What should I look out for when drawing a character running?
Answer Tom Foster replies
Depicting highly energised poses is about knowing what to emphasise for the greatest effect. A light exaggeration in muscle function in a few key areas can help me communicate my character’s strain and adrenaline rush.
In the case of a running pose, my obvious first consideration is the legs. It’s important to remember that, just as the biceps and triceps of the arm bulge noticeably when bent or straightened, so too do the flexors and extensors of the leg. When extended (as with the advancing leg here), the muscles on top of the thigh become more pronounced, as they tighten to pull the leg straight. When the leg is bent (as with the receding leg), the muscles on the back of the leg are the more built-up, because they’re responsible for pulling the lower leg up to meet the thigh. This causes the overall shape of the thighs to change, becoming thicker at the upper end of whichever side is operating harder.
Meanwhile, the upper body will twist from one side to the other (thrusting the right arm forward, if the left leg is extended and vice versa), becoming most twisted when the leg is advancing farthest, as the movement of the arms serves to counterbalance that of the legs. I make sure balance is maintained between the advancing and receding portions of the body, otherwise the character will look as though they are about to fall flat on their face.