Gesture Drawing: What is it?

The flexing and forming of marks into lines and tones becomes the art of drawing, which can be divided into several competing types of drawing methods:

  • Contour Drawing (outline and inline drawing)
  • Gesture Drawing
  • Tonal Drawing (shading, illusionism)
  • Mapping / Schematic Drawing
  • Perspective Drawing

Many genres of drawing, such as life drawing from the nude figure, may combine several different methods of drawing into one artwork. So too might the quick, fast sketch combine elements of these methods.

Gesture Drawing is focused less on what things look like, and more on how subject matter moves. It is an action-oriented and action-implying way of making marks.

Here is the classic description of the difference between contour drawing and gesture drawing, from the well-known early 20th Century drawing textbook, The Natural Way to Draw, by Kimon Nicolaides:

Gesture Drawing is the main focus of Gregory Scheckler’s artistic explorations. Although he is not depicting the human figure directly, the basis of his artwork is the gestural movements developed out of wave forms, oscillations, feedback loops and similar patterns found in nature.

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