Our arms start from the back because they were once wings. – Martha Graham
A gesture drawing is a laying in of the action, form, and pose of a model/figure.
I will often practice gesture drawing as a warm-up prior to starting a large art piece or going into a lengthy drawing or painting session. I like to use the Croquis Café videos on You Tube* as the videos are timed from 1 minute to 5 minutes (and longer) and it is a great way to warm up the muscles in the hand as well as the eyes and the brain. I liken it to playing scales on the piano. I would spend about 15 – 20 minutes playing scales, running my fingers up and down the piano until my hands were warm and limber. It is the same with drawing.
Gesture drawing does not allow for much time to study the figure, plan the pose, or add much detail. They are quick drawings. For me, I use them to try to capture angles and movement rather than a static pose. Those adept at gesture drawing may create realistic drawings in just minutes, typically though the drawings provide an overall sense of the form. I am most interested in shape rather than detail so this type of practice appeals to my personal aesthetic.
To learn more, click on the link below. This Gesture Drawing Lesson is free for you to download and use for your own learning experience.