Make your drawings more dynamic

Turn a flat figure pose into a dynamic one with this expert advice.

3 tips for creating dynamic characters

Once you've mastered the basic techniques of how to draw, you can start to experiment with more fun and challenging illustrations. Dynamic poses are fun for artists to create, exciting for the viewer, and can strengthen the story and composition of your illustration. They're best achieved with loose gestural thumbnails or sketches, in which you can visualise the pose, angle and composition of the character.

During the initial sketch stage, a figure can become flat or stiff, taking away from the dynamic energy and storytelling that an artist wants to create. Some common situations that can cause this include lack of depth, inaccurate perspective or foreshortening, a non-dynamic camera angle, and a pose that's not based on the beginning or ending of an action.

Dynamic poses are fun for artists to create, exciting for the viewer, and can strengthen the story

You can turn a non-dynamic pose into a dynamic one by creating gestural thumbnails. Work on top of a chosen gestural thumbnail with cylinders, blocks, volumes and perspective, before fleshing out the final pose with lighting, rendering, detail and special effects.

01. Gestural pose thumbnails

3 tips for creating dynamic characters

Create gestural pose thumbnails to help you decide what your character will be doing

I create gestural pose thumbnails, thinking about what I want the figure to be doing, what angle I want them to be viewed from, and how I want them in the scene. I build upon the chosen sketch with volumes and forms, fleshing it out with cylinders and blocks to achieve the three-dimensional angles of the body parts.

02. Adding detail

3 tips for creating dynamic characters

Build on top of the volumetric pose with more detail

On a new layer, I build on top of the volumetric pose drawing with more detail, fleshing out the hand poses, clothing, dynamic hair groups and shapes, and dynamic accessories such as Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth. I then clean up the detail drawing and prepare it for the painting phase and final adjustments.

03. Lighting

3 tips for creating dynamic characters

Block in the basic lighting with an airbrush

I block in the basic lighting with an airbrush, thinking about the volumes and how I want the lighting to affect them. Once I'm happy with this stage, I go in on top with more rendering and detail. When the rendering is finished, I add finishing effects such as motion blur to add extra motion and dynamism to the illustration.

This article originally appeared in ImagineFX issue 34. Buy it here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Hoefener has worked in the gaming and entertainment industries for six years now. And she's been painting and publishing her work online for well over 15 years.

Topics

Art