I have finally understood the value of gesture. Many teachers have indicated how important it is when drawing the figure but I never really listened. It’s difficult to explain why, but I will try. I think that gesture does multiple things, first it allows you to draw the figure many times within a short period. Secondly it forces you to see the large masses an flow of the body, because you don’t have enough time to fuss with the details. Thirdly, it forces you to move quickly, to make a decision and stick with it and the more you do this the more you train your eye to make correct decisions instinctively.
After doing a bunch of gestures consisting of 2 minute and 3 minute poses I did a longer figure drawing, about 20 minutes. Not only did the longer drawing progress quickly, but it went smoothly with little correction and very accurate proportions.