Drawing Improvement Exercises – Gesture Drawing

Gesture Drawing Practice
This isn’t good – but it’s just practice!

Gesture drawing is not precise, not detailed, not designed to be a glorious work of art. It’s to teach you to train your eye and your hand, to work fast, to get the motion and flow of the figure down. Apparently when drawing from photographs and our imagination, we get into fixated detailed habits, and this is to teach you to loosen up a bit and warm up.

The best opportunity for doing gesture drawings is having a live model. Most of us do not have this option, so drawing people in day to day life is also great. I know what you’re thinking: People don’t stay still! That’s part of the point. They move, so you have to act fast and get the lines and gestures down quickly.

A third option is the many resources online. These tend to be from photos which is not ideal, but on the plus side, they tend to give you timed intervals: 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, etc. In figure study courses, you tend to start out ultra fast and then take longer for gesture drawings.

Need Gesture Drawing Reference?

/r/SketchDaily References – Pick male or female, the pose, the time, and go!

New Masters Academy – Lots of figure study references here!

You can find plenty more online. But don’t just go for the interesting or easy poses. Get in a variety.


  1. Do five 30-second gesture drawings on the same page. Do it fast.
  2. Move up to three one-minute gesture drawings. Still quickly, keep it loose.
  3. On to two 2-minute drawings, but try to get the whole figure down rapidly to start and then move in for detail. Don’t hesitate to vary your line quality – light loose lines, darker lines, a little shading.