While I'm still new to drawing, I have found this really helpful for me as I have been learning and I hope it can help out any fellow travelers who are just starting out like me.Gesture drawing sites:r/SketchDaily gesture drawing toolPixel LoveleyQuick PosesSenshiSketchVideos explaining gesture drawing and its traditional uses:Why Bother Gesture Drawing?Quick Pose Gesture SketchesFilm Studies: GestureWhy I do gesture drawings every day, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life:
When it comes right down to it, generally speaking, drawing is not something people get better at by reading books or watching videos. That is not to say that book and videos are not incredibly valuable resources, they absolutely are. But at the end of the day the more you draw the better you get. Drawing is something you practice to get better at. Even the best artists, who know all the tricks and techniques in the world, will get rusty if they don't draw for a while.
The best part about gesture drawings is that they are fast. I generally use the r/sketchdaily site on its default setting of 30 seconds. And I usually manage to work in about 30 minutes to an hour of gesture drawing per day. So that's about 60 to 120 drawings per day. Individually the drawings are generally not great and I make plenty of mistakes but as the drawing start to add up, it gets easier and easier to do. The easier it is to get a figure down on canvas the easier it will be to work on what you're struggling on.What I use Gesture Drawing for:
-Practice my Underdrawings
The better you get at underdrawing the easier it will be to get your fundamental anatomy, proportions and posture onto canvas correctly. The only people who can do good drawings of people without underdrawings are either stupendously talented or have been drawing for years.
I have found that as I have been gesture drawing I have been finding improvements on how to construct my underdrawings. I have developed my own short hand "language" for the human form that works really well for me. Where before I was borrowing underdrawing styles from other artists, and didn't really know what everything meant.
Once you can draw basic figures easily or without having to think about it too much (basically if you can draw a figure from your head in under a minute without any big mistakes) It will be much much easier to learn how to draw detailed anatomy and clothing, without having to worry about whether your arms are the right length/position.Tips for gesture drawing:
-Don't use a tablet (at least in the beginning).
If you are using one of the websites I linked, you will need the screen space for the references. Tablets are also not so great for the kind of fast and rough drawing you will be doing.
-Draw from the shoulder.
Tips one and two from this video by Will Terrell
-Get lots of cheap paper.
Newsprint is usually the best option for cheap paper, but its sometimes hard to find or comes in rolls that are hard to manage. I have found that a good alternative is to buy big stacks of Children's construction paper
It comes in a bunch of ugly colours and some of the sheets are black but you can deal with these problems with the next tip.
-Get some Woodless Charcoal/Graphite
These are very soft and dark pencils that work perfectly on construction paper without poking holes in it. The woodless charcoals will also resist the tooth of construction paper a lot, slowing down your strokes a bit and making it easier to control your lines. There are also some wooded charcoals that come in white that you can use on the darker pages (or you could use white pencil crayons).
-Before every session decide what you want to work on
If you are having trouble with legs or arms make a note to yourself before you start, that you want to work on them. Try to keep it in mind as you work. If you are up to a challenge, change when you draw that area (first or last).
-Don't always start in the same place
I tend to like starting with the head, like I'm sure a lot of other people do. but it is good practice to try starting a drawing from the feet or the torso. If you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again, try starting on that area first. It will be challenging enough that it might shake you out of your bad habits.
-Don't skip hard poses
-Its okay if your drawings suck, or you cant finish them in time.
Making pretty drawings is absolutely not the point of gesture drawing.
-Keep your drawings
I have three shoe boxes full of gesture drawings, and I post some of my better ones on a corkboard behind my Cintiq to use as references if i am having trouble coming up with a pose. Its also encouraging to be able to look at a physical manifestation of your effort. "If I can do all that work, its okay if I'm in a bit of a slump now, I know I can keep doing this!"
I hope this helps