Drawing Dynamic Poses | Kyle Petchock | Skillshare

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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.

      Course Intro


    • 2.

      Lesson 1: Identifying the Action Line


    • 3.

      Lesson 2: The Basics of Gesture


    • 4.

      Lesson 3: Applying Foreshortening


    • 5.

      Lesson 4: Drawing Poses in Perspective


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About This Class

Hey everyone!  In this drawing course I’ll be showing you how to sketch dynamic poses.  I’ll be breaking this course down into four lessons, each covering a different aspect of the course subject that will allow you to improve your poses from stiff to smooth-flowing and dynamic.  The lessons are Identifying the line of action, the basics of gesture, applying foreshortening in a pose, and drawing poses in perspective.

Meet Your Teacher

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Kyle Petchock

Kyle Petchock Art


Hello, I'm Kyle Petchock and welcome to my Skillshare channel!  I'm a freelance artist who specializes in digital illustration / comic art, and I started this freelance journey just over three years ago. However, this didn't happen overnight.  Breaking into the art world is no easy feat.  It requires years of practice, patience, and most importantly, Perseverance to push through challenges.  Always believe in yourself, because if you do, you'll take the inspired action required to move you one step closer toward your goal, even if they're baby steps (yes, those count too). 

My personal mantra is 'Keep Persevering,' which also stands for my initials (KP).  More importantly, I use this motto to let aspiring artists know that even a normal guy who spent... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Course Intro: Oh, hey, there I was just about to start drawing. But before I do, let me ask you a few questions. Do you ever struggle in the area off gesture? Drawing your opposes ever looked really Bridget and step when you sketched about on paper. If you had suggest that either of those then this course is for you. I'm Kyle Pet Shock. And today I'm gonna be your instructor walking you through the basics of drawing dynamic action poses. I'm a freelance artist who is trained in graphic designing commercial art. But my main specialty is illustration and comic book art. In this course, I'll be guiding you through my entire step by step process for sketching effective, dynamic action poses. I'm gonna be breaking it all up into four main lessons, which include establishing the line of action the basics of gesture and oppose applying for shortening and drawing poses in perspective from various angles. Also, stick around for the end of the course as well, when I'll be explaining the class project for you guys to work on. Thank you so much for choosing this course. I really appreciate it and I know you're gonna learn a lot here. So with that being said, let's get started 2. Lesson 1: Identifying the Action Line: everybody in this first video. Listen, I'm gonna be taking you through Step one of my process for sketching on dynamic pose, which is identifying the main line of action. This is the core foundation for any dynamic action pose. And I'm gonna talk about how to identify this using several real life photo examples showing the human body in a variety of different motions. So with that safe, let's dive right into it. Okay, So let's get started here. The first thing that we're going to do is talk the basics of the foundation of any dynamic pose, which is the line of action. In technical terms, the line of action is the first fast, simple mark or two marks that conveys the extent and direction of the overall posed, which travels through the head, rib, cage and pelvis area of the body. Now here, I'm gonna shuffle through some real life reference photos which show the human body in action. I always tell people that the one of the best ways to improve your figure drawing is to study and draw a lot from reference photos to excellent sites I use for references that I highly recommend are quick poses dot com and Pinterest even Google images will work. But these two are highly reliable sources for a lot of different reference materials showing the human body in action. So initially, when taking in the entire pose as a whole, when studying a reference photo, it could be overwhelming to look past. All of the details depend point the foundation of the motion. But, as with any aspect of drawing, practice makes improvement. Okay, so here what I'm gonna do is take each of these reference photos that I picked out, and I'm going to sketch the main line of action through the pose over top of the image from head to toe and the next. What I'm gonna do here is I'm going to redraw the line of action next to the image. So that way I can isolate it in order to show you guys a little more clearly what the overall shape looks like. That way you can easily pinpoint it on your own. Each pose is gonna be completely different than the last. So the key is practicing these enough to be able to identify the line of action no matter what pose you're looking at now, when you're studying different reference photos online, some are going to be more complicated and complex than others. For example, this pose here. When we break down the main line of action here, we'll see that it's actually quite simple. We'll see that the shape of the action line is an s shaped curve. Once again, like I did before, I'm going to redraw the line of action next to the image toe. Isolate it in place so you guys can see it a little more clearly. Okay, so now that you guys have gotten a general sense of how I've worked, when it comes to identifying the line of action, I'm gonna go through four more photo examples just to show a little bit of variety in the motion of the body. So that way, when you guys were going to do this on your own, using your own reference photos that you find online, you'll be able to not feel so overwhelmed. When you see a pose that looks a little bit complex and intimidating, you'll be able to competently go forward and identify the line of action over the reference image itself. Throughout my art journey. Up till now, I've realized that the times when I end up growing and provide a lot are the times when I stepped outside of my comfort zone and try something new. So, like I said, you may come across a reference image online that is very intimidating because of the complexity and dynamic nature of the pose. But trust me when I say when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone and you end up doing it, you'll surprise yourself because you didn't think you could do it before. And then all of a sudden you can do it, which gives you a boost of confidence, which then in turn leads to the next level of growth. So always push yourself and never be afraid to fail and make mistakes because you what we've learned from them and move forward this'll last example here is a bit more simple than the other ones that I've shown you. But even though the upper body is standing mostly upright, there's still gonna be some dynamic motion in the direction of the hips. So in this position, the left leg is going to be taking most of the weight because the hips are gonna be tilted . So, like I said, even though the pose is very simple, they're still gonna be some dynamic movements, even if it's not as intense as some of the other poses that we look. Death, great work by now, after watching this video, you should have a much easier time identifying the line of action in any dynamic pose that you look at. But we're moving forward. Let's do a quick little re capital we covered. So when you're practicing this concept, be sure to reference a lot of imagery from the Internet. Couple good sites. You can use our quick poses dot com or Pinterest, or you could even just go to Google images and search action poses or whatever you like. And then when you're practicing this, you can actually draw over the reference image itself, whether that be digitally in photo shop or you can print out the image and then draw over it with a pencil or pen. And then once you've done this enough, you can try recreating that line of action next to the image free handed. Doing this more and more is going to help you improve a lot because, as I said, this is the core foundation for drawing any dynamic pose. And it's it's what's going to establish that fluid motion and gesture throughout the whole pose. Thank you so much for watching really appreciate it. And I hope you learned something here. I'll see you and listen to and take care. 3. Lesson 2: The Basics of Gesture: Hey, guys. In the second video lesson, I'm gonna be walking you through step two of my process for sketching a dynamic pose, which is establishing fluid motion and gesture. If you're a beginner, artists are just starting out. It's tempting to want to jump into details too quickly. And I've been there myself. So believe me, I understand how difficult it is not to jump ahead too fast. But you want to avoid doing that because if you don't establish the gesture at the beginning, then the rest of the pose is gonna end up looking really rigid and stiff, and we definitely don't want that. So here in this video, I'm gonna be talking about how to train yourself to only focus on the gesture first and not even think about the details. Basically, you want to think off the rough gesture sketch as the final piece, not even worrying about details or what's coming next. You just wanna set her sights on the gesture and focus on that, and I'll do so in this video by taking a few of the photo examples that I showed in less than one and will be sketching the gesture of those poses alongside. All right, so that being said, Let's get started. Okay, Now we're going to cover the basics of gesture. A gesture drawing is a laying in of the action form and pose of a model slash figure. With that said in this lesson, the extent of the examples I provide will only show the gesture in the most basic rough form, meaning we won't be worrying about going into details but rather the overall fluid motion. I'm going to sketch several poses here, based on a few of the reference imagery I provided in Lesson one. A great tip to remember is that forms follow gesture. That's why will only be going as far as laying in the rough loose lines so that you can learn to focus on the gesture before adding muscle structures and details. If you jump into details too quickly without laying in a sturdy foundation, your pose is gonna look stiff and rigid. Notice here how I begin with that line of action like we discussed in less and one and now I'm just building the post from the torso and hips because that's where the motion starts and then quickly constructing the legs, feet, arms, hands and the head. In an example like this, after you've gone in and laid in the action line, try looking at the motion from head to toe as one solid motion, meaning, Try not to look at each of the individual body parts by themselves, because then you're gonna get stuck and you're not gonna be able to establish the smooth flowing gesture that's needed decree A great pose. Now, if you have trouble with this at first, don't get discouraged or frustrated. Even though it may seem frustrating, that's perfectly normal when you're starting out. So just keep at it and you know, every time you mess up or make a mistake, just learn from it and move forward. Don't dwell in that mistake for too long, because then you're going to get stunk and you're not gonna be able to move forward. So when I create the initial sketch, first I lay in the action line like we discussed in less than one, and then I quickly and loosely sketched in the basic shapes that make up the figure, building them around the action line. Another thing to note here is that in this pose. The upper torso is twisting because the left arm is moving back about to throw a punch, so therefore it's going to rotate the entire torso. I explained more about this in my two previous figure drawing courses on the male and female figures. So if you're still a little unsure of the dynamics of a twisting torso, please refer back to nose. If you notice in this pose, I'm not going in and adding any details yet to the hands or the feet. I'm simply representing them with basic shapes to establish their position and size. Like I said, we're gonna not worry about details right now. We're only gonna be focusing on the gesture and laying in the basic forms and shapes now, typically right as I finish laying in the foundation of the gesture. What I like to do is just go back over those gestural lines that I've just placed in, and I like to just sketch over them with quick, fluid, confident lines. That way I can further solidify and established the gesture that way. Later on, when I go in with details, I have a clear foundation to work off, OK, moving on now to pose number three like we've done before, we're going to start with the line of Action, which is going to be a simple curve. And then what I like to do is start to build the pose with the torso and hip area, because this is where the motion of the pose is generated from. So once you've got that down, then you can begin constructing the legs be and then the arms and the head. Sometimes when im sketching the gesture for a pose and I arrive at the hands, what I like to do is sketch the hand placement first and then connects the hands to the torso with the gestural lines to show the arms. And I like to do this because I used to sketch the arms first and then the hand placement, and that created a problem for me because I would either get the hand placement way off or the forearms would be too long or something of that nature. So this is why I like to sketch the hand placement first by, of course, referencing the image and then connecting the hands to the torso. This is just an easy way to ensure that you'll get the hand placement accurate and correct . And I drew this pose a little too big here. So what I'm gonna do is just grab the freeform lasso tool from the left and toolbar. I'm gonna select around the sketch and then press control tea on my keyboard to reduce the size of it. All right, I'm gonna show you guys one more post your This one is a little bit tricky because of the position of the torso and just the overall dynamics of the gesture. But we're gonna break it down really easily, and we're gonna follow the same steps. So we're gonna start with that line of action first. And then, like I did in the previous sketches, I'm gonna start buying constructing the torso real quick along with the hips. Because, as I said, this is where the motion of the poses generated from and like I did before with limbs, I'm gonna just sketch quick, smooth, confident lines to get the gesture down, and then I'm going to start constructing the limbs a little bit, but we're not gonna go into too much detail. We're just gonna keep everything nice and loose and rough when you're sketching these gestures imposes, ah, helpful tip to keep in mind is to keep your wrist nice and loose. And don't press so hard with your pencil or stylus against the surface, because if you do, then the lines might turn out a little bit stiff and rigid. But when you keep your grip loose, you have more range of motion in your wrist, and therefore you'll be able to create more smooth, dynamic looking lines. Okay, now I'm gonna finish this post off by refining the edges and solidifying the gesture of the pose. So that way, later on, when I would go in and add details, I have a nice, solid base to draw off. Fantastic work. Congratulations for completing Lesson two of this course. By now, you should have a much easier time establishing that fluid, smooth gesture off the pose. So before we move forward, let's do a quick recap here. When you're doing your sketch, you want to make sure that you don't jump ahead too quickly without first establishing that fluid gesture. Because, as I mentioned, if you're a beginner and you haven't dealt into dynamic poses, too much. It can be tempting to jump ahead too quickly without establishing the motion first. So you want to practice just focusing on the gesture and treating this rough sketch like it's the final piece. Just block out everything else and only focus on that. Because if you move ahead too fast, then the Post is gonna look very rigid and stiff. And that's something that we definitely don't want to do. And one thing to do to practice is, as I mentioned in less than one study, a lot of different reference photos, including the ones that I provided in the video here. This will help you get better and better over time, and then eventually you can get the point where you'll even be able to sketch some of these poses for memory without having to look at references. So thank you very much for watching means a lot to me, and I hope you learned something here. I'll see you in the third lesson and take care 4. Lesson 3: Applying Foreshortening : everyone in this video lesson, I'm gonna be walking you through the basics of using four shortening in a dynamic action pose. Foreshortening means to portray are showing object as closer than it is or having less depth or distance as an effect of perspective or the angle of vision. So I'm gonna talk about how does accurately sketch the lives of the pose using principles of respective, and we're going to simplify the forms to be less focused on the details and structures and more focused on the gesture of the pose. So with that said, why don't we get right to it All right, now that we've covered identifying the line of action and the basics of gesture, let's put those two concepts together to sketch some dynamic poses using for shortening a row. Good strategy that I've been using for a while to practice is first, starting with several perspective lines and then construct the pose within those guides. This is going to allow the four short of the post to flow more naturally and easily, and this way it will kind of force you to decrease the sides of any objects that are further away that way you know they won't look too big when you're trying to go for that local. For shortening objects that are supposed to be further weight won't appear as though they're too large. And again, as I've mentioned in the previous lessons, if there's any part of the anatomy that's still giving trouble, definitely refer back to my courses on the male and female figures. So applying what we covered in the two previous lessons, I'm going to sketch. A few poses would show for shortening. Whatever is closest to the viewers will appear to be largest, and whatever is furthest away will appear smaller, which are the legs. The torso and pelvis will also shrink inside as well as we move from closest to the viewer to further away. And like I've done in the previous lessons, I'm keeping everything really loose and rough. And after I've laid in the gesture on this pose, I'm going in and refining some of the lines a little bit. But I'm not moving forward into details too soon. I still want to just keep refining and solidifying that gesture. Once you have those first few smooth, gestural lines placed in, you'll find that it's gonna be a lot easier to construct the rest of the post because laying down those first few lines is the most challenging part. And then once you've got the motion set, then it's really easy to build upon that and begin to refine the lines and then later on, going with details. Okay, now pose number two is gonna be a little bit different, but we're gonna follow the same steps that we did for the first pose. And now this example is going to be the female figure again. If there's any part of the female anatomy that you're not too sure of, go back to my female figure drawing course and spend a little bit more time studying the anatomy of that one. Once again, we'll start with that main line of action to establish the fluid blow of the motion and then, like we did with the first pose, we're going to just quickly construct those perspective guidelines. That way we can keep everything in line to ensure that we're able to establish that clean, fluid motion that we're trying to go for to give the look of four shortening much like an example number one. The arm and hand in this pose is going to be reaching out and extending forward just in a different flow of motion from the first pose. So the hand is going to be the largest part of the figure. And then gradually, as we move down towards the extended foot, everything is going to get much smaller. Now, as I move on to sketch the hand here, we're also going to apply gesture and four shortening a little bit to the fingers. So I'm gonna start not by drawing each individual segment of each finger by itself. But I'm gonna sketch quick, smooth lines to show the whole finger. And then I'm gonna start by roughing in the fingertip and then connecting that to with the palm of the hands. I explain all this in a lot more detail in both of my figure drawing courses in the hand section. So if any part of that is still giving you trouble, please refer back to those two. And now I'm gonna finish this pose off by continuing to refine the edges and the lines a little bit more to get ready for later when I would go in with details. All right, now that we cover those two, I'm gonna show one more example here. And this time we're going to take the dynamic flow of motion to a new level, and we're going to sketch oppose in a kicking motion. So first, let's start with that line of action established the main flow of the motion that's generated from the torso and hips. And then we're just gonna construct quick, smooth, confident lines to establish the placements and flow of the limbs. Keep in mind that for this example, the torso of this pose is going to be twisting. I go into twisting torsos in a lot more detail in both of my figure drawing courses. So if you're having trouble with that concept at all, please refer back to those in the previous two examples, the largest part of the pose was the hand because it was reaching up, forward or extending up. But this time we're going to reverse that. And now the foot is actually going to be the largest part of the pose, and the upper hand that's raised is gonna be the smallest. Another thing to note is that since reviewing this pose from someone of a lower angle and the right arm is raising up. So the pecs are not gonna face forward, but they're actually going to point upwards, as I've done in the previous two examples. Now that I'm happy with the gesture and everything looks set, I'm gonna just refine some of the lines that end is a little bit more to get ready for later on when I would go into details. Amazing work. Congratulations for completing less and three of this course by now. You should have a much easier time constructing dynamic poses while also applying the aspects of for shortening. But rooming on, let's recap what we covered here. So when you're starting when you're starting or sketch, be sure to start with those perspective guidelines. This is gonna help you accurately portray the perspective in the pose. So that way, like, for example, if work sketching, oppose or the characters flying forward with the fist extended front, uh, using these guidelines will ensure that the perspective is accurate and that the legs don't look too big or the hand that's extended out in front doesn't look too small. Also remember that whatever is gonna be closest to the viewer is going to be the largest. And then whatever sprints away is going to shrink into the distance. And also keep in mind the principles of gesture that we covered in listen to. So you want to just focus on the overall gesture and not worry about going into details. So practice sketching quick, smooth, gestural lines and not focusing too much on the next steps, but only putting your attention on the gesture. Thank you again for watching hope. You guys learn something here and I'll see you in the next lesson. Take care. 5. Lesson 4: Drawing Poses in Perspective : everybody in this fight a lesson. I'll be walking you through the basics of using perspective grits to draw poses from a variety of different angles. Now, if you've ever struggled to sketch oppose from a low ground angle or a bird's eye view from above, then this course will help you ease into it more effectively. I'm gonna talk about using bounding boxes and perspective in order to sketch poses in believable angles, while also keeping in mind the principles of gesture that we cover in the previous video lessons. So with that said, Let's do this. Okay, now we're gonna explore sketching supposes from various dynamic angles. Most of the time I draw directly and Photoshopped. But this time, however, I'll be using Autodesk sketchbook because of the easy to use perspective tool. I highly recommend this software to anyone getting into digital drawing because and not only has tons of awesome tools and features, but it could also be used in conjunction with Photoshopped, meaning you can take Photoshopped files and open them up in sketchbook and vice versa. In this first example, I'm in a sketch oppose that is from a higher angle, looking down so the first thing I'm gonna do in sketchbook is grabbed the perspective tool on top. And we're gonna go with three point perspective for this example. I'm gonna line up and set the vanishing points. And then what's cool about this feature is you can draw a line and equal magnetically lock to the vanishing point in a straight line at all times, so you don't have to physically draw a straight line or use the ruler toe. Once I have the vanishing point set, I'm gonna just sketch a tall rectangle in report perspective, and this is gonna be our bounding box in which we're going to use to enclose the posing. Now, I'm gonna create a new layer above these guidelines and the first I'm gonna lower the a pass ity of the guideline layer so I can draw over it on the new layer. And I'm gonna start sketching the pose following the same steps that I covered in the previous lessons. So we're gonna start with line of action going down the center and then I always start by building the torso and hips first because this is where the motion is generated, friend and then I'll quickly and loosely sketched the legs and the arms, as was the head. One thing to remember when you're sketching, opposed from this angle or any angle. Using perspective like this, you want to make sure that the joints lineup. So when you're drawing the knees and the elbows, make sure you sketch a couple lines using that perspective tool again and locked the lines to the vanishing points. That way you'll be with a line everything up properly. And then once this poses laid in and the gesture looks good, I'm just gonna further refine the lines and edges a little bit more, mostly just going over those gestural lines with more quick, smooth lines just to solidify the pose. So that way, when I would go and details later, I have a solid, sturdy foundation to draw from. All right, moving on to pose to we're gonna view the figure from a lower ground angle, and I'm gonna draw the female figure this time just to vary it a little bit. So we're gonna reset the vanishing points and move the perspective to a lower angle, and then I'm gonna create that bounding box like we did in the first example to enclose the figure in. And now we're gonna start constructing the post following the same steps that we did in example, one. One thing to keep in mind is when you're drawing the figure from these dynamic angles, the basic shapes that make up the figure are going to be rotated and viewed from different points of view. You have to know how toe angle everything and sketch these shapes. So that way it's looking like it's believable that you're looking at it from a lower angle or hiring. And this all takes practice and refer back to my to figure drawing lessons. If there's still any part of the anatomy that's giving you trouble, that's perfectly OK. You want to make sure you get those concepts down first before moving into sketching them from dynamic angles like this. If you're a beginner artist and you're just starting out in this area, it's probably most helpful to look a reference photos when studying and practicing these concepts. Now I've drawn these poses completely for memory because I've gone through this process so many times repeating it again and again. And that's what happened with repetition Eventually it sticks and muscle memory takes over and you're able to effortlessly sketch the figure without having a look at reference photos in this last example Here, I'm going to show the pose from an even lower angle. So it looks like the character is floating for this post. We're going to switch to two point perspective and we're gonna adjust and move the vanishing point supporting Lee and then sketch those perspective breads to form the bounding box in which the figure will being closed in. And once again, we're gonna follow the same steps. So start with the center line of action and then we're gonna construct the torso, hips, legs, arms and then the head. And again, we're always going to keep this nice and loose and rough because we're trying to just establish the gesture, not really worrying about details Yet, as I mentioned before, the more that you practice this, and the more you draw, the better you get and the more you'll be able to sketch poses like this for memory. So once you reach that point, you'll be able to sketch the bounding box at any angle and perspective that you want and be able to easily sketch the pose within those guides. For me, it's taken many years to reach where I am now to be able to sketch the human figure like this for memory. So just know that it takes a lot of work in practice and commitment and most importantly, patients because growth never happens overnight. It's a long process, but you gotta be committed to it for the long run, like I've done in all the example so far. I'm not going into too much detail with the limbs or like the hands and the feet. I'm just representing them with simple shapes, as with the rest of the figure, because this is all about just establishing the pose and the motion. Great work, you guys. Congratulations for completing lesson for by now, you should have a much easier time constructing poses from a variety of different angles, such as a low graham angle or a bird's eye view from above before moving forward to the class project, let's discuss what we covered here. Row quit. So when you're starting your sketch, be sure to use perspective grids and bounding boxes to draw the post accurately so that way , it looks believable. When you use a bounding box, you'll be able to keep the pose enclosed within the box. That way, there won't be any parts that look skewed or distorted. Also, be sure you keep in mind the basics of gesture that we've covered in the previous lessons, such as establishing the central line of action, even if it's just a standing pose. There still the line of action going down the middle and also keep the sketch nice and loose with those gestural lines to establish the motion without focusing on details. Okay, now for the class project, your assignment is gonna be to sketch a character in a dynamic action pose. The subject for this project is totally up to you. You can draw your favorite superhero or favorite character from a TV show that you really like or movie, or you can. You can sketch a character that's completely made up all the top of your head when working through your project. Keep in mind the methods and topics that were discussed in the video lessons, such as establishing that line of action to start with making sure your sketch is lucid, rough at the beginning and focus on the gesture before moving to details too soon. And if you're going to sketch the pose from a high or lower angle, be sure to use perspective grids and bounding boxes to construct the pose. After you completed your project, please upload into the class Project gallery on my sculpture page. So that way I can lead constructive feedback and tips for improvement. Whether you choose to do your project digitally or traditionally upload your files as a JPEG image. Well, thank you guys again for watching this course. I really appreciate it means a lot, and I hope you learned a lot here about sketching dynamic poses and principles of gesture. So until next time, keep persevering.