I am absolutely in love with gesture drawings and the Quick Poses website. I’ve done gesture drawings in the past. The idea of doing rapid-fire little sketches was one I learned as part of my basic drawing instruction last summer. To be honest, it didn’t make much sense. What was the point in scribbling a few lines that were supposed to be human but which really didn’t look like much of anything?
Now that I’m spending more time with figure drawing, I’ve had to revisit gestures, only now I’m seeing them from an entirely new perspective. Gestures are more than frantic scribbles. They’re a method of capturing the essential elements of the human body, seeing the beauty of movement, and breathing life into our art.
That’s how it feels to me, at least. Of course, if you saw all the scribbles in my figure-drawing sketchbook, you’d think I’d gone mad to speak of seeing beauty and life within them, but it’s there. I felt it when I had my pencil in hand, quickly making lines here and there, working to catch — and hold — that one particular moment in time before the world moved on.
Working with a series of poses, I experienced one of those gestalt moments, when suddenly I knew what was happening without even knowing how I knew. It was such a sudden but deep insight that it left me dumb-founded.
I wasn’t simply trying to draw the human form. I was creating the energy of the body, feeling the poses, experiencing the movements involved.
In my own body — my mind, my imagination, my heart, my spirit — I felt the gentle stretching motions of the ballerinas, then took a blow to the gut as a boxer delivered a knock-out. I jumped and soared with a basketball in hand, then all but flew through the air as dancers performed breath-taking lifts.
I’ve shown only two of the gesture drawings I did this morning — these are from a series of 20. I chose these because they were the ones that most closely resembled real people. The others are little more than jumbles of lines. Yet even in those jumbles, I can see the body and recall the movements I felt.
All of the drawings in the series were done with graphite. For the ones I’m showing here, I went over the marks with a Pitt “SC” pen, which is actually more of a brush. For another gesture-drawing session, I plan to work with my pens instead of a pencil, or maybe do a series with soft pastels.
If you’re interested in figure-drawing or simply want a fun “gesture-drawing” experience, check out the Quick Poses website. I used the “timed” gesture feature for my series of 20 figures. I set each figure to display for 60 seconds, and I was able to create each drawing but one within the allotted time. You can choose other intervals, and you can choose the types of models you want to draw. You can even select an “upside down” option — which I’ll be using for a future session.
I enjoy art each day, but this was one of the most enjoyable art experiences I’ve had. My hope is that by learning to feel as I’m drawing, I’ll be able to express not only emotion but physical energy in my drawings and truly bring my art to life.