Gesture Drawings Lesson

Gesture drawings are made by drawing quickly and loosely. Gestures are meant to capture the essence of your subject matter. Slow and analytical is NOT gestural. Creating gestures requires a fast and messy drawing technique.
There are different ways to draw using the gesture technique. When creating a scribble gesture you will use the skinny tip of your drawing implement (charcoal, pen, pencil, sharpie marker etc.) - a mass gesture requires that you press the side of a charcoal stick to the paper (doing so allows you to cover broad areas quickly).

Quick is the Key

Begin by drawing quick 10 second gestures.

The drawing below was done in 10 seconds!

Move quickly around the page - keep your hand and arm moving. Quick studies that capture the "essence" is what you are aiming for. This means you don't stop to analyze anything - just draw as fast as your arm will allow!
scribble gesture charcoal

Drawing Gestures Menu:
Sharpie Figure Gestures

Gestures of Angels

Drawing Gestures of Dogs

The drawings on this page began as quick 10 second drawings. That means the entire figure was on the page within 10 seconds (as a scribble gesture).

After 10 seconds, I turned the charcoal on it's flat side to make broader bigger marks - continuing for 30 seconds longer to create the Mass Gesture drawing you see below.

charcoal mass gesture

As you can see, it does not take long to capture the human figure on paper. Under 1 minute is plenty of time!

Sustained Gesture

If you decide to continue your drawing beyond one or two minutes then you will be creating what is called a Sustained Gesture. Continue to draw quickly and loosely. Feel free to erase back to the white of your page to define the highlights and give volume to the form on the page. For more charcoal drawing instruction please check out the

Charcoal Drawing Lesson.

These drawings are of the human figure. But anything can be drawn as a gesture. To see more examples, please visit the Gesture Drawings page.

Learn to Draw - Online Drawing Lessons