Gesture Drawing (P3-W12)


Anatomy in art goes way back to the Renaissance era, where many artists were considered anatomists as they drew the body after dissection, delving deep into the muscles and bones to create an image that will help doctors immensely in the future. However, today we’ll be focusing on gestures instead of detailed anatomy, so let’s start with the definition of a gesture.

Related image

“What brings a human figure to life cannot be taught or put down in a chart. It is the energy in that figure – happy, rushed, sorrowful, still, childish, uncertain, comfy, exhausted – you can only “learn” it from life.” (Medlej, 2013). The key to expressive, lively drawings lies in analyzing an object and determining whether it is inanimate or not, then internalizing and feeling that energy of the object in your mind, and finally, bringing the image itself to life.

Gestures are the things we do without even knowing it that make our characters look believable. A gesture drawing is a work of art that is executed rapidly. It is usually drawn with several gestures next to each other to form a bigger image on which one is suitable and which one is not. The highlight of drawing gestures is to be fast but also efficient, which allows you to capture motion very quickly          in order to create interesting and dynamic artwork.


How Does One Draw Gestures?

The first step is to draw the line of action to establish the foundation of the gesture. The line of action is the shape or form of a person that the line represents, and once it’s drawn it’s time to move to the next step. After drawing the line of action, the head, torso and pelvis are drawn then the limbs are added. An observation to keep in mind is that jagged lines show tension while smooth lines show calmness and flexibility.


When drawing gestures, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep it simple and as little detailed as possible to ensure that not much time is spent on a simple task. Make the heads simply circular or rectangular and do the same with the hands, and as for the torso and pelvis, draw them in a straightforward, effortless way. Some people rush too much while drawing gestures that they forget to make them structured and polished, a mistake no one should make!



Gestures aren’t restricted to humans only though and can be applied to animals and inanimate objects because even they have energy and lack of a character is itself a character.

Non-human sketches

A suitable way to improve is to practice continuously, try some observational drawing and take a longer time analyzing the gesture.


This brief summary of gestures sure isn’t enough to tell the whole story it carries with the anatomy in drawing, but I hope that it did prove to be insightful. In the future, as one advances and becomes more experienced in drawing gestures, they might want to expand into drawing gestures out of their minds without using references.


References used:


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