Start small and loose

ImagineFX - - ImagineNation -


De­cide how car­toony you want to get, what as­pect of the model you want to com­mu­ni­cate (per­son­al­ity trait, phys­i­cal fea­ture, par­tic­u­lar mo­tion and so on), then try to tell that story with the pose. In my case, there is an ex­cite­ment to Josephine Baker’s live per­for­mances (or videos of them, at least) that I don’t see in most posed pho­tos. Con­vey­ing that will be my goal.


Tech­nique and vary­ing line weight can go a long way, but the foun­da­tion of a vi­brant fig­ure drawing is a de­scrip­tive ges­ture. Stay loose, ex­per­i­ment and have a clear cen­tre line be­fore adding in the limbs. Use fast, sim­ple strokes to try out dif­fer­ent ways of bend­ing and stretch­ing the body. Don’t fuss with any sin­gle ges­ture, try out op­tions un­til you find a pose that works for your theme.


Partly be­cause it’s bet­ter for a tu­to­rial and mostly be­cause it’s my favourite, I’m go­ing with the pose that strays fur­thest from the source ma­te­rial. I’ve used a lot of fluid, curved lines to get that bub­bly mood, so it’s im­por­tant to now sketch in anatomy and make sure ev­ery­thing is still work­ing pro­por­tion­ally. When you bend and twist the body, it’s vi­tal to dou­ble- check your struc­ture.


As with the ges­ture and struc­ture, you can push the char­ac­ter of the drawing by us­ing the­mat­i­cally ap­pro­pri­ate line work. An an­gry bouncer, say, might be drawn with short, straight, hard strokes. A drunk man stooped over a bar could be drawn with wavy, slightly dis­con­nected lines. For this piece I’m fo­cus­ing on smooth, jazzy curves that re­in­force the happy mood I’m go­ing for.

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