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Nsio explains: Dynamism by Nsio Nsio explains: Dynamism by Nsio
Fourth part (if excluding facial proportions) in my tutorial series. Probably my favorite thing about drawing.

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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cosmic-neko Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
are your god?
Antman537 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2018
Excellent tutorial! Just what I was looking for
nexgencn Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
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 Featured By Owner Edited Sep 14, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The fourth example at the bottom might explain the golden ratio just a bit.
PinkRobin123 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2017
Wait... Are these touhou references?! I now love you so much ^^
xiaoshan-angel Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
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 Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2017
I ought to employ your tactics in my own ratings.
Thanks for the tips.
DarkLored123 Featured By Owner Edited Jun 4, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
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:…

Thanks :D 
Nsio Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
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 Featured By Owner Edited Jun 5, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
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 :)
Nsio Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If anything comes first, it's the idea. Just one or few dynamic lines are enough to convey an idea. Everything else is built upon the idea. Whether you should draw dynamic line first, later or at all isn't so straightforward though. The idea might not be completely clear right from the beginning. Sometimes you need to let it come to you by sketching and seeing what you come up with. The more you draw and understand how human body works and behaves, the easier it is to link an idea to the pose you are aiming to draw. Experienced artist can feel the dynamism even without physically drawing the line of action. I suggest that you constantly observe your own behavior to build up your own experience.

How you choose to use the tools is totally up to you. If something works better for you, like drawing the line of action somewhere else, then go for it. You will need to try it out yourself. 
If you feel the way you are doing things is limiting, then by all means try doing it differently or focus on something else. Unfortunately I can't determine your way of drawing without knowing every single factor in your mind.

Bear in mind though that dynamism is an advanced concept and while you should implement it early in your drawings, your primary focus is on getting perspective, proportions and symmetry in place first. If you struggle with the basics, you will not be able to determine whether you are on the right track with the concept of dynamism either, because your efforts simply don't show up. That said, it's possible that you have already grasped the concept of dynamism, but your other skills haven't caught up yet. It can also be that while you focus on the prerequisites, dynamism will come to you automatically.
canttel Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh  get it now. 

draw your characters without the socks and thats how you do dynamic posing right?
Venomrabbit Featured By Owner May 8, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Without the socks?

Mind explaining that for morons like me? I'm still really struggling with dynamic posing...
minflori Featured By Owner May 8, 2017   General Artist
i'm guessing it's a joke since the non dynamic pose has the girl wearing socks and the other dynamic ones have her not wearing socks.
Nsio Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yes, good to see you grasped the concept so quickly
DisturbingGreen Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2016   Artist
thank you once again, this always saves me...
RyugaSSJ3 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
It all makes sense now!
4-X-S Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
This is something to do after one had the solid grasp on the design pattern of a character. Design a posture can be challenging, in terms of purpose.
Conclusion: Cirno is wearing a panty with stocking, that is not a boxer, my eyes refuse to see it that way.
Kendaiblue Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
That's not boxers, they're bloomers.

Widdle baby bwoomers.
FingerMyNose Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
cool stuff but i need help with creating dynamic poses.
Keaton97 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2016  Student General Artist
try gesture drawing from real life
Minty-Eevee Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2016  Student General Artist
Brilliant! :)
Venomrabbit Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm just trying to understand the line of action myself and it's actually giving me a lot of trouble. I think it's mainly to do with actually placing the body parts once the line is done. I often see a line go right through the center of one of the legs but it always messes up my placement. As long as the body generally follows a general flow does it matter how the leg(s) specifically relate to the line? Like if it's a pose where someone's crouching with their legs apart can the line go between the legs? Or are there some other rules for when and where the line specifically applies to the legs?

I'm probably not explaining it very well but basically I keep tripping when it comes to placing the body and its parts on the line. I guess I'm just a moron for now knowing.
Nsio Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
There are no definite rules with line of action. The drawing just has to have the feel of flow in it.

If you try to force the pose on the line, you are doing it wrong. It's not like you couldn't adjust the line and the body afterwards if either of them seems off. There is no such rule that once you have drawn the line, you can't change it anymore. If you follow the rules too literally, they will restrict you. You need to experiment and see yourself what works and what doesn't.

Also, while it's called a "line" and visualized as one, it's not really a line. It's more like a dynamic shape that manifests itself within whatever you are drawing. So yeah, as long as the body generally follows the line, it doesn't really matter where you imagine the actual line is. Sometimes the body will have very distinct flowing line that's clearly visible, but generally it's more like a dynamic shape going trough the pose. Typically the visible lines are secondary line of actions which make the individual body parts and their connection dynamic.

However, if you have a character crouching with their legs apart, the line of action usually goes trough either or both legs. It depends on the viewing angle and the pose, the line of action goes where it looks the most natural and powerful. If this isn't possible, then you can also use any other element in your drawing for the primary line of action. For example, if your character has a tail, drawing the line of action going along it can be very valid option. Hair, weapons and clothing can also be used for the line of action, it's not limited to the body alone. Though it's good to note that if some parts of the drawing are static and don't contribute to the dynamism, they will weaken the overall feel of dynamism.
KomaAki Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ahh were looking for this one!, great tutorial!
CountDraggula Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2016
Man, this is a great tutorial!
May I ask where you learned this? I really want to add more energy to my characters, and I'd love to do some further reading, maybe more examples?

Thanks for the already super useful help!
Nsio Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks :)
"Force drawing for animators" is one book I could recommend. It does pretty good job at explaining how to work with dynamism. It's been so long time since I started drawing that I don't remember other sources I have used :D
CountDraggula Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2016
well, thanks a lot for the help! more energy is something I've been trying to inject in my art, I need to get used to it!
ThestralWizard Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist thank you!
Cuddly-Kodiak-Bear Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2016
I'm always having trouble with this and my characters lack personality because of it.  Thanks for the tips.  :)

But, a question: Does this mean that you necessarily don't have to add a line of action before sketching or is it one that develops in your mind's eye as you sketch your drawing?
Nsio Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Line of action is a tool to visualize dynamism. Since beginners can't see dynamism naturally, it's a good idea to first draw the line of action and then follow it. Seasoned artists usually understand dynamism so well that they don't necessarily need to draw it. However, it's not a rule that only beginners should draw it and good artist shouldn't. I would say that always draw it and once you are pretty good, try making the workflow more efficient by skipping some steps (like not drawing the line of action).

In practice, I usually draw the line of action when I'm unsure how to continue with the drawing. I may also draw line of action after finishing the sketch to check whether my drawing looks dynamic or not.
Cuddly-Kodiak-Bear Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2016
Ah, I see, thanks so much.  I'll start using the line of action from now on until I get more comfortable.  Thanks for taking the time to reply. :)
KingShovelton Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very useful sketches you have here! ^^
huynhquoc Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Oh, that's what I need now, many thanks sir!
TheSkullyCat Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Very useful Thank YOU!
kukuro-kun Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I need this to practice dynamic poses!
Celineeeeel Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2015
That helpes me alot! Thanks for your tutorials :)
DANJAMESV Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2015   Digital Artist
i need so much practice lol thanks for making these i have alot to to learn but i feel like your tutorials help ALOT
HyeeMi Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015  Student Digital Artist
It's amazing! *-* thanks!
Jack-Hoo Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2015  Student General Artist

I just wanted to tell you I've been following your advice on the line of action, and it's working like magic! It's liek suddenly my drawings became a lot more vivid and natural, and not so stiff. Thanks a lot for making this, it helped me a lot :D
ArinceWang Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2015
This tutorial is really helpful,and you do like Cirno!
hisonae Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2015  Student Digital Artist
your tutorials are very helpful!
modrawmanga Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2015   Digital Artist
excellent, thank you for posting this
00Nowhereman Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
wow thanks XD
CommonFire Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Thank you I think this well help a ton ☺
OiRenka Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2015
This helped me a lot :)
LennyB8000 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
One obsevation about this technique:
 "Take care of your anatomy skills"

Your examples haven't anatomy problems. I'm only advertising that when we're starting playing with these lines, we use to lack on anatomy skills.
Nsio Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh I'm sure my examples have their share of anatomical problems. But that aside, yeah, this technique doesn't make up for lack of anatomy skills and knowledge. There are no tricks, but dynamism is a great way to justify things in drawings.
LennyB8000 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
I think that so too. The drawings made with this technique have something more fantastic to see.
I was advising about when I was starting to use this.
I was to focused on dynamism that I'd let aside important anatomy fundaments.
DrunkenMantis Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you. I've been looking for this kind of tutorial for ages.
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