Forum posts by Stu1972

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    Time flies when you are enjoying yourself. Could you take a better phot of your drawings in future? More contrast. Well done on placing the drawing so well centred on your page. Enjoy the ride!


    Hi Janeel,

    I do gesture drawing as a part time hobby, but I have been keeping up 30 to 60 minutes of 30 second gestures each day for over a year or three now.

    I have also wondered often about "what level of realism or detail 'should be' achieved in 30 seconds".

    I find, if I can get the line of action correct, everything else seems superfluous. 30 seconds are great to capture the line of action and perhaps the directions of arms and legs, neck orientation and two lines for the horizontal and vertical lines of the face.

    Once I have practiced half an hour of 30 second gestures, I may take some photos from a bottom draw (from (sport) magazines or Scott Schuman's fashion books, I like to switch my focus from the PC as often as possible). Then I may spend a minute or two capturing more than the line of action. Still I keep to a simple rendering. Then every now and again, I will attempt to draw a figure or two from imagination, this is a very rewarding lesson. I fail terribly everytime, but these are the moments where I notice what may still be missing and what I 'could' focus on improving.

    There are different opinions on this, but I believe, if you can capture a figure in 30 seconds believably (meaning you and the audience can see the flow and recognize what you percieved in the first moment of seeing the figure), then you don't need to prolong the gesture intervals at all. Sometimes I set them up for 45 seconds and find I'm just killing time inbetween. Rack up some thousands of gestures and you will start to not only see figures in your head, you will also start seeing the line of action in people around you. Modelling the limbs around this line is an additional skill, and the degree of realisim you want to achieve depends on your style. Which can change over time, but your personality will always come through if you get the hang of the line of action.

    By the way, the same pose can trigger different reactions in you on different days, so that you could come up with different lines of action for the same pose. There is no real right or wrong, if you are honest to your feeling and you practice putting that feeling to paper, then you're doing it right!

    Have fun!



    Hi Janeel,

    Your grasp of perspective and anatomy is great!

    These are excellent 30 second sketches. What I personally may be missing is a line which describes the big picture. The "idea" you had after looking at the pose (w/o drawing). If you can try to capture that line, the figures will become even more believable. It helps to find the right word (yes, word, e.g. a verb, verbs are good, but an adjective is just as good. "Leaning", "heavy", "delicate", "running", "twisted").

    You can split your sessions into anatomy learning poses/sketches (like you have here) and ones where you just attempt to find that word and communicate it with one or two lines ... I must admit, it is hard, and I am still working on it myself, but the gesture becomes so powerful once you capture the impression you had of the pose.

    So, in summary: practice understanding the impression the gesture has on you and then practice putting that down in a few long lines, then you can model the arms, legs etc. around those lines. And don't forget to exaggerate! You are not in a dialogue with your audience, you have only a split second or less to convince them to continue looking at your character, the idea you initially had needs to be paramount.

    Have fun, enjoy, and let us see more of your sketches soon!

    Love, Stuart

    P.S. here's the type of 30s gestures I'm doing currently:


    Hi Akiresa,

    I hope you are still out there and gesturing away!
    Sorry that you haven't revieced an earlier reply here.

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for the post!

    There are lots of good stuff going on in your gestures.
    You could concentrate more on where the force of the character is going.
    You could ask yourself, "Why are the hips being pushed out like that?"
    Where is that force coming from? That would be an ending point in the line of action.
    Also try looking into perspective and attempt drawing blocks in perspective.
    This will help you build up more control.

    We all start at the beginning and the only real advice is practice, practice, practice, but also don't forget to study ;-)

    I have only been gesturing for 18 months but you can see my progress and what I've changed and tried out on my blog. I use this site and: for practising.

    You can find me here: +

    Kind regards,

    P.S.: come back and show us more, soon!


    Hi Larissa,

    I've just got back from your deviant site.
    I like what you're doing and you certainly should keep up with the good work.
    I especially like that you seem to be keeping a journal of some of the practicing work you are doing (e.g. the nose sketches).

    What I would like to suggest is that you try a few more ways out to capture the basic gesture. I see you have been using the stick figure approach. You can spend a few days (weeks?) just fooling around with gestures, don't be too strict about the lines. Also attempt to capture more dimension in your gesture sketch. Have you seen the "bean" approach? I don't use it, or haven't yet, but I believe it is a very good way to teach yourself twiss, bends and turns of the figure.

    Your figures are good, but very busy with lines. I have found the motto "Less is often more" very tempting and have worked conciously towards reducing my line number on sketches.
    Do not attempt to fix a "wrong" line too often or at all, instead, attempt to counteract the effect of the line somewhere else in your sketch.

    Anyway, that's my 10 cent's worth.
    And as always: practice, practice, practice (even daily) (there are no short cuts)
    You may have already been to my website already (I see I've had clicks from Norway over the holidays), if not, you can find the link in an older thread of mine.



    Hi Elmigloo,

    Happy New Year!

    There are actually quite a few tricks to capture realism and detail (without even needing to be too detailed yourself). It is good to understand the 4 different sorts of shadow (form shadow, shadowline/hump/crest/bridge cast shadow and reflected light). You can practice these with a white ball on your desk with a desk lamp/spotlight.
    It's also good to understand that each line creates a story for the observer. Just the slightest bend in the right direction and you can magic up anything you like. Try reducing your lines and see what you get. On a face or figure, planes of the same orientation should be shaded with the same tonal shading (imagine a cube or column when I'm talking about orientation, some planes catch more light than others) (practice drawing a white tube in your desk's lamplight).
    The real magic appears when you introduce the reflected light too.

    Oh, and the greatest trick of them all is ... practice, practice, practice (there are no short cuts, sorry).

    I can promise you this though, if you keep to it on a daily basis, perhaps only 30 minutes a day, especially doing some organised practising, then you will see progress in no time (but please give it a month or two).

    Kind regards,


    Hi sugarheart!

    First off: congratulations! It is good that you see progress in your own drawings, that's why it also good to date all of the sketches you decide to keep (and as you don't know which ones those will be, date tham all).

    Now, I'm not the expert (as you can see from looking at my blog, you'll find a link in one of my past remarks in the forum), but here is my 10 cent's worth of critique.

    It is a great sketch! I see you are using a lot of shading and that the direction of your lines also suites the orientation of the planes very well. You could perhaps work on a neater style of line for the shading. What confused me a little with your sketch is the lack of a line to help me understand the twist of the abdomen better. You have strong lines on the legs and pelvis. But the abdomen is covered in a sparkling/blinding light and lacks that one little line ... perhaps even the spine (or the lumbar valley it is contained in) could be slightly hinted on. Hair could do with a very slight line to cover the difference of texture (skin vs. hair). I was also a bit confused by the eyelashes, the darkness seems to be hinting on a plane/orientation change. I love the model's right hand, but I'm a sucker for hands.

    Anyhow, this is a good sketch. Don't bother too much about it for a few days. Put it away, after dating it and take a look at it again next week. In the meantime, go for it, looking forward to more of your sketches.

    Kind regards,


    Hi Elmigloo!

    Welcome to the forum!
    And first off I must contradict you. You are a drawer. You took a pencil and drew this portrait. What else can you be?

    If this is your first drawing, even if after quite a while, then it is something to be proud of.
    What I noticed directly is that you wrote you had been working for 2 hours and using an erasure.
    What I would recommend is to make more frequent but short sessions of 30 minutes and to drop the erasure for a while. Make mistakes and look at them, learn from them. (And do it on a regular basis, try to find time for this every day or 3 times a week, like weight lifting, but for different muscles.)
    You need to have the courage and passion to proceed down the path you have chosen.
    And you have chosen the right path, don't listen to those "nay-sayers" or the little voice in your head.
    Stick with pencils for a while if you are comfortable with them. But don't hesitate or forget to switch to another medium (coloured pencils, markers, biros, fountain pens, water colours). Do not stick with pencils, you will be missing out on important lessons you can teach yourself.

    If you like, take a look at my progress of the last years on my blog:

    Happy New Year!



    Dear Sanne,

    Thank you!

    I must admit to have getting really lost in the stylised and loose approach I was following. I am now planning to concentrate on anatomy foremost. After a few sessions, I can see that the dynamics (or flow) of my gesture figures is less, but the experience of struggling to find the correct size and orientation of rib-cage and pelvis seems like something completely new.

    As I know from experience, as hard as it might seem at the time, each struggle will end in a lesson learnt.

    Thanks for moving me from my comfort zone.

    -- Stuart

    I especially liked this site which part 3 of the gesture basics also links to:


    Hi all,

    I've been gesturing on and off now for about a year or a bit longer.
    You can find my gesture pics here:

    I generally do 30, 45 or 60 sec gestures and I find the 60 secs a bit too long, but it's nice to relax a few seconds.
    I'd like to hear from you guys, if I'm capturing the line of action, i.e. the force of the gesture well enough ... and can you see the figure twisting ... is there any weight/gravity working?
    When I look at my gestures, I can remember the photo I was using as reference so lividly, that I'm not 100% sure about the result some times.
    Anyhow, I think I'm on the right track. And the best advice I can give you all is perseverance. Keep to the gesture drawing on a very regualar basis, read up on a few things. And try not to compare your works to anybody elses.

    Anyway, have fun here!

    Bye, Stu


    Hi Super,

    Perseverance, that's all you need. You may want to try out a few different tools and paper, get your hands on the cheapest paper you can find, e.g. unused newsprint from your local newspaper. Every now and again, try to draw someone from memory, a gesture you've seen on the street or a school. Analyse your results. Are you missing knowledge in perspective, anatomy (needs time, don't study this too hard, unless that works for you)? Try to make each line count, or just play around, but consider that the audience will give each line a story, a meaning.

    You may only need 30 minutes a day and in those 30 minutes, try to draw 30 or more figures. Draw the figures pretty small, but think big while doing so (consider the gesture, force, next action of the figure). Concentrate on your weeknesses, once you've identified them, but don't get too lost in them. Don't spend time patching up "failed" attempts. Put them behind you after analysing them for their failures. The analysing is just as important, you'll be surprised.



    I must admit, a year ago, I spent a lot of time watching those youtube videos. Going back to them now, I'm not so sure it is such a good idea to spend too much time around them. I got myself the book "Force" by Michael Mattessi and I was trying out a lot of "messy" gesturing based on Kimon Nicolaeides book. In the end, it was this and another portal which helped me further. I drew gestures for weeks on a daily basis, always taking my time to analyse my "best" results. Also trying out new tricks and tools (charcoal, fine liners, Indian ink). I can only suggest to try this out too. Just go for it. Don't try too hard. Give it a few weeks or months. Take your time before putting pen to paper to find a beginning gesture. Imagine taking on the posture yourself, where would the pressure be felt? Where will the next movement of the model be going? Or just use the 60 seconds to feel your way around the anatomy. Exaggerate perspective, have fun. Good Luck! Stay in touch!
    Want to see what I'm up to?


    When working on gesture practice, I now use an ink pen. Currently a "Faber-Castell Broadpen 1554 0.8 mm", but I'm sure it'll dry up soon, and I'll be out looking for something similar in the shops here.

    I gave up using pencils for these quick gestures, as I caught myself making too many lines and not commiting myself enough to my lines.

    If I draw a line now, and it is "wrong", I just leave it. It is part of the process to see the obvious mistakes I made during the sketch. I'm not looking for publishable results, I'm on a very shallow but permanent learning curve. Reflecting on my mistakes is just as important as drawing gestures on a regular basis.


    Hi pizqit :-)

    When I have drawn sketches or just gestures, I have noticed they are incredibly believable if I have caught perspective and the effects of gravity in a believable fashion. That doesn't happen so often at the moment. Once I understood the importance of these two factors, I began understanding what little importance other factors (especially lighting -- or more specifically shading) have on the observer.

    - The effect of gravity I gain with the correct execution of the line of action.
    - The effect of perspective is sometimes enhanced by the slightest of a curve at the correct moment just in one line.

    With many lines (e.g. via shading) and many curves, the observer and even myself as the creator, are distracted albeit confused. And I may not even notice until a few weeks later (when the image of the reference fades from my mind's eye) that gravity/line of action and perspective were simply not convincingly copied.

    I liked your lady dancing with the silk cloth and the lady twisted on the floor a lot, but ask yourself like I did, especially with the silken lady, if you are perhaps using too much effort with shading at this interval in your gesture drawing activities. I always find the twisted gestures the easier ones, it's so obvious to us artists/observers, where the line of action could be. The more static gestures are the troublesome ones, aren't they :-)

    Don't try to "save" a sketch with shading. Save your time and go on to the next sketch/gestute. Your resulting sketches will be more convincing once you can catch the action and perspective even more believably than you can now.

    Keep up the good work! Look forward to seeing more of your sketches.

    If you'd like to see what I'm up to, visit me here:



    I'm back :-) And I've started on my gesture skills again (link to gestures below).

    I'm looking for feedback on:
    - have my proportion skills improved
    - am I still cluttering too many lines
    - are the figures distinguishable
    - have I caught the line of action (or are the gestures too static)
    - are there enough C-lines? if any at all

    Please take a look at my latest attempts here:

    Looking forward to your greatly appreciated feedback!