A gesture drawing is work of art that is done rapidly. In terms of figure drawing, it means that the artist is concerned with capturing the essence of the pose. During the workshop participants drew a series of poses in a short amount of time, ranging from as little as 30 seconds to as long as 2 minutes. Creating gesture drawings allow an artist to capture poses that cannot be held by a model long enough for a detailed study. As well, this practice reinforces the importance of movement and action which can be overlooked during a longer drawing session.
Below are examples of gesture drawings done during the workshop.
The primary purpose of gesture drawing is to help artists understand how the human body moves. Gesture drawings allow you to focus on the effects of twisting on the body, the exertions of muscles, and the natural range of motion in the joints. By making gesture drawing a regular warm up exercise, your students will develop an instinctive understanding of human body proportions which will help them when they go to create more elaborate drawings.
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Having students mimic a model's pose for a few minutes before drawing also helps them to physically understand how the model's body is in tension.