Practice Drawing with Gesture Motion Drawing

This Handy Exercise will Teach you how to Capture Motion and Perspective

Just as an athlete must warm up before a sporting event, art journaling is the artist’s warm up. A great way to stretch out your perspective and focus is through the art of “Gesture Drawing.”

A Gesture Drawing is typically defined as a quick study that captures movement or action. Gesture drawings are typically used as a warm up for many drawing classes. Some teachers will have their students draw a model in pose in a quick time frame from thirty seconds to up to two minutes. Just like stretching, this helps the artist loosen up both physically and mentally when practicing, allowing for less stiff drawing later on. Subjects for gesture drawing typically involve models, performers, athletes and animals.

This sort of practice and repetition of drawing a figure very quickly can also help artist’s understand human proportions better when taking on larger art projects. Many artists will start with gesture drawings before tackling a portrait or self portrait to quickly train their minds to capture the subject’s movements, actions and directions, which are often overlooked in longer sessions. It can also give an artist a chance to draw or sketch more difficult and strenuous poses or actions that can’t be held for a long period of time like a live figure drawing. Some artists who just seek to capture a specific moment or movement can definitely consider their gesture drawing as an end product and learn something for future drawings.

Gesture Drawings 

Time must be emphasized when gesture drawing. An appropriate amount of time must be given per difficulty of the subject. If too much detail is drawn in, the exercise goes from a quick study to rendering your drawing. The key is to let the mind get the basics down. When the time is short, each line becomes more economical and and the rapidness of the sketch forces the artist to concentrate on the essence of the pose rather than other common factors such as the lighting of the subject or background.

As an art journaling exercise, any artist will likely see a greater realism and change in perspective of their drawings. The artist who practices this gains an intuitiveness of the figure that will not only improve the skill and execution of future drawings and sketches, but also save time in which those sketches are executed. These are the benefits of gesture drawing while journaling.

Just as an athlete needs the proper tools to train, using the right tools when art journaling or sketching on the go is vital to the artist’s performance. A durable sketchbook like the¬†Reflexions Field Sketch Book can provide the perfect backing and support for a quick and comfortable drawing experience. Or, if utility is more important, the Artist Survival Book makes for a versatile journal. It has three different types of pages, lined, gridded and plain paper and even a pen loop attached for easy handling.

As time is of the essence, not only is the right sketchbook, but also, the right drawing tool is essential. With a Jerry’s Jumbo Jet black Pencil, any artist can achieve dark, thick and defined lines for the perfect gesture drawing. If accuracy is more important, the Isomars Technoart Technical Drawing Pens can achieve perfect line structure to make sure that drawing is perfect in the short amount of time available.

With the right sketchbook and drawing tool, an artist can practice this anywhere there are people or subjects in motion. A trip to the park on a lunch-break, or quick shopping excursion to the mall can give an artist any excuse to practice. As each drawing should only take up to two minutes at the most, it barely occupies any time and can still give an artist valuable experience. The exercise is also more tricky than it looks. As artists, our eyes often direct us to the details, while gesture drawing forces us to see the forms and movement behind each detail and recognize those things very quickly.

To learn more about art journaling and how it can benefit you as an artist, check out our article Art Journaling Can Improve Your Creativity and to see more on motion capturing art and gestures, see our recent artist spotlight profile on

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