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Nsio explains: Dynamism

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Fourth part (if excluding facial proportions) in my tutorial series. Probably my favorite thing about drawing.

Dynamism
Dynamism is what makes the drawings so lively. Even a drawing without any real action should be dynamic. Dynamism makes your drawings look more natural and interesting to look at. It can also make up for many mistakes and even make them look intentional and part of the drawing.

Line of action is the manifestation of dynamism. It's a sort of invisible line that (I believe) everyone can see subconsciously. I find that there are two types of line of actions: primary and secondary line of actions.

The primary line of action, like the name suggests, is the most important thing in your character. It gives the backbone to the whole pose. That's why it's really important that it's found very early in your sketches. Without this line, your poses will end up plain, boring and unjustified. The secondary line of action is more like a compositional guideline. It helps to justify the positioning of the sub-elements of the drawing, such as clothing, accessories, hair, limbs and shapes.

Regardless the role of the action line, it's main purpose is to add feel of flow in your drawings. This flow is then perceived as dynamic drawing. A good line of action is long, strong and as continuous as possible. These are prerequisites for illustrating dynamic action.
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creathechiboi's avatar

thanks for the info ^^

but now i'm curious and wanna ask;would the line of action of the character at the very bottom right start at the left foot, go up the inside of the leg, and continue up the right side of the torso? or would it be a simple C shaped curve?

Nsio's avatar

If you refer to the character drawn it blue, then yes. I'm not sure how your first and second part of the question differs from each other, for they both are practically a simple C-curve. It's the most easily recognizable path that makes sense.

creathechiboi's avatar

the first question i made is because i thought it was an S shape (turns one way from the foot to the knee, then the other way from the knee and up the torso), and the second i made is just considering the torso as the C-curve, but i see the larger C you're referring to now.


thanks for answering ! ^^

Rainesan's avatar

thank you for the tutorial, now i only have to do is practice :)

sayueproject99's avatar

I like this tutorial, but I have a hard time coming up with a dynamic pose. Dynamism is even my weakest point, all my art looks stiff. After following this I still have a hard time drawing dynamic poses.

Your tutorials are informative and easy to follow.....practice, practice, practice is the key

DrkShepherd's avatar

Thank you for this!

SarahSpyborg259's avatar

Ooo, dynamism could come in handy! :D

ThomsArts's avatar

this is very helpful ...

I am very difficult to draw dynamism,

all my works look stiff ..

thank you!

Kastrone's avatar

Thank you for this

thanks for this.

EthanBurnesMKDM's avatar
Thank you for this!
cosmic-neko's avatar
Antman537's avatar
Excellent tutorial! Just what I was looking for
nexgencn's avatar
I find this is one of my greatest weakness' , I have poses and stuff in my head and somewheres along the line the thought train stops for tacos between my brain and my hand and shit comes out bland. I think my other greatest issue is lack of practice.
Jack-Lant's avatar
The fourth example at the bottom might explain the golden ratio just a bit.
PinkRobin123's avatar
Wait... Are these touhou references?! I now love you so much ^^
xiaoshan-angel's avatar
At one point of time, an instructor of mine once said that my drawings were too stiff. Now with this tutorial, I finally realize what he meant!
adam-ant2's avatar
I ought to employ your tactics in my own ratings.
Thanks for the tips.
DarkLored123's avatar
I have a question, does the line of action determine the distribution of weight for the pose which determines the center of gravity? is that the purpose of the dynamism? In some tutorials they mention that the line of action defines the relationship of the path of shapes and what I've stumbled upon is your recommendation for the book "Force Dynamism Drawing for animators" and it completely seems different from what you are trying to show.

The author of the book explains that rhythm is created by the way gravity is being distributed throughout the figure to create a balance and its a little bit hard to wrap my head around but I got a general idea although it does over-complicate the way of approaching it, so could you clear it up a bit for me? I am a little bit confused about the purpose behind the line of action and whats are its uses.

This is an example of an illustration I tried to apply this concept on but I am not sure if I understood the topic correctly: www.instagram.com/p/BU5mmaJg7C…

Thanks :D 
Nsio's avatar
Dynamism can, but isn't limited to, show how the gravity affects the posture. The force drawing for animators only wants to emphasize that we are constantly under the influence of different forces, and gravity is the most common one. If your character is just standing, then it's pretty much the only force present. Imagine a scenario where you are in a long lecture and you need to stand for a long time. How would you pose yourself? The pose you naturally take is the one that has the most balanced rhythm to fight against the pulling force of gravity. You will notice that you are putting the whole weight on only one leg, and if you draw a vertical imaginary line from your heel, it will go trough the center of weight (because in order to keep your balance on one leg, you need to position your heel directly under your center of weight).

That's of course just one example. Basically it just means that the more weight you distribute off the center of weight, you will need equivalent counter-weight on the opposite site to keep the balance. It can be symmetric or asymmetric. If you tilt your torso to the left too much, you will keep the balance by lifting your right leg to as a counter-weight. The human body will automatically adjust the posture in a way that it's as efficient as possible and that will cause the beautiful rhythm. This is the kind of balance the force drawing for animators is talking about. When you are aware of the forces that influence the character, the more real they feel.

Think about how you would throw a ball as far as you can. You could throw a ball by standing up straight, but it's not how you would throw it very far. Make a note how your body behaves to prepare a forceful action to hurl the ball. You will notice that it's just not the arm that does the job, the whole body engages to the action. That said, the gravity isn't the only force determining the rhythm here. Your ultimate goal is to convey this message loud and clear in your drawings. You need to observe how the human body behaves and works in order to make it feel real in your drawings, even if you aren't aiming for realism.

We are always looking for paths, and we enjoy beautiful dynamic paths the most. We also enjoy harmony, so we like it if several paths follow the same dynamic idea. What comes to your drawing, there is one pretty nice dynamic line going along the characters left leg. The torso continues along this dynamic line, but the sudden change in angle around the crotch sort of weakens the beauty of flow. The rest of the body don't follow the this dynamic line in harmony though, in fact, the other body parts don't follow any dynamic line at all. This is why the pose you drew feel static and boring, although it's not technically badly drawn per se.
DarkLored123's avatar
It is confusing but very interesting, I'd like to ask a few more questions relating to the topic since I want to make sure I understand your message.

From what I know currently is the primary line of action's purpose to represent the relationship of the path of all the shapes in the pose or is it there to define the pose? From what I understand it relates to the relationship of the paths that build the pose rather than define the pose itself. The example I've presented you with of what I did I started from the head and drew the line of action from the back of it and dragged it down to where I'd define the feet would be, am I doing it wrong? I did certainly achieve some dynamism but the way I am doing it feels limiting, would you say my way of doing it is forceful and too literal?

Now moving on to the next question as for the second line of action, should I at my current level be consciously aware of making the shapes so I can compliment the primary line of action or would you recommend that I currently focus on just the primary one?

It is hard to visualize a pose even with the line of action for me, hence why I start with the head because it gives me a starting point, does the primary line of action necessarily needs to  be drawn on the character or can I draw it beside it to use as reference?

Thanks for taking your time to answer my questions :)
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