Picasso, Rembrandt and Step by Step Gesture Drawing

Picasso Rembrandt Gesture, Balance, Value

The Gesture
Drawing the figure begins with the gesture. A gesture drawing is a very quick sketch, sometimes only a few lines, and is usually completed in one to five minutes. The purpose of gesture is to capture the essence of a figure. An effective gesture drawing gracefully captures a model’s height, movement, and general pose using a minimal number of marks. Longer gestures may include major anatomical landmarks such as the torso, pelvis, head, feet, knees, and hands. They are more of a “skeletal analogy” than a detailed rendering of the body’s surface.

Images: Student Gesture Drawings from Otis

student gesture examples

The video below by demonstrates a number of techniques in order to draw an effective gesture.
While You Watch:
Pay special attention to the following:
• How he holds the pencil.
• How lightly he draws at the beginning.
• How he builds up darkness by lightly going over the same lines several times, not by pressing down hard with the pencil.
• Each pass with the pencil is a searching line.
• How he uses long fluid strokes instead of short broken ones.
• The order in which he draws each part of the body.
• That he does not erase any of his process marks or errors. He uses them to make corrections.
• How he sights each angle.
Tips For Watching:
• I suggest you watch this video with captions on.
• Watch it once all the way through to get a feel for the content.
• Then watch it a second time, pause and play often so you can work along side if applicable.

Gesture Drawing I

Select “CC” for captions.

Tips for Success:
There is little individuality in Professor Warner’s drawings at this point. His focus is more on summarizing the structure of the figure than rendering facial details or the outside contour. Gestures generalize anatomy, capturing pose and attitude more than specific individual features. Also notice how light Professor Warner’s drawings are, especially as he begins. As you become more confident that your marks are correct, darken them. If you watch the video again, you will see that Professor Warner often passes over the same line several times in quick succession as he confirms its accuracy. By this action, the correct line becomes darker. You should continually measure and angle sight.
Try not to erase immediately when you make an error. Instead, use your mistakes to guide you to the correct marks. Only then might you choose to erase unwanted lines. However, if you made your process lines light enough, there should be no need to erase them at all.
Human Anatomy References:
In the video, Professor Warner refers to structures part of the human skeleton. Please see diagrams below for reference

human-skeleton-diagram-334

Here are screen shots of the presentation with explanations

1. Notice the compression on the weight bearing side
1. Notice the compression on the weight bearing side
2. Make a mark indicating the top of the figure
2. Make a mark indicating the top of the figure

3. Make a descriptive line that continues to the bottom of the figure and a reference line that is parallel to the side of the paper
3. Make a descriptive line that continues to the bottom of the figure and a reference line that is parallel to the side of the paper

4. Establish axis lines (angles of direction) of shoulders and hips by lining up pencil with the figure
4. Establish axis lines (angles of direction) of shoulders and hips by lining up pencil with th figure

5. Draw a oval rib cage and a bowl(that tips or spills forward) for pelvis following axis lines
5. Draw a oval rib cage and a bowl(that tips or spills forward) for pelvis following axis lines

6. Indicate a corner of the hip depending upon direction standing
6. Indicate a corner of the hip depending upon direction standing

7. femar flips out a little wider than the bowl of the pelvis
7. femar flips out a little wider than the bowl of the pelvis

8. after indicating color bone and neck, that is set down into it, show the curve of the spine. Center line flows from collar bone to navel to pubic.
8. after indicating color bone and neck, that is set down into it, show the curve of the spine. Center line flows from collar bone to navel to pubic.jpg

9. rectangular block for the head and very generic, light notes for features
9. rectangular block for the head and very generic, light notes for features

10. Rib cage, pelvis and head are half of a skeleton. Double to find leg length
10. Rib cage, pelvis and head are half of a skeleton. Double to find leg lenght

11. Find position of weight bearing foot by drawing a parallel line from the center of the eye down. draw foot lightly
11. Find position of weight bearing foot by drawing a parallel line from the center of the eye down. draw foot lightly

12. inner ankle, outer ankle and arc in between plus an indication of a big toe are all you need
12. inner ankle, outer ankle and arc in between plus an indication of a big toe are all you need

13. Measure femar to foot for halfway mark of kneecap. indicate the swing of the shin, very important
13. Measure femar to foot for halfway mark of kneecap. indicate the swing of the shin, very important

14. use an angle sight to find the placement of the non weight bearing leg’s foot and knee. draw shin with a straighter line than other leg
14. use an angle sight to find the placement of the non weight bearing leg's foot and knee. draw shin with a straighter line than other leg

15. Arms last because they are lighter. Draw hand a little larger than expected with thumb, almost in mitten form
15. Arms last because they are lighter. Draw hand a little larger than expected with thumb, almost in mitten form

16. analyze the elbows using site line.jpg
16. analyze the elbows using site line

17. You can then go back through and re gesture knowing what you know now or move on to another.
17. You can then go back through and re gesture knowing what you know now or move on to another

18. the gesture should capture the Gestalt or feeling of fleeting movement or the attitude of the model.jpg
18. the gesture should capture the Gestalt or feeling of fleeting movement or the attitude of the model