So what is Gesture? Some people define gestures as action. I think that it is action and a little more. It is the energy or life force of the character or person you are drawing. Essentially, it is the personality and make-up of the subject you are drawing. This helps us get the definition of life drawing. It is exactly that! Everything and everyone has a gesture. Even a rock. The people in our drawings should appear as though they are living and breathing through our drawing. Hence, I talk about making the human form come alive a lot. Gesture is what breathes life into our drawing. Your art will start to take on a deeper level.
When we are gesture drawing, we are looking to do more than merely copy what we are seeing. We are looking to capture the essence of our subject. We are literally breathing life into our drawing. It is started in the block-in step and fully mastered through this next level of gesture drawing. As you refine your block in and break it down into sub-shells, you will see your gesture start to take shape and the subject’s action start to be expressed in its motion. Look at the subject you are drawing and try to spot the body language and what they are saying in their action. These are living creatures and should be thought of as such.
Capturing gesture can be a difficult process at first, but it is nonetheless an invaluable skill that the artist should look to mastering. The first step would be to be able to see the gesture in the subject that you are drawing. You won’t be able to capture it in your drawing if you can’t first see it. Do you see the movement in your subject? Do you see life and what energy it has? Feel what it is to be that subject in order to better understand and capture that essence.
The purpose of gesture drawing is to be able to capture the living energy of whom you are drawing. You want to show what the model is doing and not just the form of what is before you.
Gesture drawing takes a lot of work and practice to master but you will instantly see results to your drawings that will elevate and make them come alive. You will see immediate results. Practice your gesture drawings when you are at a park, at your kid’s soccer games, sitting in a mall, at an amusement park, or wherever you are. Practice anytime you can, quick little gesture sketches to capture the essence of the living actions of your subjects and breathe life into your drawings.