Have you ever tried drawing animation gestures? You must have known about a whole list required, including drawing, timing, phrasing, action, acting, pantomime, staging, imagination, observation, interpretation, logic, caricature, creativity, clarity, empathy, and so on. But one thing you are obliged to know and remember: Draw ideas, not things; action, not poses; gestures not anatomical structures.

Observe, Observe, Observe before drawing animation

Reading and observing are two emancipators of the dormant areas that will help to improve the capabilities to draw well animation gestures. Spend time reading the classics, biographies, humor, mysteries and comic books.

Observe, observe, observe. Be like a sponge—suck up everything you can lay your eyes on. Look for the unusual, the common, characters, situations, compositions, attitudes study shapes, features, personalities, activities, details, etc.

Pay more attention to drawing the Emotion not representations

A well constructed drawing should have all the parts and they should be put together beautifully, but that is not what you should see when you look at the drawing. What you should see is the emotion.
In a drawing of a starving man you should see fear and hunger and despair, and you should feel this, plus pity and revulsion and anger. All gestures won’t be quite that dramatic, but all gestures are certainly more than their parts.



Do this experiment: get a wooden match and look at it. That represents your model or, character in animation. Then light it and let it burn half way. Now it represents your model or character in gesture.

It has been transformed from the anatomical match into a burnt match. If you had to draw a burnt match you wouldn’t say to yourself, “Okay, this is the anatomy of a match.” No, you would say, “This is a match whose anatomy has been burnt and twisted into an agonizing shape. A shape that if I imagine myself being in that state—if I feel what has happened to that match has happened also to me—then this is the feeling that I have to draw, to portray.”

match animation

We must be emotional about our subject whether it has to do with serious matters or with humor. We cannot back off from our emotions – if we do the result will he a mere anatomical reproduction. A drawing or a scene is not final when a material representation has been made; it is final when a sensitive depiction of an emotion has been made.

Make the story alive from animation drawings

The significance is not in the story alone. Yes, there is anatomy, form, construction, model and two or three lines of etceteras, but only in so far as those things are expressive of the story. It is the illustration that makes that story come alive.

What is the gist of drawing animation gesture? Always remember draw ideas not things, emotions not representations.

Those things are expressive of the story.

Animost – Vietnam 3D Animation Studio

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year end party animost team



Consolidated by Animost in collaboration with Branding Simple

Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network: https://www.awn.com/
  2. Cartoon Brew – Technology: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech
  3. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist: https://beforesandafters.com/
  4. Bloomberg News: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
  5. Insider: https://www.insider.com/