Practice tools

New here? Learn how to make use of these tools to become a better artist.

How to use these tools

These tools are ideally suited for gesture drawing practice, but can be used with many styles of drawing practice.

Gesture drawings are works of art created in an extremely short amount of time, traditionally 30 seconds — and certainly no more than two minutes.

Why bother with drawing something in a time period so frustratingly short?

  • One of the most common mistakes that artists make is getting too detailed too soon. This often leads to heavily rendered individual body parts that don’t work as a whole – tiny hands, giant heads, disjointed hips, and so forth. But if you know you only have 30 seconds or less to try and capture the entire “essence” of a pose, your attention will naturally be drawn to the whole.
  • By starting with short drawings and then slowly increasing the time available to you for each pose (as is the case in “class mode” with these tools), you can train yourself to start by working up a general picture before starting in on details. You will naturally stop focusing on any one place to the awkward exclusion of others.
  • By starting each gesture drawing with a single stroke called the “line of action,” gesture drawings help artists to place emphasis on movement, action, and direction, which can be overlooked during a long drawing.
  • Remember: the point is NOT to have a beautiful finished drawing in 30 seconds. In fact, it may not look like anything but a few arcing lines. The point is simply to train your brain to look at the entirety of a pose and understand the direction, energy or twists that make it interesting and alive.

Regular gesture drawing can be a fantastic way to increase your artistic skill. We recommend you start every day with at least five minutes of 30 second gesture drawings. Or, use it as a warm up to a longer work session. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.

Detailed Instructions

Beyond gesture drawing

Gesture drawing is a great foundation skill, but of course there is so much more to becoming a capable artist. That’s why we have an ever-growing wealth of practice suggestions in the Lessons & Tips session. You can also visit the forums to see what other self-taught artists are doing to hone their craft.