe the power of a
movement so much more. Ultimately, with gesture you are capturing a moment in an action, and alluding to what happened just before and just after. Work loosely, expressively and emotionally and tighten your illustration down later on.
What is the difference between a figure drawing and a gesture drawing?
Some people use these terms interchangeably, but I believe that by separating them in your mind you can get more out of your studies.
A figure drawing, to me, involves carefully studying the human form. It is a slow process where you are working on proportion, placement and anatomy knowledge. You are ensuring accuracy and trying to copy your subject and make very informed decisions about what you exaggerate.
However, I view a gesture drawing as a quick imprint of a human. In as few strokes as possible you are capturing the movement, energy and power of the pose. You are trying to understand the fluidity of the human body and where weight is placed during certain movements. It doesn’t have to be accurate, measured or completely perfect, it’s much more emotional, lyrical and intuitive.
I believe doing both forms of studies is the best way to improve your character illustrations. To learn more about gesture drawing, and to have a go yourself, check out the websites I have linked below.
If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Keep creating! <3