Fun with Figures

My weekend art time is usually spent relaxing and having fun. This is when I love going online to do more gesture drawing and timed sketches.

With gesture drawings, it doesn’t matter how laughable the results are. It’s not about having high-quality completed sketches, it’s about understanding the processes involved in figure drawing, about seeing the movement and flow of the human body and learning how to quickly capture the essence of a pose.

Sometimes, especially when I’m having internet issues, I might be able to get only a few lines on the page in 30 seconds, and that’s all right. Although I shake my head and roll my eyes, when I look back on my drawings later, I’m amazed at how much “information” I can actually put on paper in a very short time.

These quick drawings are not only great fun in themselves but can also be used as “warm-up” exercises for more detailed sketches. The online site Line of Action offers a “class mode” ranging in length from 30 minutes to 6 hours. The 30 minute class features the following poses:

  • 10 30-second poses
  • 5 1-minute poses
  • 2 5-minute poses
  • 1 10-minute pose

I love the looseness and relaxed quality I can get by making these timed sketches, such as this “Weeping Woman” – the final pose of my class today.

Weeping Woman.jpg

I worked on the sketch less than the allotted ten minutes since my internet connection was acting up but even so, I was able to express something of the human form.

One of the most helpful things I learn from working with the model “poses” at sites like Line of Action is the true meaning and value of the term negative space. I know this will help me in all of my drawing.

If you haven’t yet tried “gesture drawing” or timed figure drawing, I hope you will. It’s not only incredibly fun, the results you can achieve in a few minutes are astonishing. Plus, you’ll see improvement from one session to the next.

Here are a few suggestions to make your drawing practices even more rewarding:

  • If you want to improve your skills quickly, try doing a session every day.
  • Use different drawing materials such as charcoal or conte.
  • Challenge yourself by trying more difficult poses.
  • Try drawing the poses with the models upside-down! (Quick Poses includes this option)
  • Learn to see the “line of action” first in the pose, then build from there.
  • Relax, put on music you love, and enjoy your drawing time.

Happy Drawing!


    1. I love Line of Action. They’ve recently added a lot of bird photos, and I’m eager to expand my gesture drawings away from the human form to animals. I think that will be a good challenge.


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