30-60 sec sketches, advice for an aspiring animator?

by Mess 129, October 21st 2021 © 2021 Mess 129

I know the page is a little crowded/overlapping on some forms, mostly I'm looking for advice on being more efficient with my lines. All of these sketches were completed within 30-60 sec (on the 30 sec sketch setting, sometimes I rewind to get a little extra time for details).

My goal is, broadly, quantity over quality, filling sketch books quickly with as many gesture drawings (and expressions/random art) as I can. I'm interested in making independent 2-D hand-drawn animations, and want to use gesture drawings to improve weight, movement, form, and line efficiency. I'm not as concerned with precise anatomy or shading, though I may focus more on these once I have more practice and confidence with animation.

Also: I exclusively draw with gel pen as a tactic to not fus over mistakes, and I'm able to almost exclusively use my shoulder and elbow (rather than wrist) while drawing.


Hi! These are great for 30-60s. The detail is clear and communicates the whole. A few in particular I love, for example the bottom middle on on the right page.

I wouldn't really call these gestural drawings, they are too neat (at least compared to mine). That leads me to my main critique, the drawings can feel formulaic--in the sense that each upper leg is always comprised of two opposing lines, the bottom one being the curve and the top one being the straight. Yes, this is usually true but I would like to see more play. What if you indicated the top of the knee? What about the line of the quad muscle?

Now, this formulaic issue can also be a boon, especially for animation where one must draw many frames in succession; having the same construction can be vital for readibility. Still, I advise for more experimentation in this phase. Try using a pencil or charcoal and seeing how your flow changes.

You have great control and indication of the feeling of every pose. That's huge! And a great foundation.

Mess 129

Hi Zhaoxiong, thank you so much for your feedback! I definitely see what you mean about the "formulaic" aspect of where the curved/straight areas end up. I'm thinking about doing some single-line contour drawings to practice seeing the inner form/soft+sharp areas better & increasing fine motor control. I'll also look into experimenting with other tools, and I really appreciate your suggestions.



I suggest you change from a gel pen to an angled marker or a brush pen.

You will still not be able to fuss over the lines, but you will have more dynamic line quality, variation and expression throughout your works.

I feel it would also help you achieve your goals faster because the variance in line can create weight, form and help you express your economy of line. Unlike rounded tip pens, like gel pens, which are designed for the writer's wrist; Good quality varying shaped markers or brush pens are made with the illustrator in mind and the calligrapher. (These are artists tip implements)

Secondly, I would like to try for more accurate proportions. I know this is a gesture, but if you can be accurate faster, your overall mistakes will be less, and your ability to spot mistakes will be faster.

All the best,

JCML Fine Art

If you would like a reference to try, why not Steve Hustons Figure Drawing for Artists. It's a great book for drawing exercises. It is low on words and high on illustration of what he is trying to teach to the page, a nice quick read and a long look.

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Mess 129

Hi JCML Fine Art, thanks for your feedback! I hadn't even thought of using an angled marker or brush pen, but I'll definitely be trying them out. They sound well-suited for the kind of practice I'd like to be doing, and especially with making each line more deliberate/meaningful/economical.

I'm currently shopping around for art books, so thank you for your suggestion! I had initially wanted to build better sketching habits first, but at this point, I feel more ready to start doing more formal anatomy studies. I definitely don't want to get stuck in habits of innacuracy, or being unable to identify errors of proportion/form lol. Thank you again!

Ori Concept Arts

Advice is try to go for more flowing lines when drawing your pose , look at drawing demos by Glenn Vippu


Your sketches look amazing! I think having consistent height plus measurements would work wonders when it comes to animating as well! Keep it up, I believe in you!

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