The best tips to achieve expressive poses

In this article, we will explain the best tips to achieve expressive poses in your drawings. We advise you to take the live model as an example, that is not rigid. As long as it is possible, it should be in movement.

We will show you how photography and sports can serve as inspiration, the latter as body expression. Keep reading for more information!

Tips to achieve expressive poses, always movement, never rigidity.

We must always look for movement in our figures, this does not mean that we always have to draw people in action, because obviously, in many scenes, we don’t want the figures to be dynamic.

We will avoid rigidity, even in static positions. It implies learning to observe that the human body, when it is at rest, has certain movements in its skeleton, which give it the naturalness and the sensation that the characters are alive.

Between these two photographs of ancient sculptures, which we show you below, we find a historical, useful and practical example of what we are talking about.

In the first one, the “Kuros of Aristodikos” (a sculpture of 500 BC), we see the body static, hard, in a rigid and tense posture.

Escultura y los mejores tips para lograr poses expresivas

In the following image of “The David” (made between 1501 and 1504 by Michelangelo Buonarotti), we notice a series of resources used in the appearance of this standing figure.

poses expresivas en una escultura

These give movement and naturalness to the pose. As well as the alignment of the shoulders, the movement of the arms, the curvilinear path of the spine, the position of the head and the balance of the legs, among others.

How can reference photography help us to achieve expressive poses?

To achieve expressive poses, we must be attentive to capture and draw the body in natural postures, avoiding forced and rigid positions in principle.

For this task, it is necessary to practice with photographic references, so that each action and posture will look natural, then, the best option are those images of real people in everyday actions, who have been surprised by the photo, or simply did not realize that they were portrayed.

It is advisable not to work with images in which we notice the use of advertising models, where the photograph is noticeable as a layout.

The stylization and idealized postures of this type of images make them look forced and artificial, in short, unnatural.

foto con los mejores tips para lograr poses expresivas

As we can see, here is a group of runners in action. While they may be surprised, they are focused on their task.

imagen de pose expresiva

Unlike the previous example, here, we notice that the photograph attempted to freeze a stylized position. Prepared, with design and promotion in mind.

The live model drawing, the best for the training of expressive postures.

Working with a real model offers us the freshest and most complex references for our drawings. It trains us in speed and synthesis.

Although this practice is not the most used in the daily exercise of comic drawing, it is fundamental to maintain a routine of drawing with a live model. This will help us to improve and expand our ability to draw different positions.

The type of drawing, to synthesize the positions, is a fast exercise, this one, demands us to work in short periods of time, that can go from 2′ maximum, to 10′ minimum.

It is really fast, isn’t it? But it is the best technique to find the way to represent the posture through the sketch. In this way, we represent the fundamental axes of the body, without stopping in detail.

It is necessary to take into account, to rehearse with different professional live models, in order not to repeat and get used to a pattern. Encourage us to practice drawing in public spaces, for example, taking the passers-by, in our sketchbook.

modelo vivo de pose expresiva

Mannequins, another great method, to get examples of expressive poses.

This option is quite useful, but, it depends on the quality of the dummy we have. For example, the old traditional wooden dummy, used for the drawing practices, perhaps anatomically, does not have a good synthesis, of which we can make use. Difficult question, at the moment of interpreting the postures of the figures.

If we make a good search, we can find examples of better quality, with more range of motion in the joints, and a body complexion, more adapted to the real anatomy.

We can also find virtual 3D models, which can be found in applications for cell phones or tablets.

Online models, which are even integrated in the same drawing programs, as is the case of CLIP STUDIO.

Observing the arts that use corporal expression

Observing the example of other arts, helps us to have more breadth in our view as draftsmen, in the case of the expression of postures, arts, and sports that work with the body as their main medium.

They can provide us with inspirational images and wonderful examples. There, emotion, or movements, are exploited to their full potential.

Theater or dance are arts that work with the body. Through their works, performers work hard to find sophisticated body expressions and postures that synthesize emotions.

Sports, in the case of some disciplines, offer images in which the most extreme capacities of the human body are deployed, and all these examples can serve to achieve a repertoire of expressive postures.

In short, it will all be a matter of nourishing ourselves with good sources, drawing, and adapting those postures to our characters, and to new contexts.

imagen con mujeres danzando realizando una pose expresiva


As we have seen during the article, there are many tips to achieve expressive poses, and all of them are important, so help yourself with photography, mannequins and any live model you can find. This is a simple summary. To learn to perfection, you will have to go back to the beginning of the post.

What are you waiting for to achieve and master expressive poses?

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