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How to Draw Gesture – Step by Step

How to Draw Gesture – Step by Step

Last week I explained gesture and this week
I’ll show you examples of how to apply it. If you haven’t watch the gesture video yet,
pause this and go watch it… Let’s take a look at some examples and find
their gestures. 30 Second poses Usually I’ll start with the head, but not
always. If I’m in the mood to identify the torso first, I’ll do that. There are no rules
about this. Then find the gesture of the neck, and the action line to the foot. Looking at
the torso, the first thing I notice is that the left side is pinching and the right side
is stretching. So, the shoulders will be slanted one way, and the hips the other way. This
brings the points closer together on the left side, compressing the forms, and brings the
points further away from each other on the right side, stretching the forms. Find some
rhythm lines for the legs… And the arms. That right there is the most simplified version
of this pose. It’s only a few lines but in 30 seconds it’s enough to explain what the
pose is doing. You might feel like 30 seconds is just too
quick. In that case there are two possibilities. Either you’re brand new at this and you really
DO need a little extra time. You can try 45 seconds to a minute. Or you’re really over
thinking it. Looking at the contours too much will cause you to draw things that are not
necessary to capture the motion and you end up running out of time. Remember to draw what
you feel, not what you see. 2 minute poses Taking 10-15 seconds to just look and analyze
the pose is not a waste of time. It allows you to create a game plan and use the 2 minutes
you have wisely. Ok, so again I’ll start with a clean oval
for the head and then attach the rhythm of the neck following the sternocleidomastoid
muscle. Angle of the shoulders and rhythm of the torso using the centerline to determine
that curve. From a front view ill start from the shoulder a drop a rhythm through the side
of the ribcage to the pubic bone. Get the pinching on the right side and stretch on
the left. Two c curves for the gesture of the leg from the front. Indicate the other
side of the leg with somewhat parallel rhythm, considering the thickness of each part of
the leg. Now I’ll find the arm rhythms, remembering to look for the motion not the contour. And
an upside down heart shape for the breasts. For a head in profile, I’ll start with a circle
for the cranium, angle for the front of the face and jaw. Kind of like a simplified version
of Loomis’s method I went over in my portrait fundamentals series. Get the rhythm of the neck and the shoulders.
In the torso, I’m seeing a stretch on the left side of the back and a pinch on the right
side. Consider tapering/thickness of forms
As you get comfortable ignoring detail and seeing the big picture, you can move on to
a slightly more structural approach. Now you are giving some love and thought to the forms.
Still not drawing any 3d forms but considering them in the design of the gesture. I’m staying
true to the thickness of the form and any kind of tapering from thick to thin, such
as from the hip to the knee. Whereas before, in the 30 second drawings, I wasn’t concerned
about that at all. I was just drawing the motion. If you tend to make your poses stiff, think
of the torso and limbs as a snake. Forget about any bones, hard forms, rigid forms.
Think of it as a fluid cylinder and try to see the motion. Find the c curves and s curves. Draw smart not fast
When you do these gesture drawings of 2-10 minutes, the point of the exercise is not
to draw as fast as you can to draw as much as possible. If you draw as fast as you can
you will have messy, bad lines and the more you do the exercise the more that will become
a habit and eventually you’re drawing ugly lines whether its timed or not. Instead of
drawing fast, draw smart. Simplify the figure down to whatever degree needed to draw it
in the time you have. As the time decreases, just filter out the next least important thing
to finish the drawing in the allotted time. With a 30 second or 1 minute pose you only
have enough time to draw the most essential elements. But keep your lines clean and accurate. Look for a rhythm from the arm all the way
to the end of the fingers. Unless separating the hand to its own rhythm is essential for
the body language, try to find a continuous flow. Starting with the head neck shoulders.. And
then observing the c curve of the torso. The tendency for many people would be to draw
the torso straight because it almost is. The c curve is very subtle, but important to make
her look relaxed. Making it too straight would make her feel tense and stiff. Curve over the breast around the pit of neck.
Another from nipple to nipple and also under the breast curving up to show that they’re
wrapping over the rib cage. This is more important than showing the downward curves of each individual
breast. These curves would go against the large form of the rib cage. They’re important
to show the forms of the individual breasts, but at this phase, focus on the bigger picture
of identifying the pose. Anatomical detailed forms come later. When it’s not too important to show the breasts
wrapping over the rib cage, like, when the ribcage is vertical, I like using an upside-down
heart rhythm. Again, Curve over the breast around the pit of neck and then under each
breast. Make sure the heart is symmetrical and this V shape between the breasts lands
on the centerline and follows the gesture. I’ll use a zig zag in the arm, giving the
elbow a sharp corner. This will add more tension there, which is good because a lot of the
weight of her body is being supported by that elbow. The other arm is relaxed, so I’ll use
a fluid s curve. Curve the shin out at the tibia and then back
in at the foot. It’s very common to see a beginner draw this area straight and lose
the elegant gesture of the shin to the foot. Make sure to think about this motion as you
draw the contour. Or a better way of saying it, think of the motion as you �design�
the contours. Because when you’re designing something, you’re changing it with a purpose. Exaggerate
Get used to being able to exaggerate the gesture. Push the story to be more exciting and clearer
to the viewer. I’ll show you a pose where I’ll push the gesture REALLY far. As far as
I can without breaking it. With this pose I’m gonna try to exaggerate
the motion of the pelvis going back and to the right. So, I’ll rotate the head to the
right to follow this motion. Consider the forms as you identify the gesture.
When exaggerating you need to exaggerate thinking 3-dimensionally, not just 2d curves. Even
though you’re drawing 2d curves, you kinda have to curve them in a way that still makes
sense 3-dimensionally. Gesture is like the eyes of a portrait drawing.
Eyes give the portrait its life and gesture gives the figure its life. Assignment and have fun!
If I were to give you an assignment for this, if this were a real classroom environment,
I’d say get a bunch of figure photos and draw 10 to 20 of them every day. I promise you
will improve. And rewatch this episode and last week’s episode a few times. Remind yourself
what you’re trying to do. And listen for those things that I repeat several times. Don’t
copy, don’t draw the contour, find the story etc.. Also, try drawing along. The premium
section has a lot of videos of example gesture drawings in real time. So you can draw along,
pause if you need to. But most of all have fun with it. Don’t stress over it or get mad
if they don’t turn out good right away. Enjoy the process, and realize that you’re drawing!
It’s a treat to just sit down and draw for a while. If you’re having fun and enjoying
yourself, you’ll learn better. What’s in the premium section?
If you want to see more detailed explanation, plenty of examples and more premium videos
check out For every free video that I post during this figure series,
I’m posting additional premium content on In this free video I showed 7 examples
poses. In the premium section I show 41 examples, with more tips on specific areas of figure
gesture. That’s over an hour of video with about 30 minutes of narration. And we’re just
at the beginning of the figure drawing series. Visit for more details. In the premium section, I’ll be posting student
work and videos of me correcting those student drawings. That’s where you come in.. So, practice some gesture drawings using the
concepts from this lesson and last week’s. Post your drawings on your Facebook page,
tumblr, blog, forum, wherever you like to post your artwork. In your post make sure
to mention this video and include a link to it. Email me and tell me where I can find
your drawings. Make sure to follow the guidelines that I describe on Everyone
that participates will be able to download that critique video. So go! Go practice! And
then post… Oh ya and then if you need poses to draw from,
I have some photo sets that you can download at If you like this video, share the wealth,
tell your friends. Post it on your favorite social network. Click this button here to
subscribe to the Proko newsletter if you want to be updated about new videos. Buh Bye!

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100 thoughts on “How to Draw Gesture – Step by Step

  1. Warning long comment but worth the read to the end I hope. You are an amazing teacher. I’ve been doing self line drawings with the gesture of my feelings lately. They are all about feeling through gesture lines and When my husband found them he said they were amazing. I normally watercolor paint and he doesn’t resonate with them ever. In fact he’s normally annoyed that I’ve spent time and money doing them. But these spoke to him. When you say it’s all about the feet of the gesture – you have nailed it. Your tutorials are so articulate that I can see what was done intuitively has some technical errors and they will be better once corrected and not loose the feeling created. I’ve used charcoal with restraint in any thicker lines to imply dimension so to me when redone with techniques you have taught me I have a framable exhibition which takes me back to my childhood first love / obsession with drawing in charcoal and dreams of being an artist. I’ve already had a successful exhibition in a different medium but the idea of doing one that goes back to the essence of my passion for art at its very core makes me happy at a time of extreme difficulty. Over the part 3 years I’ve had two trauma accidents which came from no where and I now have a number of impairments including servers seizures that leave my old life as a working, athletic, active Mum with my kids impossible. But my daughter saw me draw a few years ago after the first accident and insisted that when we got back from our beach holiday -where I can only watch from the sideline each year – that I must go straight to the museum and resister muse as a artist (the words of a six year old) but she wouldn’t let it go so through recovery I created and was asked to exhibit. 6 months ago after recovering from the first head trauma and truck hit me and now it looks like I’m left with epilepsy and chronic pain through my entire body for life. – So i want to thank you for being so high energy and passionate in your delivery, for your time, for sharing your gifted talent and knowledge. For me you have given a gift of inspiration that brings true happiness to my very different days and life and with all that said if you’ve made it to the end…… once again thank you, with all my heart.

  2. Isn't it bad to start with the head? It's the point which gives you the least information compared to the spine, pelvis and ribcage.

  3. Imconfused. I dont see the videos on how to learn to start drawing bodies. What video do i need to start watching to learn how to draw ? Im eatching this videos to learn to draw animation animated charactera. I dont know how to draw bodies and i want to start learning now.

  4. There are so many good tips that I hear, and I hope understand, but when rewatching after a year or so still have a-ha moments. Tips (that doesn´t make sense if you don´t watch the video):
    1. Use C.S.I. lines
    2. Start with the head, or torso, or watever. No rules.
    3. Look for Pinch/Strech
    4. Don´t overthink it. Draw what you feel not what you see. – Big one!
    5. Create gameplan (don´t just start doodlin´) a.k.a. Analyze the pose.
    6. Look for motion not contour – easy to say….
    7. After establishing CSI think of the ratios/proportions that you´ll make with 2D lines while thinking 3D.
    8. If you draw stiff poses: Forget anatomy and just draw fluid cylinders (snakes) – C/S curves. – Big one! (for me)
    9. Draw SMART, not fast. Filter, filter, filter….clean and accurate line.
    10. Continous flow…..rivers and waterfalls (added this).
    11. Wrap the forms..
    12. Exxagerate/design the 2D curves while thinking about 3D forms (lines should represent tips/endings of the exxagerated forms, if I got this right)
    13. Gesture gives figure life like eyes gives portrait life.

  5. I watched a lot of Proko again and again. Then I see my kids drawing.


    Drawing is hard because I draw what I see. Not draw what I feel.

  6. watched. now i m going to start drawing again after 25years not drawing at all. yesterday i noticed that i lost all the feel to draw and no sense of directions on everything to draw.. thx so much for your vids 😘

  7. when your parents look at your history and this your only source of porn 9:30 lol (but seriously I learned a lot of good drawing tips in this video)

  8. When the best advice is draw what you see but you don’t know what you need to be “seeing”, you pointing out what I need to look out helped me a lot!

  9. my problem is getting the proportions right. such as i always make the legs wayyyy to long. i know here its not as important and even his are to long and short technically but his proportions here are still at least close.

  10. 6:10 I've heard different arguments for or against drawing as much as you can as fast as you can. For example, storyboard artists have to draw super fast and I remember Bobby Chiu talking about how your drawings start out sloppy when you draw as fast as possible but eventually your brain can catch up with your hand after a lot of practice. So essentially what your gestures were in 2 minutes you could eventually work down to 30 seconds or so (not unlike the 5 minute challenge you posted the other day)

    I know it is important to be efficient, but if you can do more in less time does it really hurt to do more? For instance, Mike Matessi's 1 minute gestures or Richard Powell's 1 minute gestures which are super dynamic and have a lot of well defined muscle groups. Can anyone else comment on this?

    Here are Powell's gestures as an example:

  11. I tried to do gesture drawing (or at least, the quicker ones) and gave up cause…I literally can’t stop hesitating and I’m trying to see the rhythm and all but…I just can’t?….😞

  12. I can't understand why you keep hovering over the same lines that convey so little anatomical information in their contours. If you drew with perceptual understanding as well as gesture you would have time to render more information in 30 seconds, or a minute, with fluidity like Tintoretto or Tiepolo. In the beginning you may get your proportions wrong but with practice your sense of flow over the forms will lose their wooden character & speed up your drawing in general.

  13. I'm so insanely glad that I found your channel cause this is so useful, like thank you sooo much for uploading these videos 💓. Thanks to you I am improving a lot nowadays and drawing so much more because these videos motivate me a lot so just THANK YOUUUU 💜

  14. So, after fixing messy lines problem, my current main weaknesses are that I keep limiting myself – in poses and art style. I just need to learn that art is everything, and perfection doesn't exist.

    I drew the poses way too stiff because I keep thinking of connection for the limbs, not the flow along the outline. And I can't seem to move on from cartoonish style back to my usual realistic style, so I decided to trace over some arts (don't worry, I won't post it, but if I did, I give my credits) since I'm stucked. Sometimes, I had to rely on others than to myself.

  15. "Do not draw what you see, draw what you feel"
    Note : this is hard to do when you have an ass in front of your eyes

  16. Why do, I presume schooled, artists say rhythms for lines?
    Rhythm of the neck, rhythm of the torso?!

    Do I really need to type the definition of "rhythm" to point out how completely off it sounds
    Literally it sounds as if the word line was swapped for a random word and the ball fell on the word rhythm.
    It might as well have been the word yogurt or dishwasher if you're a freak or something.

    Find the yogurt of the neck then draw the dishwasher of the torso.

  17. I feel so fckin bad seeing how much I suck whrn trying this but I wont stop I really wanna draw It's my dream

  18. Is it right to feel fury and desperation while doing the 30 seconds drawing gestures? I am trying to draw what I feel, but the pencil tip keeps breaking. How can I draw rage in 30 seconds?

  19. I'm really happy I found his video! I've been watching it day after day and always seem to learn something new after practicing! (if that makes sense) So thank you so much!!😁😁

  20. You can find even more gesture drawing examples like this in my premium figure course at

  21. Hey Proko ,

    I just wanted to tell you man… you're doing a great service for people. I paid for over 2 years of art school. I learned a lot, rapidly improved, and I made some invaluable connections.

    I also paid and am still paying a lot of $$$$$.

    I wish I had known about your videos a long time ago because you sir, are crushing it.

    Yeah, people gotta put in the footwork themselves; Make sure they're getting critiqued by people that wont lie to them (Wow man thats amazing and perfect!), and people that know what they're talking about and the countless hours of study and practice. But if they do those things and pay careful attention to what you are telling them…That's basically a world class education at virtually no cost.. and in this industry your portfolio is what matters most. Kudos and thank you so much man!

  22. I keep coming back to this and the more and more I do this, the more and more I admire other artists. I find this INSANELY difficult to do. INSANELY difficult, but there are artists that have managed to learn to do it decently. Absolute envy for them.

  23. I understand gesture. But too bad I had to rely on reference since drawing my own idea looks tiring and stressful XD. Great video btw dTvT

  24. The guesture at 2:00 was a bit wrong.. she was looking straight on to the left a bit.. you had the head tilted quite a bit to the right.. I guess we all gotta keep practicing huh..

  25. The last one was hard for me, so what I did was close my eyes and tried drawing just single lines and that really helped, it gave me a road map for that pose.

  26. Heck, you can switch from using body landmarks, contour lines or the whole subject as your starting point, guess I might need a few more months to get my job fully done.

  27. i have body sketches on my sketchbook and sometimes i bring them to school
    Everytime someone sees it they say it's porn


  28. 顔の骨格が自分(投稿者)の描きやすい骨格になってる

  29. Ok, there's something I don't get about the last figure. Why did Proko switch the C curve of the torso ? In the pose, the left hip from the view of the viewer is more up than the rest, But in his drawing, it's the right hip who goes up, showing the butts at the right when it should be in the left. Did I missed something ?

  30. I like this Chanel..👍👍
    Drawing so look easy guys…haha
    Always share your Video Brother..Ty
    Pokona mah ManTul Euy..😅😆😂

    #INDONESIA Love it 😘😙

  31. Are you interested in what it's like to be a life model for an artist? What the trailer for NAKED, the first feature length life modelling film: This film documents a female artist drawing 3 life models naked. It shows the male gaze, and the female gaze, and it's a film about creativity, body image, and empowerment. You can rent or buy it on Google Play: ; i-Tunes: ; Amazon Prime: ; Vimeo:

  32. Finally, I got it! Continuous lines, maximum length, minimum quantity. Thank you for this tutorial.

  33. And plz tell me one thing when i set time of 4 minute's to draw three gesture image i cant draw even one figure in four minute and its difficult to draw properly

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