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Dynamic Figure Drawing

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By tigrin   |   Watch
Published: November 8, 2005
© 2005 - 2019 tigrin
It's done! I just spent pretty much all day on this. in pain. Obviously I spent a lot more time on the content than the drawings, but eh... you get the idea, right? This is going to be part of a series of at least two other tutorials I'd like to do... one on expressions, one on color environment (yeah, I'll explain this in the tutorial).

Summary: This tutorial introduces basic concepts regarding line, mass, and form and their application in order to create dynamic movement in a figure. This tutorial includes in-depth analysises (is that a word?) of how line affects the flow of weight and force in a pose, how line creates eye path, how form and weight affect movement, and how dynamic poses express emotion.

I use mostly quadrapeds for this (since I'm most familiar with the furrecat form), but I've also included information for the human figure.

This is by no means a comprehensive tutorial. Just is just what I've learned on my own. If you would like more information about any of the topics in this tutorial-

Further Readings:

Dynamic Figure Drawing by Burne Hogarth
I think everybody knows this guy. Pretty basic but accurate illustrations of generic human anatomy, in particular form and mass.

Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis
I don't think I can recommend this guy enough. His explanations are extremely helpful, thorough, and concise. This book in particular has many, many pages on how to use line to create dynamic and interesting compositions - I didn't cover it in my tutorial just because I think this guy does it perfectly. If you can find a copy of this, it's REALLY worth a look.

"Bringing Drawings to Life" by *GoblinQueeen
This tutorial is pretty similar to mine, but is based specifically on the 12 principles of animation. I also highly recommend giving this a look, she explains and applies the principles well and professionally.

The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams
This book mainly addresses animation, but many of the basic principles of this book can still be applied to illustration. It also has several sections on weight, how weight shifts, and how movement arcs. Pretty much the whole book is illustration, there's so many diagrams and drawings in this. Definitely take a look.

Punchstock
A great royalty-free stock photo resource. I use this a lot when I need references for studying difficult poses.


Think that's about it. :) Hope you guys get some use out of this.
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Comments153
anonymous's avatar
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Alex-The-Bolt's avatar
Alex-The-BoltHobbyist Traditional Artist
I love you. I've always yearned to make my drawings more dynamic. Thank you!
Unit613's avatar
Thank you for this, saved my bacon.
FleurDeVive's avatar
FleurDeViveProfessional
Great Tutorial, thanks for all the hard work, and thanks even more for sharing it!
tigrin's avatar
tigrinProfessional Filmographer
Glad it's useful for you! :)
tdog8193's avatar
tdog8193Hobbyist Photographer
This is very interesting and definitely something to comeback to and study. Thanks!
ShadowLyute's avatar
Good job, well done! This is awesome and very useful. Sorry for the very late comment only recently found it.
KooboriSapphire's avatar
KooboriSapphireStudent General Artist
I'll be using this for help. Thanks for the upload.
AlexKRD's avatar
AlexKRDStudent
Why can't I view it?
tigrin's avatar
tigrinProfessional Filmographer
When I first uploaded this you could have preview images, but now you have to hit Download to view it.
AlexKRD's avatar
AlexKRDStudent
Damn! I don't like downloading things!!!!
tigrin's avatar
tigrinProfessional Filmographer
Why the hell not? It doesn't actually download, it just opens up in a new window/tab.
AlexKRD's avatar
AlexKRDStudent
Okay! You have great art work!
KoT4's avatar
KoT4Professional Artist
great, thanks!
KoT4's avatar
KoT4Professional Artist
It is a dumb question for sure, but...how can i see the tutorial?
tigrin's avatar
tigrinProfessional Filmographer
back in the day you used to be able to just click on it. Try hitting "Download Image" in the top right.
ChachiTonks's avatar
ChachiTonksHobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing <333
IndiaSierraBravo's avatar
IndiaSierraBravo General Artist
A very useful tutorial. It's good to be reminded of these things. I'm far too lazy, and my characters tend to stand a bit too much...

I also liked the layout and illustrations. It was written well, and your examples were good.
Raidell's avatar
RaidellHobbyist General Artist
Incredibly helpful! Thanks!
ShugarShock's avatar
ShugarShockStudent Filmographer
Exceedingly helpful! Thanks for sharing your advice! (:
Cresent-Night's avatar
VERY nice tutorial... I enjoyed it greatly
tryToDie's avatar
i think the information i get, was an important puzzle thing for my brain. i am shoked by this o.O thank you .
xxASKxx's avatar
xxASKxxHobbyist General Artist
Wow, this tutorial helped me a lot, thank you~~ :3
EquidnaRojo's avatar
EquidnaRojoHobbyist Digital Artist
Great tutorial on dynamic poses! ^^ this should be quite helpful! And thank you so very much for the further reading section!
anonymous's avatar
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