Life Drawing
Lesson I
Gesture -- The Foundation of Figurative Art

While you wait for my animation to load, let me tell you what this lesson is all about...

Gesture sketches are made quickly. Gesture poses are short in duration.

I have been teaching life drawing for twenty years. On the first day of class, I introduce the gesture sketch. It is a good way to start the figure drawing process, for learning, but much more besides.

For this lesson, let's agree that a gesture sketch lasts no more than two minutes, and can be as short as fifteen seconds.

The gesture sketch is important because:

Mature artists use gesture sketching routinely.

A gesture sketch can be a beautiful artwork in its own right, but it's also the first raw marks under a highly finished painting.

Gesture sketching can be used as a warm-up and refinement exercise, just like practicing scales for music, or floor and barre work for dance.

Gesture sketching is used for active thinking -- Most artists plan their artworks in a gesture sketching style.

Gesture sketching is essential, not just because it is taught as a first step in drawing, but because it is central to the art making process.

Don't pass off this lesson if it seems too rudimentary. It is possible that some of your drawing problems will be solved by using these particular and essential bits of information!

The Stick Figure and Its Skeletal Foundation


* Are you interested in taking figure drawing workshops with Rebecca Alzofon?



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This page created February 14, 1998
1998 by Rebecca Alzofon. All rights reserved.