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Procedure and Tips for the Warm-up Art Called Gesture Drawing

Gesture Drawing
The gesture drawing activity helps in mastering the art of sketching in quick time. Techniques and tips presented below should help in understanding and practicing this form of art. Let's draw.
Shashank Nakate
Last Updated: Jul 16, 2017
The method of gesture drawing is used by artists to loosen up, just like athletes warm up before a game. In this form, one has to quickly sketch things he has already seen. Such kind of drawing is generally completed within 10-30 seconds. Using gesture drawing for animation and general sketching is common. This activity helps in creating drawings quickly by analyzing the objects. Let us understand more about this technique through the paragraphs below.
A form of drawing which depicts action or movement is known as gesture drawing. Presenting a human figure in motion can also be termed as gesture drawing. It is the depiction of character/essence of what one observes. The activity of portraying motion through gesture helps depict the relation between forms/objects with their surroundings.
A simple, step-by-step and easy-to-understand procedure of making a gestural drawing is given below.
  • The object to be drawn should be placed in front and observed properly.
  • A charcoal (about 1-1½) should be used for drawing. One should just glance at the paper occasionally while drawing.
  • The process of drawing should be a continuous one. The general shape of object, important curves, angles, etc. should be sketched quickly in order to get an idea about the basic outline or probably the nature of the drawing.
  • The strokes made while sketching need not be limited only up to the outer areas of the drawing. One can also think about working through the basic shape.
  • If the hand eye movement is coordinated properly, one can draw a satisfactory sketch in quick time.
  • To establish the proportion of the whole sketch, it is recommended to draw a line from top to the bottom of the sketch.
  • Once all the basic shapes, angles, curves are drawn, detailing should be completed. The sketch should be created within 30 seconds. Time limit for drawing should be increased gradually for different drawing poses.
Mass Gesture Drawing
To make mass drawings, the general guidelines remain the same; however, few things differ. Lines used for creating these sketches need to be broad. The charcoal should be held sideways for making such drawings. One should start from the interior of the sketch and progress towards the outline. 
Keeping in mind the baseline of still objects is important. Pressing the charcoal harder is the way of adding depth to the sketches that are drawn farther away. The pressure on charcoal needs to be lightened while drawing an object that appears to close in. The light and dark effect is an important feature of mass drawing as it helps in unifying the drawing and creating a rhythm.
Sustained Gesture Drawing
The sustained gesture drawings are created with an objective of combining the activity of the object with its actual appearance. A quick study about what is expected in the drawing should be carried out and appearance of the object should be analyzed. The proportions and scale which defines the dimensions of the drawing should be understood.
Edges need to be drawn beforehand as it helps in developing the sketch further and to carrying out the detailing. The movement or activity to be portrayed in the drawing should be verbalized in the mind. The sketching work becomes much easier with this activity. One should first begin with light strokes and should continue for 2 minutes and stopping only to analyze the subject should be the set procedure. Corrections if any, should be made after analyzing the drawing.
The gesture drawing examples could be anything we see in day-to-day life. One should practice a lot to master this form of drawing.
Woman Thinking
Beautiful young woman, charcoal drawing. Fashion illustration.
Outline of Drawing
Sketch Artist