Drawing the figure - gesture drawings.

Gesture Drawing

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female - gesture drawingDetail of female gesture sketchseated female - gesture drawing

Some more examples of gesture drawing, of the female form.

Notice on the drawing on the left side—the figure on the left (with hands on hips) has one sweeping line that starts from her shoulders, and then follows all the way down one of her legs. (The middle illustration shows this line in red.) This simple, sweeping line shows another purpose of gesture drawing: to search for the overall "line" of the pose. Sometimes, an artist will look for one or two lines that suggest the overall pose, and draw them in first. Then they build the rest of the drawing on top of those sweeping, gestured lines.

The seated pose on the right shows a strong line for the spine—which is curved and leaning to one side. There's also a line to show the tilt of the shoulders. Indicating these essential tilts and curves in the body will assure that any detail put in later will retain the proper feel of the pose.


Anyone can practice gesture drawing, even without a class. Perhaps you can persuade your friends or loved ones to pose for short 1-5 minute poses for you. (Models can be partially clothed, clothed, or nude—it depends on your relationship!) Look for the essential lines in their pose. Scribble it in quickly. Add details (if you have time) only after you've indicated the entire pose in loose, fluid, gesture lines. Don't worry about having the pose "perfect." It won't be. Most gesture drawings are not attractive at all, and may not be very "accurate" in their proportions.

You can also "make up" gesture poses, imagining poses and scribbling them in. Have fun, use cheap paper, and draw, draw, draw!

Use the gesture drawings to help train yourself to look for the essential fluid lines in the pose.

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