Starting a new series of drawing courses, the Beginner Figure Drawing Fundamentals by JW Learning, with Gesture and Construction.


  • construction
    • parts/pieces
    • body parts
  • gesture: connection between the parts
  • gesture is more important than construction
  • gesture – movement


  • database of basic 3d objects
    • sphere
    • cube
    • cylinder
  • must learn to convert simple 2d flat shapes, with only an outline, to 3d forms, with depth, by putting movement and direction across the forms

Basic Forms

  • must imagine we're moving our hands across the objects

The Body as an Idea

  • start with simple objects that represents the parts of the body
    • fast
    • easy to change
    • dynamic
  • but not too simplistic, as they will stop looking like body parts
  • easy + identifiable


  • trickier than form
  • have to look for it
  • movement of the forms/relationships
  • the longest curve/axis of a form(s)
  • alive/moving
  • more curves = more alive

Basic Gesture Lines

  • the C curve
  • the reversed C curve
  • the straight line


  • leaning
  • tilting
  • facing
  • perfect sphere: no position indication
  • egg shape/ovoid: leaning
  • cylinder: leaning + tilting
  • cube: leaning + tilting + facing
  • the more corners we have, the more info in space we have
  • must consider eye level, too

Using a pencil to determining the T/L/F

  • use a pencil with a stripe at its end
  • align it with the object we're observing
  • the stripe should help us identify the object's leaning, tilting and facing

The Fundamental Action Line

  • the story
  • captures an idea
  • alternate between gesture, construction, gesture, …
  • adding construction over gesture stiffens up the drawing
  • if gesture is too elastic, construction can fix it by bringing it back in place
  • if the drawing is too rigid, adding gesture can loose it up


  • continuing (overlapping) a gesture line from one form into another will help determining which form is in front

The Connection Line

  • gesture will become less dynamic as we build
  • rule of thumb:
    • look for the narrows part in the subject as an indication where to start the gesture
    • have the construction part intersect that line


Once you've completed the lecture and demonstration part of the video, do the timed exercise session. Start with warms up of the Basic Forms for 10-15 mins, then complete the 25 min timed posed session. Only focus on parts of the figure at this stage, but feel free to try the whole body also if you want to challenge yourself. Follow along with the second demonstration session if you wish. It's recommended you try the timed session a few times using the different methods outlined in the lecture. Transcript of the lecture is attached.

  • basic forms (spheres, cylinders, cubes) warm up for 10-15 mins
  • 25 min timed exercise
  • follow along with the second demonstration
  • repetition recommended


Basic forms warm-up
Basic forms warm-up
Timed exercise 1
Timed exercise 1
Timed exercise 2
Timed exercise 2