How can I improve my gesture drawings?

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Polyvios Animations 1 day ago.

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    Good morning/afternoon/evening!

    I recently started practicing gesture drawing to improve my works as, to my disappointment, I haven't been able to draw as I'd like for some time now, and went on testing theory after theory until it all boiled down to lack of understanding the fundamentals.

    Gesture drawing was always something I struggled with, the same goes with reference images and copying — something just doesn't click and I have extreme difficulty translating what I see to the paper, the angles are all wrong, the positioning is all wonky, line quality is mediocre at best etc. And now that I've gotten into practicing and studying again, I feel I'm finally doing some progress... Except it doesn't look right.

    I need some guidance on how to just start making these figures look like, well... Figures! The shape just looks wrong and I don't know how to improve my lines since they look so messy and scribbly here, perhaps it's just a lack of confidence, also, ignore the Japanese text at the top, it's just personal notes since I'm studying the language. A lot of these are unfinished because they were timed sketches, you can see I started off attempting to use cubes to define the form but dropped it right after, it wasn't being helpful due to the time constraints and somehow circles seemed to help me much more.

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    I think. the point is perseverance. The same problem persists for me as well and I am sticking to it for the moment. It's also important to look for the lne or weight of the gesture that one is looking at and then move on from there to flesh it out.

    Am I making sense?

    • Saxman26 edited this post on May 30, 2021 7:22am. Reason: spellings

    Yes, it does make sense, I guess it's due to lack of practice. I'll keep trying and see ways to put more emphasis on the line of action, thanks for your feedback!


    You said you started practicing recently. With that knowledge your sketches look mostly how they are supposed to look. Especially the 30 sec practice is not intended to lead to completed images, the size and placement of your ovals that indicate head, chest and hips looks natural.

    It takes some time for your brain to learn to fully anticipate what the result of the fine motions of your hand and pen will be when drawing, and until that time has come, drawing will feel clumsy and the results will be somewhat unpredictable. The only way to overcome that is to give your eyes regular opportunity to watch your hands draw, ideally daily. Those neurons need stimulus to grow. Even if you are too tired to concentrate on formal courses, just watching your hand scribble away will provide some of that stimulus.

    You can also include some warm-ups to practice just drawing straight lines with an exact start and finish, or perfect circles and ovals. We all feel like we should already be able to do this, but it also takes some practice, which is a bit frustrating to admit to yourself when starting out.

    That said, I would like to make two recommendations. One is just the site It's by Stan Prokopenski and offers Free Courses and Premium Courses. The Free Courses contain really all the content and examples you need, and teach a very step-by-step progression from line-of-action and indicating masses (where you are at) towards an extremely in-depth understanding of anatomy.

    The prices for Premium Courses may seem a bit daunting, but they really do not offer so much more. If you followed along the free courses and feel grateful for what you learned, you can buy one to support Proko, and will get a bit of extra content as a thank-you from Stan.

    My second thought is about the size of drawings. You, like many beginners, start with a lot of drawings on one page. That has the advantages, that you save paper, that you don't have to spend time to switch the pages between the short sketches, and that it is easier to scan and publish the result of an entire lesson in one go.

    I would recommed to get a clipboard and a stack of regular sized writing paper to practice instead. Paper isn't that expensive, and flipping pages doesn't take that much time once you are used to it, so the only real drawback is, that scanning and publishing takes somewhat more effort.

    The advantages are:

    -You get used to bigger drawings right away. That way you will automatically start to involve elbow and shoulder movements more from the get-go and won't have to retrain that much later on, when you want to go to bigger formats. Our fingers and wrists are usually pre-trained from learning to write, so getting the bigger joints involved is more of a learning curve. You may as well start early.

    -Bigger drawings use longer lines, which is one part of improving line quality

    -You immediately train with the goal of using the whole page, so your brain gets a bit of a starter course in composition without much extra effort.

    Another training resource that helped me personally a lot is It's also free. It's focus is on perspective drawing rather than on figure drawing, but especially the first lessons give a very good introduction towards improving line quality and control.


    Follow the advice of Aunt Herbert. I personally went the same route: Proko figure drawing course (the free one) and Drawabox.

    Just be patient and practice gesture every day. With time you'll start to enjoy it.


    I was in the same slump, did tons of gesture drawings for a couple of months but it didn't really help me to draw the figure from imagination.

    It was only after reading Michael Hampton's book that I realized the hidden patterns of the human body instead of going for the contour most of the times or a very flawed gesture.
    The trick is really about capturing the spine's gesture, then every other mass follows. Head, Ribcage, Pelvis. Once you can feel the movement of the spine you can place them easily and believably on the page with just a few marks.

    Then you can add wrapping lines to show the perspective and render whatever, but the foundation of everything is still your gesture.


    OK I just can't found this free proko figure courses that literally everyone been talking about. I had looked it up but only seen the premiere one. Am I searching with the wrong word or can somebody kindly attach the link plz.
    Update:Is this one on the youtube?



    Hello and good morning, Mihoy. Welcome. Say, you're doing a far nicer job on attempting to share us your images. I'd love to critique your images, but the links are dead, so would you like to please go for Imgur or whatever more reliable to post your drawings there?

    The reason why you could and would and should do this thing is because, it's a more safer but more reliable way to share your works on Line of Action. All in all, if I was to give you some construcive critiques, I'd say just have more and more self faith in yourself and anything and everything that you do and can and will do. Thank you.

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