Gesture Drawing

Alex Woo
8 Lessons (6h 15m)
8 Week(s)
English French Spanish Portuguese

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  1. Watch Video Lessons at Your Own Pace
  2. Assignments Included
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  1. Watch Video Lessons with a Planned Curriculum
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Course Description

The top artists at the top studio never stop learning. But have you ever wondered who teaches them? Award-winning story artist, Alex Woo, does.

In this incredible, eye-opening course, Alex will break down the fundamentals of gesture drawing into 7 foundational topics. You will learn the importance of distilling gestures into lines of action and simple shapes, creating strong silhouettes, effectively using space, extrapolating ideas from a pose rather than just anatomy, and finally, finding stories in your gesture drawing.

"Gesture Drawing with Alex Woo" consists of 8 lectures presented over 12 weeks.

  • Adobe Photoshop

Lesson Plan

The line of action is the foundation upon which you will build the rest of your drawing. It is analogous to the main idea or thesis in an essay paper. There is always a point to a well-written paper, and the same is true of a well-drawn drawing. For your first assignment, you will be distilling poses down to their bare essence - a single line of action.

Shape will help you determine the overall feel and dynamics of your drawing. It is another form of distillation, and the next step from your line of action. Your assignment this week will be to abstract poses into shapes.

Creating a strong silhouette will enhance your drawing's "readability". A strong drawing should be "readable" even when it is completely blacked out. This week, you will be drawing with the intention of creating strong silhouettes.

Using space will help give your drawings depth, and make them feel grounded in a physical reality. Spatial depth will add dimension to your work and help pull your viewer into your drawing. For this assignment, you will focus on creating depth and space in your gesture drawings.

Using exaggeration in drawings is analogous to using hyperbole in a rhetorical debate: you're pushing extreme examples in order to effectively communicate your ideas. In gesture drawing, we should aim for communicative accuracy over anatomical accuracy. For this week's assignment, you will focus on pushing and pulling aspects of the pose in order to effectively communicate your ideas.

Extrapolation is the process by which you "read between the lines" and see beyond what is there. Through successful extrapolation, you will SEE a pose of limbs, muscle and bone, but FEEL an idea, emotion, or action. For your assignment, you will extract ideas you see in the pose, and instill them onto unrelated characters and objects.

Story is the most important element in all of gesture drawing. All of the earlier topics we covered are meaningless unless they are used in the service of a greater good - telling a story. Your assignment this week will focus on drawing the pose in the context of a story.

I will review the course topics, talk about how they fit into the final communication of your story, and offer you my final thoughts on gesture drawing and its importance on growing as an artist.


Alex Woo

Alex is a story artist at Pixar Animation Studios. He has worked on the films Ratatouille, WALL-E, Cars 2, and Finding Dory. Alex has a B.F.A. in Film/TV Production from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He also directed and produced the short film "Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher", which won a 2004 Student Academy Award. Alex used to teach gesture drawing class at Pixar University.