The Importance of Gestures

Today I got a ton of work done but not much of it was on drawing or painting but I do have something to say about the importance of gestures.

For years I used gestures as a warm-up. I didn’t quite understand their purpose. My introduction to gestures was from school, it was an assignment, I sucked at it and the teacher didn’t explain the “why” of gestures. Or maybe they did but I didn’t pay attention.

Thanks to Nicolaides and his book The Natural Way to Draw I’ve begun to understand why gestures are important. The purpose of gestures is not to make a good looking drawing super fast. Their purpose is to force you into seeing the larger shapes of an object quickly. But not only just the object but how it exists in space, its form, its volume, its motion, its weight maybe even how the major values play over it. This is a huge undertaking when you only have a minute to work.

The Idea of Gesture

Although I feel that you can simplify all this complexity by focusing on another aspect of gesture drawing that not many teachers I know have spoken about. I’ll call it “idea”. But it’s more than just that one word. Wrapped into “idea” is what you think the figure is doing, your response to the model and maybe even your sensation of what the figure was doing, is doing now or what it will be doing.

There is a lot wrapped into your subjective idea of the model but this idea, a split second sensation, can guide you to all the other aspects. Look at the last photo in this list, on the bottom left you will see two figures. The one on the far left is draw with harsh, jagged straight lines but the one to the right of it is using more flowing and organic lines.

The specifics of this line change came from my idea of the figure. The guy on the left was a business man with a sharply pressed suit and I thought of technical, analytical and logical structure. The lady on the left looks emotional, happy and her cloths were flowing so I drew her with organic lines.

Your feelings are important

If you use gestures to hone your intuition toward your own feeling you can use those feelings to simplify all the aspects of gestures by omitting everything that doesn’t pertain to your idea.

Hopefully I can impart some wisdom of the importance of gestures and why they can help you with all art you do. Because it’s not about the gestures, the drawings themselves, it’s about the inner energy you bring to the work. This is where art really comes from and gestures can be a great way to get in touch with that inner energy.

One Minute Gestures


The normal 15 minute warm-up in graphite.


Daily Composition and Sketch

Most of my time today was spent on website changes and improvement not only for my website here but for A wonderful website devoted to healing our planet and our bodies at the same time. So this is why I drew my computer for today’s sketch.

The composition for today was of a person at the grocery store leaning heavily on their cart behind me at checkout.

daily composition and sketch

What went well, what was awesome! Celebrate It!

I got a ton of work done on the websites and I was inspired to write this post on the importance of gestures.

What needs work? What did you learn?

For the rest of the week I would like to define a #1 for each day to work on first. I feel that most of my day has been moving from one thing to the next with out any clear picture.

How am I going to Optimize moving forward?

First thing tomorrow I will define a #1 for the day then plan out my day to get that done first along with all the other important and awesome stuff that I’m super motivated to accomplish.

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