Inventing poses

It’s not easy imagining them. But it can get better with practice. And that’s what I’ve been doing. An excellent accompanying read is Force : Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators. It’s one of those books that’s perfect for kicking you out of a rut, inspiring you to loosen your strokes. It’s worth several rereads; I’ve only skimmed through some parts of it, and they are immediately useful.

I’d say there are several ways of approaching drawing/sketching that I’ve seen so far. Each one of them is useful in its own right, but the real progress happens when you start to mix and match them together. Specifically, I’m talking about:

  • The skeleton/stick figure approach : Very good for initial posing. Translates poorly to foreshortening exercises (at least initially)
  • The anatomy approach : Ranges from knowing a few basic landmark muscle groups to very detailed knowledge of musculature. Very good for capturing volume and outline. Requires some practice to apply to foreshortening exercises.
  • The blob/cylinder approach : Very good for indicating foreshortening before more detail work. Not so good at capturing a realistic outline.
  • The force approach : Almost a meta-approach which can be used to validate any pose you can think of. Good for dissolving stiff poses or adding more dynamics to the figure. Can be used to exaggerate a pose greatly.


I’ll probably doing a lot more of figure drawing; so I’ve set up a new Poses Gallery for reference purposes.