A couple weeks ago I went to a life drawing session and was kind of horrified at how bad my short-pose gesture drawings were. I'm honestly categorically against teaching people to draw the human figure solely with fast gesture drawings, but at the same time I was mortified at how bad mine were - skritchy messes of lines that did not show at all what the model was doing.
We "warmed up" (how I loathe that word) with 1-10 minute poses, but most the session was a 3-hour pose. The drawing above is the 3-hour pose, and again I was amazed at how frantically I worked to capture the pose within the 3 hours, and felt the final drawing was not very successful.
Below was the best of the short poses from that day, a 10-minute pose. I'm not even going to post the 1-minute gestures.
So after that experience I decided I needed to do some homework before the next class and so I looked at Bridgman (the god of comic book artists). I did some sketches from my Bridgman books and then moved into gesture sketches of master figure paintings.
Ok, I am not very fast yet - each of these individual figures on this page took 30 to 60 minutes to begin to capture the pose. But my goal is make highly accurate gesture drawings: simple, undecorated sketches that clearly show the feeling and intention of the movement.
When I went back to open life drawing session yesterday, I felt just these few hours of "homework" helped a lot! My gesture drawing improved greatly:
I still struggled with capturing the poses quickly and efficiently, but I think all these drawings are better than the first day's drawings. And since I left a lot of the construction lines in you can see how I am using the "movement curve."