(2.19.19) 5-min figure sketches

by Dre123, February 19th 2019 © 2019 Dre123

Done as part of a 30 minute class.

My current goal is: Reduce stiffness and make my drawings feel more dynamic, energetic and fluid. Also working on my proportions.


focus on the construction of your torso, the ribcage and pelvis looks like it is getting a little lost, esp in the figure on the left. I like your hands!

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Thank you. Seeing past the basic construction when fleshing out more of the anatomy is challenging, but will be something I will pay attention to.


Hello Dre 123

We have all been at the point where we notice that our poses are very stiff. And usually that is a very good sign, because it means that you are good enough at the construction of the body to have brain space to think about the pose separately. Now what helped me when I figured my poses were very stiff was to look at the book on "force drawing" by mike mattesi, I think he also has a video online talking about his book, which you can check out. But the basic problem with poses looking stiff has to do with the "Line of action". Now if you heard this before but are not quite sure what it is, no problem. There are some ressources on this very website about it (wow so funny of me).

But basically what it is about is this: Usually when we construct a body with construction lines etc. we drwa the body in a rest pose. This is fine to archieve correct proportion and a lot of other things, but bodies in the real world dont actually behave like that. Bodies bend and twist, in short they experience forces ( see there s the title of the before mentioned book ) . Now if the body experiences forces, this means that its shapes deform from the rest pose we tend to draw it in when constructing ( example buttocks standing is compressed in contrast to sitting on a chair or bending forward in which case it is streched. You can see the compression when standing at the fold formed just below the butt with the upper thigh.-> compressed => fold ). But to think about all muscles contracting and stretching is imposible for any pose. This is why, as a simplyfication we use the concept of line of action and straight vs curve design. These concepts help us not to draw a technically correct representation of the muscle contractions, but one that feels correct. This is done by using shapes that guide the viewers eye through the drawing so that the forces are better understood and therefore felt.

Now all this sounds very abstract but I hope to some part understandable. I can't summarize those two concepts but I recommend you look at those two things if you want to improve the energy and dynamic of your drawings. Two artists that employ these principles really well in my opinion are Grace Liu (Nargyle) and Genndy Tartakovsky (the guy who designed samuray jack and some of incredibles)

Now that was alot of advice now to actual critique: As I said the construction and anatomy of your drawings are very good. Try not to draw too many times over the same lines ( mainly on the outlines) one confidently drawn line should be enough. As for the dynamic of the pose, the main thing contributing to the line of action is the spine. You could push the bend in the pose on the right. Also try to make the spine lead nicely into the neck. And with nicely I mean that the flow of the lines of the back are continued into the neck so they feel connected. At the moment the anatomy of the ribs is breaking the flow from the spine by adding an extra bulge. This topmost line representing the back shoud be one line ( only curving once ). It should then be broken at the left shoulder but still direct into the neck. here an exapmle of what I mean: https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/45634/female-nude-bending-over-pick-sponge

As for the drawing on the left you can continue the line of action from his right leg (on our left) into his spine and neck. Also bend him more to the right to make a more hunched pose ( exagerate the pose).

I hope this helps you. I tried to rather give you advice which theory to look at because the draftmanship on the drawings are already pretty good. Hope this was also in your own interest.

Have fun :)



Yes! This was very helpful. This site is helping me to really understand my drawings more, as well as the critiques. I will take and study your advice while looking into the recommended references. It's funny, I have the book you mentioned, but it wasn't really clicking for me when I first read it. I will go back and study it with a new perspective. Thank you!!