Drawing the human body is tough, and the only way to get better at it is through practice – lots of it. One of the best building blocks to drawing an exciting and accurate figure is to practice gesture drawing. The purpose of gesture drawing for those who are not familiar with it is to capture the human figure (or animal) in motion using expressive lines. Ideally, this is done quickly, a pose lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, leaving out details, like facial expressions, so movement is the only focus. So why am I telling you all about a drawing practice that’s been taught in every life drawing class since the beginning of time? Well, it’s all because of my iPad and a drawing app called Procreate.
The more I use Procreate on my iPad to draw, the more I realize how powerful of a drawing tool it is. I’ve used a Wacom tablet for years, but I’ve always hated being tethered to my desktop and not to mention learning to draw while looking at the screen, takes coordination that only comes with a lot of practice. With the iPad, I can draw anywhere there’s a steady flat surface. That means I can sit on the couch and watch TV with my family, soak in some sun outside while listening to the birds sing, drink overpriced coffee at the local coffee shop, you get the idea. So what’s the problem if this set up is so great? Have you ever tried to draw on a glass pane with a plastic tipped pencil (I use the Apple Pencil)? As you would guess, it’s a bit different than drawing with good old graphite and paper. I struggle with control. My hand glides so smoothly over the surface, and before I know it, I’m off the artboard, or my lines tend to look like I’ve been over caffeinated, all shaky and overlapping, indeed not the effect I’m going for.
So this is why I’ve started to incorporate the practice of gesture drawing into my daily routine. I aim to do it first thing in the morning, it helps limber up my hand-eye coordination, for about 15 to 30 minutes depending on my schedule for the day. It’s only been a month, but I feel more confident picking up the Apple Pencil now than I did before. Below are a few examples of my progress. Do I think its working? I believe it is.
I did get a bit more detailed in the last two drawings, more than what a traditional gesture drawing should be, but I was having good fun and wanted to spend more time on them.