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Gesture Drawing Practice: Birds, 30 seconds

Image size
3195x2339px 856.46 KB
iPhone 6
Shutter Speed
1/60 second
Focal Length
4 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
May 13, 2017, 3:28:44 PM
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JKRiki's avatar
Hey RG! I saw your post on gesture drawing over at the Line of Action forum, but I don't have an account over there so I'm posting a reply here.

First of all, good job practicing daily! Doing at least 30 minutes of practice daily is a great thing, and if you can keep that habit you'll improve leagues and bounds over time. Really practice is the only sure way towards improvement. Still, there are a few other things that might benefit you while you're practicing, and here they are. (If you already know these, forgive me, I don't know your level of experience so I figured I'd go over a bunch.)

- Draw from your shoulder, especially for gesture drawings. You want to work large-ish, and be using your whole arm to draw. Try to avoid just flexing at the wrist. The movement should come all the way from your shoulder.

- Try holding your pencil using the overhand or "drumstick" grip, rather than like you might hold a pencil to write with.… This will help you keep loose. If you're not used to it, it's a pain at first because it feels weird, but it's amazingly helpful once you get used to it. It's worth getting used to!

- Pay attention to the rhythm. In gesture drawings especially, rhythm is vital. Don't worry so much about details (they can be added later). Try to keep loose, that helps a lot. And the shoulder thing. Here's a 60 second gesture of a chicken I did just now to try and explain the idea:… Though I'm still learning myself (always, forever) you may be able to see here my intention was to get the flow (some call it a line of action, sometimes) and then build on that with shape and form, always sculpting and keeping things loose, going back over lines if needed. Swooping lines, keep in mind. Work broadly, sweeping. Again, detail (tight, controlled drawing) can always be built on top. But it's hard to add flow and rhythm if you work too tight or tense at the start.

- Study gesture drawings you love, and try to dissect them. I did a search for bird gesture drawings and found this one:… I like it, personally, so I can go in and see WHY I like it. It may just be because the artist has so much experience that their lines are confident and lovely to stare at, but knowing this keep me pushing forward so I can do elegant work. Also, sidebar, reevaluate your inspiration art now and then. As you grow as an artist, some things you used to admire you may find aren't good enough to keep taped to your wall as inspiration. It happens, it's just part of growth as an artist.

Anyway, I hope some or all of that helps a bit! Thanks for listening to me ramble, ha ha. Keep at it and enjoy yourself. Drawing should be fun, even when it's hard work. :)