Human Figure Drawing Tutorial from Artist Daily:
13 Gesture Drawing Techniques

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When learning how to draw figure, you must become engaged with your subject. Learn how to draw human figures with artist, Patricia Hannaway as she focuses on drawing movement and carefully portraying poses in this free eBook from Artist Daily. Learn how she begins drawing movement by first considering what the action is. When drawing figures, depicting the action line serves as a sort of hanger, and all the details just hang off it. Download this free eBook packed with tips, and learn how to capture the animation and movement of your subject.

Bringing life to your human drawings is about drawing what the model is doing, not what it looks like. The most important part in sketching figures is being able to show things happening, events occurring or about to occur. Those events are expressed more in the action lines of figures in your pieces than in their surface information. Creating a life-filled figure in your art is essential to communicating with your audience. Dynamic expression of movement brings purpose to the composition of your pieces. The concepts described in this free eBook will give your gesture drawings of figures the breath and movement you've been looking for.

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how to draw human figures

Start with the action line. Hannaway strongly believes that the best way to start drawing figures is by first laying down the action line—a line that shows the shape, force, and direction of the figure's movement. Learn more art techniques today: download your own copy of this amazing free eBook.

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See how master artist Patricia Hannaway surpasses drawing proportions, approaching human drawing in a whole new light. Figure drawings encompass some of the most celebrated works of art today. Painting and all other art endeavors are fueled by the base that these drawing skills define. This eBook is full of examples and is a wide-ranging drawing tutorial that you can turn back to whenever you like!

You'll learn essential figure sketching techniques like carefully placing action lines to capture movement and gesture. Learn to express engagement within the piece as Hannaway walks you through how to draw human movements by capturing the energy of the body. She suggests keeping your pen or pencil on your figure sketching surface and drawing from your shoulder, not your hand. It all needs to go down on the page in one flow. Use the figure sketching skills you'll learn with this free eBook to create figure drawings that stand out from the rest, moving and full of life!


Capturing Poses

Hannaway strongly believes that the best way to start sketching figures is by first laying down the action line—a line that shows the shape, force, and direction of the figure's movement. “Sometimes I distort the forms of the body to accent the action line. Whatever makes the drawing work and read properly on paper, that’s what I try to achieve. I don’t copy what I see; I push the pose, using the model as a reference.” Hannaway stresses that an artist can always tone it down if the action line is too extreme. “But always go to the extreme, then pull it back,” she advises.

gesture drawing

Gesture Drawing

Hannaway began taking note of the ways master artists from the past built their drawings on the larger gesture of the figure. She noted the swinging hammers, rearing horses, and vigorous wrestling depicted in Leonardo's notebooks and the fleeting moments captured in the work of Velázquez. “A drawing stressing movement is more truthful than a photograph that freezes a figure in an instant of time,” Hannaway says. Instead of drawing what you see, you draw to understand something.


How to Draw Human Figures

Hannaway stresses drawing what the model is doing, not what it looks like. She explains that this way of thinking promotes a dialogue between the artist and the model, which enables the artist to capture the larger relationships and "feel" the pose in her own body as she draws.


Figure Sketching

The sketch at the left illustrates how action lines show not only direction, but also force. A line bowing upward along the figure's back will suggest a relatively small force, while an action line of the back bowing outward implies a strong pull.

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Leave behind strict drawing proportions, exaggerate gestures, and learn how to draw figures that are so life-like they're sure to evoke emotion in the audience. Learn how to add the human condition to your art with the gesture drawing guidelines in this free eBook. Surpass your figure sketching skills and learn to create movement and portray the subject's engagement. Download your free eBook today and add emotion to your gesture drawing.

Experience the thought process that figure drawing artist, Patricia Hannaway uses in developing powerful ideas about design and strategy in these figure drawing poses. Learn how she chooses which design elements to highlight, thus engaging the viewer in the human figure drawing itself. See how important action lines are to figure drawing poses and how learning this important step can greatly help you learn how to draw figures.

Gesture drawing incorporates important aspects like analyzing your methodology for how to draw movement in a human being and using the proper figure drawing proportions. But, in the end, learning how to draw figures is more about capturing their essence, what they are, what they do, rather than what they look like.

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