What is Gesture?

5 min Gesture Drawing
5 min Gesture Drawing
It is a type of responsive drawing that will help you capture your first impressions and further articulate your message. It is also an abstract concept that tells the story.

Gesture drawings or these quick sketches focus on the big picture, not the details. They are drawn within a short amount of time (in as little as 10 seconds or up to 5 minutes).

Drawing from life is often preferred over a photographic reference as it allows views of the model from multiple angles and without distortion of the lens or in poor lighting conditions.  

Gesture and rhythm (from Greek rhythmos" any regular recurring motion") are often used interchangeably. We usually associate rhythm with music, however in the visual arts, rhythm can be found in everything and it can also be exaggerated to move the viewer's eye through an image.

All organics or living things within the natural world have rhythm. In landscape, you will find these repeated patterns in the sea, clouds, trees or mountains.

In still life, look for recurring lines, shapes, values or colors with a strong element of opposite or different conditions to create a sense of movement or pattern.


In figure drawing, it's the movement that connects contours, forms or tones. Analyze motion within a series of model poses or by observing animals. You may have to exaggerate body language or the action in your drawing to get your point across.


The "Line of Action" or directional line of the pose connects the pose from head to toe. Look for the longest axis to find the fluid line of action that connects all of the parts. 

The repetition of short drawings without pausing forces the artist to work intuitively. The other benefits of gesture drawing are self-training, it will improve your ability to draw.

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