I see a consistent problem with a lot of artists. Their figures lack luster. They’re, dare I say, boring.

Their figures have no life. They look, well, like lifeless figure drawings.

Why is that?

Well, could be several reasons.

One is some people just draw what they see. Which is great if you’re drawing an apple, a pear, or a tree.

But for drawing women? You really should consider the power of gesture drawings.

The gesture is where it’s at

When you draw a gesture drawing, you’re giving life to the image. You can really tell the difference between a figure drawing based from a gesture drawing versus a drawing that isn’t.

The former looks more alive. The latter may look more realistic, but it will look flat to the potential buyer.


The gesture drawing gives motion to the drawing. Even in the example I’m using for the featured image, you can see Katie looks very alive.

She’s Selene, Goddess of the Moon, and simply sitting on the moon. Yet, she looks so alive.

That’s because she’s based on a gesture drawing from a live session.

Line of action

Can you see the line of action?

Sure, it’s not actually seen. But it’s there.

That’s what I based the drawing from. It’s such a big part of the drawing.

Keeps the drawing loose

And third, the drawing is loose.

You get to the point where you can do the drawing super fast. And it becomes the painting that takes all the time.

The pencil drawing underneath the painting? I probably did that in 15-20 minutes, tops.

The more you practice gesture drawings, the faster your actual drawing becomes. I’m loose. I’m confident. I feel good when I’m doing the initial drawing.

You will be too.

You’ll be a lot more confident with your drawing if you base your figure drawing off of a gesture drawing.

Criticism of gesture drawings

I’ve seen a lot of people online saying “why should we bother with gesture drawings? Why not just draw?”

Then, you see the results.

Their figure drawings look boring. Lifeless. Dull.

Don’t get caught up in that cynical garbage.

The reason art teachers teach gesture drawings is to get you to really add life to your drawings, they keep your drawings, your hands, and your coordination loose, and they really speed up the drawing process once you get good with gesture drawings.

And a side bonus?

They make your drawings sexier!

Categories: Art technique


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