Character Illustration Essentials in Procreate: How To Draw Postures | Cé Marina | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Character Illustration Essentials in Procreate: How To Draw Postures

teacher avatar Cé Marina, Illustrator & Graphic designer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Format & Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Warming up Exercises


    • 5.

      The Body Structure


    • 6.

      Drawing People


    • 7.



    • 8.

      Bonus project: hands on!


    • 9.

      Bonus project: finish & export


    • 10.

      It's a Wrap!


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

This class is a fun, in-depth, and practical exploration to draw gestures and body postures for your characters. I will share insights, best practices, and secret tips on how to draw gestures and body postures to give life to your characters.

We will dive into the body construction theory, we will practice with different and fun exercises to loosen up your hand and finally, we will apply what we learned by drawing a character from scratch. 

Whether you are a beginner or have some experience drawing characters, by the end of this class you’ll learn how to draw gestures and body postures so you can improve your drawing and bring life to your characters.


This is the first class in a series of classes — consider it your pack of essentials where I clarify every doubt I had when I started illustrating characters, that can be useful to you: new students!

In the series of classes, we will cover the essentials of character illustration one at a time. We will learn basics such as postures, expressions, gestures, backgrounds, clothing, and finally how to apply your characters to a real-brief project. You can follow the series one by one or choose the best that suits your experience (or level?)

Each class will be compounded by: 

  1. A first theoretical section, the fundamentals.
  2. A second section where we will do practical exercises.
  3. And a bonus section where we apply all we learned during the class by creating a character from scratch. 


  • Ipad pro with apple pencil
  • Procreate app


  • A sketchbook or paper 
  • A pencil


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Cé Marina

Illustrator & Graphic designer

Top Teacher

Cé Marina is an illustrator specialized in telling brand’s unique stories in a visual, colorful, and engaging way.

Cé Marina is a visual storyteller from Bolivia. After finishing her studies, Cé moved to Barcelona to pursue her dream of doing a master’s at ELISAVA. Over the years, this city has become her home and the nest of her illustration career.

Her experience in graphic design and branding, allows her to have a global vision when working on a project. She is passionate about drawing characters, inventing stories, and speaking through color palettes. In each illustration, she leaves a little piece of her heart.

*If you know Cé, you know perfectly well that vegan chocolate chip cookies are her we... See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro: [MUSIC] Drawing expressive guiders has always been a pinpoint illustrator's encounter as they start, though it can also be the beginning of the finding your illustration style. I know what it means to go through tons of information on the Internet by yourself. It can be a little bit overwhelming, plus you may have heard this word several times: practice, practice, practice, and more practice. Hi. I'm Ce Marina, an Illustrator and Graphic Designer based in Sant, Barcelona. Over the years that I have worked in the illustration field, most of my professional commissioned projects are related to characters. So as time passes I feel I have developed and improved a style and expressiveness of my characters. I gathered the essential information on illustrating characters, all the information I wish I knew when I was getting started to help you in your character illustration journey. I'm backing these essentials into a series of classes starting with this one. In this particular class the main point I will try to solve is the process of releasing the hand to draw better body poses so you can bring your characters to life. I will share insights, best practices, and secret tips on how to draw better body postures to give life to your characters. We will dive into the body construction theory, practice with different and fun exercises to loosen up your hand and finally apply what we learn by drawing a character from scratch. Whether you are a beginner or have some experience drawing characters by the end of this class, you'll learn how to draw better body postures so that later you can improve your drawing and bring life to your characters. I'm thrilled to be doing this class. Join me in this super fun and in-depth unpractical exploration of creating characters. 2. Format & Project: [MUSIC] These past months, I worked on a project for the Barcelona City Council. I had to paint eight illustrations in a big poster format. I drew visual landscapes based on a concept, and created a lot of characters that could talk with gestures and body poses. It was a super challenging but growing experience. But this wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't practiced before. How did I arrive at this point? While in COVID quarantine back in 2020, I thought of a way to improve my character illustration technique. I felt my drawings were stiff onboard. To improve I researched, YouTube tutorials, tried online classes, research for infinite guides on Google, and ask a lot of questions. I consider this when building this part of essentials. I clarify every dollar I had, when I started that can be useful to you newest students. In this series, we will cover the essential aspects of character illustration one One at a time. We will talk about aspects like postures, expressions, gestures, backgrounds, clothing, and how to apply your characters to a real brief project. Each class will be organized by a first theoretical section, a second section, where we will do practical exercises, and a final section where we apply all we learned during the class by doing a character from scratch. The glass project is the perfect excuse to put in practice what we learned. For each class of the series, I propose a fun format of two projects, a quick win version and a bonus challenge. I suggest that to make it easier, you follow the class and hit pause to do the project along with me. For this particular class project, you can accomplish: First a quick win version by doing the practical exercises together, during the class. These are going to be entry-level exercises. Two, the bonus challenge a level up of skills exercise by illustrating someone emotion that you admire. Either way, don't forget that I will accompany you throughout the class to achieve both. For this class, you will need your iPad and an Apple pencil to Procreate app. An optional a piece of paper or sketchbook and pencil. I think we have all the information we need to start. You just need to prepare your tools, and meet me in the next lesson. See you soon. 3. Fundamentals: [MUSIC] Hello, We are ready to begin. I think there is not only one method to draw characters, there are many. In my experience, I have collected the resources that have helped me the most to learn and those that I think are useful to start with. Of course, you can go deeper on this topic. There is a lot of information to keep learning. I will leave the links to videos and books in case you want to consult them at the end of the class. We will see four basic aspects in this lesson. Let's start. First is observation. For example, if you go to a cafeteria and look at other tables, you can look at which gestures does a person do when someone is giving them the good news. Or when someone raises their hand to order, gestural drawing is a way to gain confidence in representing the human figure. When we sketch gesture, we are trying to discover the action it is performing. This type of drawing should happen spontaneously without effort and using less than one minute. Unimportant part of the gestural drawing is that it should fit in a paper and not get cut off from the margin. In that way, you will learn to better draw measures of different parts of the body and be conscious about how they relate to each other. Also, you will develop a sense, an instinct for bear proportions, whatever the size of the paper is. We can use lines to define the spine. Like in this case, for example, you see that I'm drawing up the picture. Also, we can use line to define their shoulders, this line for the shoulders, the arms like this, hands, legs and feet. Working with lines will help us define the attitude and action that their character will perform. This is the center of our character. The spinal column has an S shape, as you see here that is difficult to capture in imagination, but think of it as a center line that shows the main bend of the torso. We will replicate this here. You can check it with the best. This line action, as its name says, will dictate the action that our character will perform. The first curve of the S here is the part where the head joins the chest, known as the neck and the other curve indicates the body curvature, here. Look for the angle of the main lines of the body. For example, what is the angle of the shoulders and what is the angle of the pelvis? Here we can see the angle of the shoulders is mainly straight and here we can see it has tilted a little bit. We will also use circles to represent the unions of these main lines to the lines of the arms and the legs here. Drawing the lines and the basic shapes of the body represent the initial keys of action, proportion and mass that the character will have. I will talk about the technique I use. For me it simplifies the idea of the mass of the body and help me understand it from a 3D perspective. Close your eyes now and think about your favorite cereal. Visualize the box. Keep the idea of the box, not the content for now. We will use that box to represent the two main parts of the body, the torso and the pelvis. Why picture them like boxes? Because they are the rigid parts of our body. Just as a reference, we will do a quick step to talk about proportions. Let's look at the sheet I prepare. Find it in the resources of the class. We are not going to talk in depth about this, but I think it's helpful to have a reference when drawing the main structure. The measuring unit commonly used to determine a body side is the head. The average is about 7.5 or eight heads as we see here. Let's take a look at the main reference points to take into account when drawing. For me, it is helpful to simulate main anatomical bone structures as blocks. I draw a tall block for the rib cage and a smaller block for the pelvis. The first block should be taller than this wide and the pelvis block should be half the size of the ribcage. Let's find other marks. We see the point where we can draw the shoulders by counting 1.5 heads, one and half, maybe a little less heads. This is the starting point to draw the rib cage until the waist. At the bottom of the rib cage we find this waist point that I was talking about. The bottom of the pelvis block should be the halfway point between the head and the feet. Let's see. This is the first half. This is the second half. From that middle point, we can start to draw it. From here down in the middle we see the lowest point of the knees right here. What about hands? We can use the halfway point as a reference to draw them. The size should be proportionally equal to the size of the face. The face start from the hair to the chin, approximately this. A good tip to represent the hands and the feet is to draw triangles or ovals. You can use them both. Take this proportion examples as a reference because often a human figure will not have perfect anatomical proportions or the same height. It is a guide to being conscious of proportional structure. In my case, I tend to create my own style of characters. They normally do not follow a perfect structure. But this is because I first studied these main guidelines so that later I can break them by doing my own version. I find the action line and the cereal boxes technique quite useful because I can draw less stiff characters that have volume. It's a matter of practice though. If you can learn from observation and abstract the lines that compound the basic structure, then you can build any character from imagination. But remember, this is the theory. There is no better way to learn than practice. Better gestural drawing means training our memory muscles. Meet me at the next lesson to apply this knowledge. 4. Warming up Exercises: [MUSIC] Before we get into action, we will do some exercises to loosen up our hands. Think about it like when you do a sport, it's better to warm up a little before getting into the task itself. If you need more time to complete the exercises, just hit pause and then continue. I will still be here with you. We will need a timer for one of the following exercises. Let's start with the basics so as drawing muscles can warm up a bit before. Do this exercise relaxed and think about it like a studying exercise. Forget about aesthetics or theory. First on your iPad on Procreate, create a document for this. Create a blend layer, and then with the classic pencil, start doing lines, crossing lines from up to down, from left to right, diagonal, etc. Then hide that layer and create another one. In this second, draw, swirls and loops. Fill out the canvas with this exercise. Then the same, hide that layer and create another. In this third, draw squares and rectangles. It doesn't matter the size just draw without thinking. Again the same, hide the layer create another. This time we are going to draw circles and ellipses. It doesn't have to be perfect. You can draw over again and again. For the next exercise, draw from a reference of a human figure in 30 seconds, while you are doing this do not leave the pencil. This exercise will help us to think about shapes. Use the five easy pictures I attached in the resources for you to draw. Choose one of them and set it as a reference in your iPad. Put a timer by your side, set it to 30 seconds for each of the pictures. Start. Change the reference when finished. Use long lines to simplify the figure. Try to look at the figure for a glimpse, so then your memory can play along with you. Important, we're not looking for a clean result. We just need to loosen up our hands. Sketch while seeing the reference in the works. Try to memorize the shapes. I hope you liked this first step of the exercises. I think it is important to do this before going into the next step, because your hands will be now getting used to the movement, a new rhythm. Let's jump into the other section of exercises. 5. The Body Structure: [MUSIC] Choose the box from your favorite tereel or whatever that is similar to that. Put it on a table and start to draw it from four angles; front, back, from the side, and from above. You will have to move around your table to better draw and understand the angles. The more you can draw this box from every angle, the better. Draw the action line and the boxes, insert the five first and easy reference pictures onto the canvas, arrange them next to each other, but leave distance between them. Block those layers and reduce the opacity to 30%. Create a new layer. First, find the action line and draw it, then draw the head and the boxes following the structure line. Notice how the lines work with real examples. [MUSIC] For the next part of the exercise, draw the next five pictures. I will suggest that you draw this in two days or two moments. Start with the easy ones on the first day and then on the second day with the five difficult ones [MUSIC] Now it's your turn. Using what we learn in these previous exercises, create new gestural drawings with tereel blocks. There is a website where you can find a lot of poses to drop. Go to, and choose the exercise of 30 seconds drawing. I will show you how it works. In the Home, click on the button,30 seconds drawing. Decide the interval, 30 seconds is perfect to begin. Repeat number, 10 poses. You can upgrade if you want to do a marathon. Models, unisex is okay. Level, easy. For the advanced features, the texture gray. Less color at the beginning is best. The floor will keep them activated, the rest, keep them toggled off. Prepare your iPad on the side view option by pressing these three points at the top of your screen. If you don't find this option in your iPad, you can draw this poses in a piece of paper. Press start and draw. Let's do 10 gestures in 30 seconds together. [MUSIC] The task of this lesson is to draw 30 gestures. You have a great and easy resource to work with and accomplish it. Good luck in practice. To keep improving daily, there is also another option, the post of the day. Remember that repetitive practice improves artist of every skill level. I left the task at the end of this lesson. You can do it at your own pace. You can just hit Pause and finish it before going into the next lesson. 6. Drawing People: [MUSIC] Let's level up. We first need warm-up exercises, then we practice with the basic structure of the body. Now we are going to apply your previous knowledge to draw types of poses and gestures. These exercises will train our capacity for observation and analysis. Let's go. I love to dance. I think that when someone is dancing, the body moves a lot so it does many poses. For this exercise, we will take advantage of it. It's a way that can give you more perspective and help you to practice particular poses. I'm a huge fan of Lindy Hop. I don't know if you're familiar, but it is a swing dance that is characterized by fast rotations, swing outs, and high-energy footwork. For this exercise, I propose we use videos of people dancing it, find Find on the link resources file. There are two levels of this exercise. On the first level, we will watch one person doing a solo Charleston dance. I will use the side view on my iPad. Let's begin. We will use our timer friend. Watch the video and stop it, where there is a pose you think you can draw from. Set the timer to 40 seconds under that particular post. It's better if you don't watch it while you draw. [MUSIC] Repeat the exercise and stop the video at a different time frame. [MUSIC] Set the timer 40 seconds, draw another pose. [MUSIC] Repeat it one last time and at a different time frame. [MUSIC] This exercise is excellent to be conscious about how our body works. We can observe what happens to the legs when we turn the torso and our arms. We can represent real movement. If you feel comfortable doing the next level, join me now. Look out for the second link, the Lindy Hop Championship. The complexity of this second exercise is that we have to draw a couple of while dancing. But the great thing is that the couple has a constant connection because there is one of them who guides the next steps of the dance. You will see how the movements of the body flow. [MUSIC] Repeat the exercise two more times. [MUSIC] If you're doing this by yourself, take a photo in a quirky pose. Do not think too much, just shoot. Then draw yourself. As you can see, I couldn't make to get a quirky pose, but I think this pose is really interesting. Let's do it. Repeat this exercise five times, which means five poses. But do not spend more than 40 seconds drawing each pose. If you're doing this with a friend, it would be funnier because you can change the pose every 60 seconds. Enjoy and have some laughs. What a complete section of exercises. I hope you had fun while learning at the same time. If you want to keep practicing, just hit stop and do the lesson as many times as you want. Remember to keep practicing. This is a skill that will not be happening from one day to another. It is really important to give yourself time to make mistakes. There's a learning curve that we all have to work through before being better at something. Your self-improvement has to be your motivator. That's why the importance of doing the exercises and the project of the class too. Join me in the next lesson to talk about inspiration before we create a character from our imagination. 7. Inspiration: Now that we have practiced doing a lot of poses, I will guide you through the steps to create a character from scratch, which is also our project for the class. In this lesson, we are going to stimulate our imagination by looking at sources of inspiration. We can gather inspiration from a lot of places. Let's look at a list in order of preference. One, real life. There is no such source of inspiration so real as going out to the streets and observe. You will find endless personalities, gestures, actions, etc. Grab your code, pencil, and notebook, go outside and look out for inspiration. You can take notes and make drawings if you want. Two, books. Printing is so not dead. As a creative person, I love printed resources. Besides, I have a thing with design-related books. I gather recollection. I consult when I need inspiration. I analyze colors, typography, composition etc. Another great source of inspiration is to look out for art books. It is enlightening to know what Masters of Fine Art had done in the past and how they evolve. I admire their capacity because they observe their environment and were inspired by that. They didn't have social media Pinterest or a collection of books. Going to a library is an exercise that I enjoy a lot. Not only I can look out for books related to design or illustration, but I also find others that help me inspire. Do you agree that the mood of a library attracts you to stay. Three, social media. This is not new, I'm sure, you know Pinterest and also Instagram. The first one is a great platform to look for inspiration. However, it can be overwhelming because there are tons of images and content. I suggest that you take these platforms as one of the sources, not the main one. The disadvantage for me is that you will see a lot of illustrations and characters already created. It's inspiration indeed, but sometimes it's better to get away from the screens. We have seen great resources of inspiration. Which one is your favorite? I hope you are motivated by this part of the class because in the next lesson, it will be the time to create a character from your imagination. 8. Bonus project: hands on!: In this lesson, we will draw a character from scratch using the tips of the exercises. The difference is that now we will add the content to the structure. I mean, the legs, arms, cloths. Decide what action pose your character will do. If you don't have an idea of what to do. No worries. I got you to covered. Look out for the options on the list I leave in the resources. I will go with the trumpetist. The idea is to come up with a pose from your imagination. But if you need a reference for this, take a look at websites that have stock pictures like Use the picture as a reference to check if the pose you draw aligns with the action. Start by creating a new canvas in Procreate, it can be the size of a square around five for example, 1080 by 1080 pixels, 72 ppi is perfect if you want printed later. For the brush, use the default brush to sketch. Remember, you can use red and blue to trace the lines of the structure. It can be useful for you in this phase. I will start defining my actual line. Then I will draw the serial boxes. I analyze if the pose I drew aligns with the action I proposed initially. If not, I will redraw what is not working. Take into account that most of the time, this is a task that does not come out the first time. You have to practice and draw over again. [MUSIC] When you have your final body structure, give form to your character. When you draw your final character do not worry about their look and feel or garment. That is a part we're not covering in this class. Use any style you feel comfortable when drawing. I will use the style in which I usually draw. [MUSIC] You will see that I haven't drawn the facial expressions. Because for this specific class, I want to reinforce the fact that even though our characters do not have eyes, noses, or lips, we can achieve an expressive pose. Refine the lines with the black solid brush. [MUSIC] Meet me in the next lesson to finish the details of our character. 9. Bonus project: finish & export: [MUSIC] In this lesson, we're going to finish the illustration of our character. For the colors, use the palette I propose in the resources of the class, or you can search for others on websites like or Adobe colors. We're not going deep into that in this class. You start by creating color blocks according to the type of clothing you have thought of for your character. [MUSIC] You can let your imagination fly and create patterns, but again, we will not focus on it in this class. Like I said in the lesson before, we are not going to draw facial expressions. [MUSIC] Prepare your illustration to export. In the settings, go to Share, Image and PNG. You can send your illustration to your cell phone or laptop to share later. Plus to make it a pause more interesting, you can share the process of the illustration. For that, go to settings, video, and export the time lapse video 30 seconds. Well, we have our character super ready to be shared. We're almost there to finish the class. Join me in the last lesson to do a recap. 10. It's a Wrap!: [MUSIC] We arrive at the end of the class. Thank you so much for joining me today. If there is one thing I hope you take away from the class is the importance of practicing, and doing basic exercises. You already saw that with several examples, we were able to improve our ability to create more expressive characters that although they do not have facial features yet, they can demonstrate they're doing an action. From now on, it's up to you to improve the postures of your characters. You can do the class at your own pace, and hit pause to do a coffee break, and continue the next day. Or if you finish it, you can always release in the content at anytime. I encourage you to upload your exercises from the first part of the class or your bonus final character to the project section of the class with all the confidence in the work. The important thing here is to practice. We're not looking for an aesthetic result. This class is only a part of the total learning of this part of essentials. I review the projects here one-by-one, and always leave dedicated comments for my students. Also, I would love it if you tag me when you use them in your Instagram stories. Use the tag I provided below when you upload it, and mention me at Cemarina studio so I can check your results, and share them. Important; if you have some doubts, please don't be shy to ask on the discussion panel. I will be glad to answer any questions you encounter during the class. Also, if you like this class, and want to take it a step further, please check out other classes I have. You can compliment your knowledge. Leave a review if you like this class, and if you think it can be valuable to other students. That will help me a lot. For updates on new classes, colorful illustrations, resources, and more, follow me here on Skillshare, and also on Instagram. Thank you for being here dear students. Have a wonderful day.