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Dynamic Gestures Life Drawing Weekend

Dynamic Gestures Life Drawing Weekend

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Vanessa Luther-Smith


Gesture drawing is the starting place for any drawing; the first marks made to build on when observing the action, energy and life of the pose. Gesture poses are held for a short time only, so the model can offer exciting, dynamic poses, (the opposite of a sustained pose). The essence and vitality can be captured in the drawing; little detail. Without good gesture drawing, we cannot continue on to successful or convincing drawings.

Your tutor will teach you some simple techniques to observe the pose and to make strong gesture drawings that represent the human figure as a three-dimensional form in the space it occupies. Through demonstration, individual tuition and support, you will understand simple construction of the body, what the pose is about and how to draw all of it in a short amount of time.

The length of the poses will vary and will be tailored to the needs of the class but generally, short poses are considered to be from between approximately 1mins to 8mins each; we may go shorter!

Each day, we will draw either female or male models; the poses will be creative and dynamic, usually spontaneous with energy and character. This keeps things engaging, interesting, challenging and hopefully, enjoyable. 

Using soft pencils, charcoal or chinagraphs, your drawing will improve as your confidence grows. You will be encouraged to develop your own unique style within the context of exploring and experimenting with knowledge required to produce competent work. Whether you join the class for simple pleasure, or to compliment your professional work or educational coursework, your tutor will support you to gain new skills and understand their relevance to your interests.

Topics covered

  • Using gesture drawing to represent the human figure as a 3D form
  • Observing and interpreting the life and vitality in the pose
  • Understanding simple body construction
  • Recognising shapes
  • Foreshortening
  • Proportion
  • Body landscape relationships
  • Use of line

You will leave this course with an understanding of how the body is constructed, how it moves and balances and how to observe and represent all this, using some simple techniques of gesture drawing. From this observation and practice, you will be able to complete full pose drawings from this and future classes; everyday life observation or your imagination and know how to apply these skills for the foundations of longer, more detailed work.

Who should take this course?
This course is suitable for anyone who is interested in developing their life drawing skills for personal pleasure, professional development or educational coursework. It is also suitable for anyone wishing to add life drawing to their portfolio (either professional or student).  The course is particularly relevant for individuals studying or working in these fields: animators; storyboard artists; fine artists; theatre designers; fashion designers.

Level: All levels

Entry requirements
There are no pre-requisites for this course. Anyone can draw; all that is needed is a willingness to experiment, take risks and be open to trying new things without judging what you produce.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Vanessa Luther-Smith is an Associate Lecturer teaching life drawing on the MA Character Animation course at Central Saint Martins. 

She worked as an animator and animation artist for thirty years and has taught for many years. She’s taught life drawing at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication; The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art as well as at her own local classes.


Please bring to the first session:

  • Soft pencils: 4B; 5B; 6B; 7B; 8B; 9B
  • Charcoal
  • Compressed charcoal pencils or chinagraphs
  • A newsprint and cartridge paper sketchbook (A2 or A3, or one of each).

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please Enquire about this course and we will contact you when new dates are published.