How to improve + move forward in fluid poses

Home Forums Critique How to improve + move forward in fluid poses

This topic contains 12 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Swen 3 years ago.

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    Hello Line of Action,

    I've been doing the figure study practices on and off for roughly a month, most often with the 30-minute class mode or in 1-minute/2-minute intervals. I tend to focus on shape and fluidity by emphasizing the clavicle + sternocleidomastoid, and joints in the arms + legs. While I think I have a better understanding about the human shape, proportions are still an issue (legs tend to be too short compared to the upper half).

    I've tried three different methods; the first is using less lines, therefore being more confident in my strokes but personally feels much more rigid, second is sketching stick figures before drawing, and lastly just drawing.

    Less lines:

    Stick figures + studies (2 min total; 1 min for stick figure, 1 min for drawing):

    Most recent practice:

    What are some ways I can move forward in drawing more fluid poses? Is my way of emphasizing certain joints and muscles a good way to practice? Thanks!

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    I like the figure you use to represent your self. All the methods you have used will work. Any and all require practice on your part. Remember: Practice makes better. The stick figures are a good bet to get the movement down you are looking for. You might do a good study of human anatomy - muscles & bone structure so that when you look at a figure, you will know what is where. The internet has much info on these subjects. Make drawings of what you find because it will imprint the information on you better. The use of heads is normally used to measure the body. The legs (hip to knee) and (knee to ankle) are equal & normally 2 heads each. If you are dealing with foreshortening, things will get interesting because the view will look shorter. In drawing legs, arms, or whatever, draw the shape, Perspective could also be involved (remember: things close to you are bigger and if farther away will be smaller). Look at Figure 7 in my sketchbook. It was like drawing a pretzel. Things are going all over the place. In drawing it, I got things lined up with parts that match. I then filled out the flesh. Also, where necessary, I exaggerate the perspective & the foreshortening. That's just me. You do what you want to do. Find a life drawing session near you so you can get live practice.


    Thanks for the insights! I just have a question; what exactly do you mean by "Make drawings of what you find because it will imprint the information on you better"? Do you mean of anything I find interesting or?


    If you study of anatomy, you should make drawings so you will have them at hand. Say you are studying the back. Make a drawing of what you see of the muscles of the backside. You will have these at hand so you can call on them for reference. In drawing your figures, you choose whatever is of interest to you. Figures that are of no interest to you, more on to the next ones. Some figures provided by Line-of-Action are just too dark to tell what is happening. I just skip over these and go on to others that are not in the dark. You can stop the clock on a figure so you spend more time on your selection.


    Hello Allyson!

    This is my first critique on this site! I've mostly been creeping for a while.

    I really love the variety of poses you have chosen for this! I did notice that on some of the poses, the anatomy was not even on both sides of the body. I noticed a couple instances of limbs being different lengths than the other, or the ribs being placed differently on either side, that the pose didn't necessarily explain.

    I think these are great! It kind of inspired me to get out of my comfort zone with poses. Best of luck on your future drawings


    Hi, Allyson!

    I've been working on the same goal recently, trying to make my art less stiff. Since the start, I've always been used to starting my drawings with a basic skeleton, so that's the method I've been using. But skeletons can make your art VERY stiff, especially if you think of the bones as straight lines, as I used to. So what I've been doing that has been working for me is trying to draw the skeleton itself with more flexible lines. Like, instead of straight lines, I'll make slight curves, making sure that they change at least slightly at every joint. That has been helping me a lot!

    Another thing that has also been helping me is making my sketches really scribbly (so drawing more lines, instead of fewer lines, haha) and starting with very light lines. I feel that by doing that, I give myself more options of lines to choose from when I start refining the pose.

    Another technical aspect that I've modified that has been helping me improve really fast is that I've started to draw in the beginning by moving my elbow or shoulder, instead of just my wrist. I know that sounds weird, uncomfortable, and clumsy but it's a wonderful way to make sure our lines are more fluid. This is just to get started with the drawing, like, when you're establishing the line of action and the position of the main elements of the figure (head, ribcage, hips). I got this technical tip from this Youtube video. I think you may enjoy it, too: Line of Action and Technique

    Again, I'm by no means an expert. I'm just a student that has been working on the same thing as you are. I just wanted to share what has been working for me. Hopefully, at least some of what I've said will work for you as well. Keep drawing and having fun with art! Best of luck!


    your 'less lines' are wonderful. they look very natural and fluid and show the female form very elegantly. number two is also very lovely, yet seem a little stiff so maybe focus less on replicating image (if using) completely and maybe more of a gentle, not so sharp motion. your recent study is incredible and conveys emotion powerfully and vividly. bravo.


    Thanks for your posts, allyson-tan, but I've got one small critique on your 1-2 minute figure study sketches, especially gKehZof.jpg. If you look at the figure study on the left-hand side of the sheet of paper, you'll see that you're really doing almost cartoony and exaggerated proportions and lines action, and lines of rhythm. I'm not getting enough life and vitality and feeling of action in that one pose on the left hand side of the sheet of paper. Why don't you go loosen up with 2 minutes of 30 second sketches (20x30 seconds drawings), pretty please? Because, if your goal is to make your study of rendering less stiff and more dynamic energetic and fluid, then you'll get a much stronger idea on less of how your drawing should look, but how fast you can churn it out.

    What my experience taught me is that I could draw more pictures faster that way,and I tend to do that when I'm storyboarding, designing, and rough animating. In conclusion, here are the following books I'd recommend to you: Anthony Ryder's Book on Figure Sketching and Sarah Simblet's Anatomy for the Artist. Hope it can and will be essential to you and your productive schedule.

    Polyvios Animations


    Hi there! I will focus about the fluid poses. It seems like you draw the contour of the body and you want to catch the anatomy soon. Forget it when you start your drawing, you can add the muscles and bones later! Start with something like a stick figure, but use very curves lines, like in 'S' or 'C', you can use 'I' too, but don't make them very straight. Vilppu drawing manual starts with simple lines:

    Study the pose, exaggerate it! In a few lines you must catch the pose, the feeling. Once you have the action captured, you can move to draw the body, start simplifying with boxes and cilynder and finally add muscls and bones. It takes time, but practicing helps. Don't rush.


    Hola ALLYSON, en general veo que las formas y los enfasis de los musculos los estas haciendo bien, te recomiendo mucho que empieces con la linea de acción, con palitos como dices, marcando el esqueleto, para evitar que te queden cortas las piernas recuerda que el tobillo es un circulo /ovalo cuando lo ubicas bien la canilla no queda tan delgada y la proporcion queda mas natural.

    Lo estas haciendo muy bien. te felicito.


    I think in your most recent sketches youve improved immensely! I think what would push your figures further would be to emphasize their rhythm and contours with more rhythmic and repetitive use of line. I think this would push their dimension a bit more so they pop off of the picture plane more, but excellent proportions and choice of poses/perspective!


    If you want more fluid poses you need to draw with longer and more fluid lines. Draw the figure's fluidity and energy, don't just copy outlines.


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