You start a gesture drawing, and it is going well. You got the overall figure shape great, proportions perfect, but something is missing in your drawing, and you cannot figure out what it is. The problem might be that you have not considered the line of action when doing your gesture drawing.
The line of action is an imaginary line that goes through the center of gravity of the gesture drawing to attain balance and rhythm. It adds flow, realism, equilibrium, and naturality to any gesture drawing.
Without knowing how the line of action works, you may be drawing a figure that looks stiff and lifeless. But once you understand how to find and use the line of action in your drawings, you will significantly improve the quality and presentation of your artwork.
It adds spice and flavor to any type of drawing, be it a character, an animal, or a plant. It is the soul of the gesture drawing.
- What is a Line of Action in Drawing?
- How to Find the Line of Action in a Figure or Gesture Drawing?
- How can Line of Action Improve your Gesture Drawing?
- Exaggerates to Create a More Dynamic Drawing
- Adds Movement and Flow to the Drawing
- Drawing Look More Natural and Fluid
- Simplify a Complex Figure and Poses
- Tips for Practice
What is a Line of Action in Drawing?
The line of action is an essential concept in gesture drawing. It is the path that the center of gravity of a figure takes as it moves. By finding and following this technique, you can create a more fluid and realistic sketch.
There are three main properties of this technique:
The Direction of the Line
The line should always move in the same direction as the figure. This direction helps to create a sense of movement and flow in your drawings. It will seem like a simple concept but trust me. It will make your gestures quite natural.
The Curvature of the Line
The line should be smooth and curved, following the figure’s contours. The contour helps to create a sense of rhythm and grace in your sketches. In addition, the action curved drawings are aesthetically pleasing.
The Length of the Line
The line should be of a length that is proportional to the figure. A long line will create a sense of power and energy in the drawing, while a short line will be more delicate and graceful. The line varies depending on the figure’s movement and creates a sense of dynamics and energy in your gesture drawings.
Now that you know the properties, let’s move to how to find them.
How to Find the Line of Action in a Figure or Gesture Drawing?
People often have difficulty finding the line of action in a gesture drawing. It is because it can be tricky to determine how to use it judiciously.
Do find below a few tips to help you find and use it:
1. To find the line of action in a figure, you need to look for the most vital and prominent line in the pose. This line will give you a sense of the figure’s overall movement and direction.
2. Start by finding the center of gravity of the figure. The center of gravity is usually located around the abdomen or pelvis area.
3. Once you have found the center of gravity, trace the path it takes as the figure moves. This line is the line of action.
4. This line must be smooth and curved, following the figure’s contours.
It is a simple concept, but it can be challenging to execute. The best practice is observing people or animals as they move and tracing the path of their center of gravity. It will help you to understand how the line of action works and how to use it in your drawings.
How can Line of Action Improve your Gesture Drawing?
Line of action can improve your gesture drawing by making the drawing look more natural and fluid. This line of action is the path the figure takes as it moves. Adding this to your pictures creates a sense of movement, flow, and grace in your drawings.
Below are some examples of how you can use the action lines to improve your drawings:
Exaggerates to Create a More Dynamic Drawing
You can use the line of action to exaggerate the features of the figure and create more expressive poses in your drawing. For example, if you want to make the figure look taller, you can use the line of action to elongate the body. Or, if you make the figure look more muscular, you can use the line of action to add more curves and contours to the body.
Adds Movement and Flow to the Drawing
The line also helps to add movement and flow to your drawing. Following the figure’s contours of action creates a sense of motion in the picture. This line is constructive when trying to capture the figure’s gesture.
Drawing Look More Natural and Fluid
Another benefit of the line of action is that it can make the drawing look more natural and fluid. The line of action helps to smooth out the figure’s contours and create a more realistic picture. In other words, if you don’t use a line of action, your drawings may look like they’re made of paper dolls.
Simplify a Complex Figure and Poses
Using the line of action, you can reduce the number of lines in the drawing and create a more simplified illustration. You can also use the line to simplify complex figures or action poses. This line is constructive when trying to capture the figure’s gesture.
The line of action can be a helpful tool for storyboard artists, comic book artists, and anyone who does figure drawing with special emphasis on improving the gesture drawings. Adding the lines of action to your sketching can create a more natural and fluid art piece. In addition, the lines of action can help you exaggerate the figure’s features and add movement.
Tips for Practice
You now understand the concept of line of action and how you can use it to improve your drawings. The best way is to put into practice what you have learned.
The concepts mentioned above in the article have been consolidated as tips, and I want to reiterate them to help you get started.
1. Practice by observing people or animals as they move. Try to trace the path of their center of gravity. It will help you to understand how the line of action works and how to use it in your drawings.
2. Use the line of action to add movement and flow to your drawings. Try to follow the contours of the figure with the line of action.
3. Use the line of action to exaggerate the features of the figure drawing. You can gain more knowledge by watching animations. The technique will help you create a more dynamic picture.
4. Experiment with different tools, Use the line of action to simplify a complex figure or pose. This experimentation will help you create a more simplified drawing.
5. Practice, practice, practice! The more you practice, the better you will become at using the line of action in your art piece.
The above gesture drawing tips will help you improve your figure drawing skills.
The line of action is a powerful tool for gesture drawing. It can help you to create more accurate and fluid drawings. When you find the line of action in your subject, it becomes easier to see their pose’s overall movement and energy.
In addition, using this principle will help you to practice accurately capturing gestures in a short amount of time.
Next time you practice drawing, try using the line of action to improve your results. You will be amazed to know how much easier it makes the process.