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November 25, 2012
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How to add more 'movement' to my characters?

:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012
I've noticed a thing when I draw or sketch a character. I tend to make them look really stiff and static, and was wondering how I could add more movement to them?

I think part of the problem is that my not-so-great knowledge of anatomy leads me to use references quite heavily in everything I draw, even if these references have a lot of movement my drawings still look stiff. I've tried exaggerating curves and shapes and figuring out the direction of the body's movement in order to emphasize it a bit more, but it ends up looking awkward, wonky or out of proportion.
Is my lack of understanding of the human body the problem in this?

Share your tips guys ^_^ Thank you :love:
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Devious Comments

:icondavidscript:
DavidScript Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Play around with perspective :D

Getting to know how to draw with 4-points of perspective is fantastic. Not too many artists do that since it takes practice, but the results are amazing if you can do it right :thumbsup:
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012
Interesting, thanks!
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:iconwezenbeesje:
wezenbeesje Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Professional General Artist
I once made a tutorial about poses and how to make them look interesting. Maybe that helps you? [link]
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Wow what a useful resource! Thanks so much for creating this!
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:iconspifmo:
Spifmo Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
that's alright.
try loosening your grip on the pencil ( or tablet pen ) and just fluidly moving it around to create the shapes of your drawing. don't focus too much on one area of your subject before getting the entire image down lightly and loosely. once you've visually put on paper basic shapes and composition of what you want, start refining the details.
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
I've tried this quite a few times, it looks fine to begin with, but when the 'refining the details' part comes in - that's the point where everything becomes stiff :(
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:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Professional General Artist
One thing I think about is.. get into your characters head, and then stand in front of a mirror and try out some poses they might do.

If you're the shy kind (like myself) wait til no one is around. Then play pretend. And instead of thinking "ugh I look silly" Study your body for all the nuances. Like a shy character might hunch their shoulders and fold their arms, but a loud character would stand in a much more confident open way. A character artist is just an actor in paper after all.

Also study the body language of characters in films, (less animation as it's also a drawing) and watch how different character types act and react with body language.

Not every person when standing still holds their body the same, I know I have a tendency to lean more on one leg. Watch you family and friends when they're just standing too, what way do they stand? Or walk or move their hands when talking (or not).

This observation thing gets addictive, but it also really helps make characters more alive in simple ways. You don't need grand gestures to make an excellent drawing.
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
That's actually such a GREAT idea... I've never thought about posing how my characters would pose! You are awesome! I'm definitely going to try this out. I have long wardrobe mirrors in my bedroom, so I can see my whole body which would be great C:
I should try all these things, thanks a lot for being so helpful :)
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:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Professional General Artist
If you ever watch a documentary or footage of cartoonists and animators they always have mirrors in their studios because the best place to have readily available reference is yourself.
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012
I'm lucky I have some fairly big mirrors in my bedroom then! :D
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:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
me too.

The hardest thing for me is hands because if I want to draw a left hand I can draw and look, but a right hand I have to get a photo taken. I keep approaching my family going "can I take a photo of your hands" or "can you take photos of my hands" XD

There's great stock on dA and that but I just find taking my own photos, or using a mirror, means I can pose exactly how I want it in my head.
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
Yeah, although when I need a male reference I do need to spend quite a bit of time stock searching :D
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:iconchocochiyoko:
CHOCOCHIYOKO Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Student General Artist
I would recommend looking for more dynamic poses to practice. Look up "pixel lovely figure drawing" that should help. Also maybe try drawing sports like dancers etc. Doing some action panels could also help :) good luck
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
Pixellovely is great, i've used it before! :D I also like lovecastle too :D Sites like that are just so so helpful :)
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:iconchocochiyoko:
CHOCOCHIYOKO Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Student General Artist
XD
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:iconpuppy-dangerous:
puppy-dangerous Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Your poses are pretty stiff. I'd suggest looking into dance, acrobatics, and fashion modeling, all of which will be good for dynamic poses. Get some pictures, put them up, and trace the lines of movement and the bones to get a feel for the way we move.

One thing that people often overlook, but that is huge as far as the way we read characters (and people) is the stiffness of the spine. Straight up and down is unnatural, and looks posed and formal. The more cure you put in the spine, the more personality you will show. Really work on doing doodles and sketches using a dynamic curved line for the spine.

Remember when the spine curves, you also have to reposition the legs and arms to balance. Another thing about your people is that they are standing rooted on both feet evenly- very stable but not dynamic. Most people favor one leg or the other when they stand, and will bend and rest the other leg. The position of the legs also changes how the character reads, be mindful of leg position and weight when you look at poses.

Another good resource are courses on animation. Find one that shows your really well the steps in basic animation- say a walk sequence. Good animation will show action in every frame through body position as well as the movement and weight of the fabric, hair, etc.
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012
Wow thanks for the thoughtful reply! You've said some really helpful stuff :) In the future, i'll play around with different stances when people are standing still :) You've made me think that sometimes I forget about the personality of the character when i do the pose, and simply do it that way because it 'looks cool' ... I gotta not do that really!
Your reply really helped me a lot! thanks for being fantastic :D
I did make some sketch yesterday of some woman where I tried to curve her whole body, legs, arms, spine, head, everything, but something about it still looks stiff and a bit off. I'll have another look at it later though :)
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:iconpuppy-dangerous:
puppy-dangerous Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
:) Glad it helps.
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:iconpemamendez:
PemaMendez Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
same those two on the other comments said...

plus...

you should try studying about motion blur and depth of field, also try studying from films, from an action movie or war movie try making a screenshot of a scene where a character is in a very dynamic-almost-unrealistic pose, then draw a skeleton over it (by that I mean, the usual stick figure or mannequin you use to sketch characters). do this a couple hundred times (okay, not a hundred :D but a few) after a while you'll start to get an understanding (if you play attention) on how to do more dynamic poses :)

hope this helps :aww:
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012
Good idea! :D thank you ^^
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:iconpemamendez:
PemaMendez Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
you're welcome! :)
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:iconeuride:
Euride Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You can google it. Seriously, google helps a lot xD

Usually, I try to avoid "parallel lines": legs/shoulders and waist/arms must not be parallel. Of course, there are exceptions, but following this tip usually makes my characters less stiff.
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012
Yeah, I try to make things a little 'wonky' too if thats the right word, while trying to keep in with the natural movement and balance of the body. It's quite hard!
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:iconweremole:
weremole Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012   Digital Artist
You never stop studying those things. Maybe you should look into the line of action as well. It's an animation principle but it works great in illustration as well.
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:iconeverfae:
everfae Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012
Thanks! I'll definitely have a look into that. I love how animators get so much movement in what they do :)
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