Curious about learning how to draw movement?
Here are four key insights for learning how to draw movement:
- Ignore perfection and drawing mistakes
- Use pens and markers when learning how to draw movement
- Draw on location
- Sketch people and animals from life often
Drawing movement is one of the most important and interesting things you can capture in a drawing.
Ultimately, when you learn how to draw movement, you're trying to communicate energy into your drawings.
Also check out my recent guides about observational drawing and how to draw animals.
1. Don’t worry about perfection when learning how to draw movement
When learning how to draw movement, it's important to focus on the overall shape and movement of your subject rather than getting caught up in small details. This can be challenging, as many people believe that to draw something well, they need to capture every little detail. However, when it comes to drawing movement, it's often more effective to simplify and focus on the big picture.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when trying to learn how to draw movement:
Keep it simple
When drawing moving objects, it's important to keep your drawings simple and focused. One way to do this is to use as few lines as possible. This can help to avoid clutter and confusion in your drawings, and can also help to keep the focus on the main movement you're trying to depict.
To keep your drawings simple, focus on the larger shapes that make up the pose of the moving object. This can help you to get a feel for the overall structure and form of the subject, and can also help you to better understand the movement you're trying to depict.
In addition to focusing on the larger shapes, try to imagine a line of action that will guide the movement of the subject. This line can help to give your drawing a sense of direction and momentum, and can help to make the movement feel more natural and realistic.
Focus on the main movement
When learning how to draw movement, it can be tempting to try to capture every detail of the subject you're drawing. However, this can often lead to a cluttered, unrealistic drawing that doesn't effectively convey the movement you're trying to depict.
Instead, try to focus on the main movement you want to depict. This can help you to keep your drawing focused and avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary details. Instead of trying to capture every detail, think about the larger shapes and lines that make up the pose and imagine a line of action that will guide the movement.
By focusing on the main movement, you'll be able to create a more dynamic, realistic drawing that captures the essence of the movement you're trying to depict. This can help to make your drawings more expressive and engaging, and can also help you to avoid getting bogged down in the details.
2. Use permanent drawing tools when learning how to draw movement
Using pens or markers can be a useful tool when learning how to draw movement, as they allow you to make bold, slashing strokes that can help to emphasize the lines of action in your drawing.
This can be particularly useful when sketching a moving figure, as it can help to give your drawing a sense of energy and dynamism.
When using pens or markers to draw movement, it's important to focus on getting the motion down on paper, rather than worrying too much about detail. This can help you to capture the essence of the movement, rather than getting bogged down in small details that may not be as important.
Paint is another great medium for sketching movement, as it allows you to lay down visible, sweeping lines that can help to convey the energy and dynamism of the subject you're drawing. The thick, creamy consistency of paint makes it easy to create bold, expressive strokes, and because the paint is opaque, you can layer it on top of previous strokes without muddying the colors.
When using paint to sketch movement, it can be helpful to use a bigger brush than you would for a detailed painting. This will allow you to lay down bolder strokes without getting too specific, which can help to emphasize the lines of action in your drawing.
3. Learn how to draw movement on location
Drawing on location, also known as “plein air” drawing, can be a great way to learn how to draw movement, as it allows you to capture the energy and dynamism of the world around you. By drawing on location, you can add a sense of spontaneity and energy to your artwork, and can also push yourself to capture movement in a variety of different scenarios.
Here are a few tips for making the most of your time sketching on location:
- Leave your pencils and erasers at home: Drawing only with inky pens, markers, and watercolors can help you to focus on the task at hand and not get too caught up in the details.
- Pick an artistic location: Choose a location that inspires you and that offers a variety of opportunities to draw movement. This could be a park, a city street, or any other place that offers a range of subjects to draw.
- Practice drawing movement in as many scenarios as possible: Push yourself to draw movement in as many different scenarios as you can in just a few short hours. This will help you to develop your skills and build your confidence.
- Set a time limit: Remember, we're trying to practice drawing movement, so try to spend no longer than 5 minutes on each drawing. This will help you to stay focused and avoid getting bogged down in the details.
4. Sketch people and animals as often as possible
I live less than 5 minutes from the San Diego Zoo. It's the reason I have so many filled sketchbooks.
Not only from drawing animals but the people walking around the zoo as well.
There is movement everywhere.
There are a couple of reasons why sketching in parks and zoos is so helpful for artists.
There is always plenty of movement to capture in the world around us, whether it's animals pacing back and forth in their cages, people walking around or interacting with each other, or any other type of movement. This makes it easy to find subjects to draw, and provides endless opportunities to practice your skills.
For example, you might find it interesting to sketch people at a busy street corner, or animals at a zoo or wildlife sanctuary. There are also many other places where you can observe and sketch movement, such as parks, sporting events, and performances.
By keeping an eye out for opportunities to sketch movement, you'll never find yourself at a loss for something to draw. And as you practice, you'll get better at capturing the essence of movement in your drawings, and you'll be able to create dynamic, expressive artwork that captures the energy and dynamism of the world around you.
Tips for sketching people and animals
Sketching people and animals can be a challenging but rewarding way to practice your drawing skills.
If you're new to sketching these types of subjects, here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Use light lines at first: This will allow you to easily make changes as needed, and will also help you to get a feel for the overall structure and proportions of your subject.
- Start with the biggest shapes first: This will help you to establish the overall structure and form of your subject, and will make it easier to add details later on.
- Observe your subject carefully: Before you start drawing, take the time to observe your subject carefully. Look at the shape of their head, the way their body is positioned, and the way their features are arranged. This will help you to capture all the nuances of their appearance in your drawing.
- Practice regularly: The more you practice sketching people and animals, the better you'll become at it. Don't be afraid to make mistakes – that's how you learn!
Additional tips for learning how to draw movement
Capturing movement and motion in your drawings can be a challenging but rewarding task. To make your drawings look more dynamic, try using light and dark values to create a sense of depth and dimension. You can also use gestural lines to suggest movement and energy, and vary the thickness of your lines to add interest and visual variation.
In addition to these techniques, it's important to think about the path of action – where is your subject moving from and to? Paying attention to the details can also make a big difference in conveying a sense of realism.
To help you capture the feeling of movement accurately, you may find it helpful to use reference photos or videos. Experimenting with different mediums can also be useful, as some mediums are better suited for capturing movement than others.
Finally, don't be afraid to take your time – a drawing doesn't have to be completed in one sitting to be successful. And remember, making mistakes is a natural part of the art-making process, and they can often lead you to new and exciting places in your journey.
By following these tips and practicing regularly, you'll be well on your way to creating dynamic, expressive drawings that convey a sense of movement and motion.