Figure Drawing: GESTURE (Online art lesson # 33)

Gesture drawing is the best way that I know of to become confident with the human figure.

gesture figure drawings, Lillian Kennedy

Gestures of fellow travelers at the airport. Click on images to enlarge!

Gesture drawings are quick studies in which you draw what you feel is the essential ACTION and life expression within the momentary pose of your subject. Aim to draw what the model is DOING; the bending and twisting, the tension or relaxation of the muscles.  FEEL the movement of the model in your own body. Feel the movement of the whole form!

gesture figure drawings at the airport, Lillian Kennedy

Groups of figures are particularly interesting.

Immediately  draw the whole figure.  Continue to let your pen or pencil pass through the whole figure.  This kind of drawing will pay large dividends.

Have a new experience even if you have been drawing for your entire career.

gesture figure drawings at the airport, Lillian Kennedy

Waiting for the flight.

gesture figure drawings at the airport, Lillian Kennedy

and waiting...


Understand that gesture drawing is dynamic.

gesture figure drawings at the airport, Lillian Kennedy

still waiting...


Don’t stop or lift your pen from the paper.

Before leaving for our flight back to Colorado, I made sure to fold a few tiny sketchbooks from single sheets of paper .  It took 35 hours to get home. The extra diversion of discreet figure study made the waiting more interesting.  Reading, with no intended irony, Beryl Markham’s West With The Night kept me entertained the rest of the time.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Figure Drawing: GESTURE (Online art lesson # 33)

  1. Bette Lestrange says:

    Hi Lillian, Know how you feel about the long wait for a flight. Spent 26 years as a flight attendant for TWA and did a lot of that time waiting!!
    Thanks for the lesson on drawing. Always a help for any suggestions on drawing! Still working hard on it and getting more confident the more I do it!! Bette

    • Lillian Kennedy says:

      Hi Bette,
      Bit by bit I will get drawing covered. Gesture is one of so many elements. It IS an endless process, but that’s a good thing because we can still be practicing and inspired all our lives. Drawing is the best way to learn to draw: the more you do it the more you learn. if you are not waiting in airports anymore, you will still find lots of little waiting times that you can fill with a pad if you carry one. Take care.

  2. First–Sooooooo glad you are home! …sad it took you so long to get here!
    Second–Ahhhh! …I know this is something that I need to work on. Feel free to keep reminding me, even if I grimace. 🙂

    • Lillian Kennedy says:

      Now Margaret – WHY would you grimace??? It isn’t a chore – it’s the candy. I’m telling you the truth from my perspective. I love doing these little studies and there is no pressure to have them be anything other than what they are. I don’t set aside my “real” painting time, but, rather, use my interstice time.

  3. Dina Elder says:

    Hi Lillian,
    I’m looking forward to seeing you today. Welcome back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *