I am fortunate that when I studied art in college, my figure drawing instructor relied heavily on gesture and contour drawing. My text for that class was The Natural Way to Draw. Gesture drawing is a way to feel or empathize with the subject’s attitude and movement and to subsequently capture it with quick lines.

Everything has gesture:

In gesture drawing, you are not capturing the outside of an object. You are capturing the movement, the energy, and the attitude of the object.

Provo has created some good Youtube videos that explain gesture drawing.



Provo says that exaggeration helps increase the drama.

Most fashion illustrations are highly exaggerated:

 Illustration from Pantone

Although gestures are often comprised of a few simple lines, they are not stick figures. Stick figures are stiff. They do not capture movement or attitude.

Draw the Spine First and Add Mass and Details Later


Provo begins by drawing the head first. I suggest that you begin a gesture drawing by drawing the spine first. The spine is where the movement is usually expressed. I draw the head after I draw the spine. If you place the head too soon, it will restrict the movement of the figure.