Dynamic drawings with an action line

Figure drawing with basic shapes


The action line.

For creating a dynamic pose, it is important not to focus on the body itself, but to capture the whole movement of the figure. As the moves of dancers are so coherent and strong, they are a wonderful example for our action line exercises.  

The main idea is to capture these moves with one single line, the so-called action line. This line defines the main move of the body. Let's choose one of the dancers that I have sketched here and have a closer look at the basic shapes:  

The whole body is full of power and dynamic, and this dynamic has a certain direction. The aim of the action line is to capture this direction, without drawing any part of the body. It's the dynamic, that is essential, the rest of the body will come afterwards.  

So here in this picture, I have marked the action line of the dancer.

In the video you see, how we build up the dancer step-by-step. The most important part is the action line in order to create a dynamic of the move. The basic shapes help us to define the position of the body - closely oriented to the action line.  

It's all up to you and your point of view.

The definition of the action line is not a predefined one.  

For me, drawing an action line is a very personal approach. Because: as it is you, who is drawing the dancer, it is also you, who defines the best position of the action line in order to be able to capture the dancer with all its dynamic. So a big part of sketching the dynamic of a movement, is to learn which lines are the ones that create this movement and to draw them.  

Share your own sketches.

Feel free to sketch these dancers by using the basic shapes I have shown you in the little video and upload them on Instagram. If you tag me ( @baumann_illustration ) and use the hashtag #drawinggang, I'll give you a feature in my stories.  

I'd love to see what you are up to! ‍  

Want to learn more about drawing? I'd love to keep you updated about new tips, tricks and exercises in my monthly Newsletter: Subscribe here to be part of the drawing gang.‍  

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Interested in learning more about figure drawing and dynamic poses?

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Barbara Baumann Illustration

About the Author

Hallo, I'm an illustrator and Skillshare teacher from Austria. After great experiences in the Marketing and Database sector, I finally realised that I simply need to follow my enthusiasm and fascination for drawing and illustrating.  

What fascinates me most, is this way to communicate without using any words. So expressive, so global. And this leads me to my second fascination about drawing: the exchange with others, with you! In my drawing courses I simply love to see the enormous developments of each participant - initiated by exchange and practice. That's what I like to do here, too. 

The idea for this blog comes from the bottom of my heart: to get you close to drawing and to show you that you too can draw #drawinggang  

It's all about learning to feel the drawing!

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