What do you look for when conceiving ideas for poses?
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    What do you look for when conceiving ideas for poses?

    The human body has seemingly endless variations of positions in which it could be posed. Yet, certain positions seem more likely to be more aesthetically pleasing than others. When you are thinking of poses for your artwork, what is your process for selecting those positions that you think would be most aesthetically pleasing and/or convey your idea the best?

    Last edited by FlameDragon; May 25th, 2012 at 01:07 AM.
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    I try to get a natural feeling pose. This is a combination of imagining/acting out a pose, and trying to get long gestural components. Also I think a lot of beginners tend to draw everything sort of flat on, and don't foreshorten things at all which looks very awkward or like a person was squished between two pieces of glass, so I usually try to get a bit of foreshortening on at least a limb or two.

    At the bottom of this image there is a sort of rule of thumb for poses that I like to think back to a lot. (image is from http://androidarts.com/art_tut.htm)

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    It just entirely depends...every time. Sometimes its about storytelling...sometimes about an iconic, heroic pose...sometimes an echo of a classic, traditional pose from art history...sometimes about an interesting, dynamic or unusual pose or composition. It can be about foreshortening, shadows, light, juxtaposition of interesting contour, etc. There isn't really a process, your question is actually answered in the asking, it just depends on what pose or composition best captures the idea.

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    When I'm doing figure drawing studies, it's all about how I can challenge myself with the form. Like, how can I test what I know about torsos with this pose? When I do personal work, it's related very much to the concept I'm working with. A lot of my personal stuff is more about anxiety, so I tend to gravitate toward either twisted figures or curled poses.

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    Wes Burt talks a lot about using paparazzi/tabloid photos for poses because they capture spontaneous non-posed figures with good quality in natural light. Also, celebrities are usually in good shape. Here's an example:



    Brad Pitt at some airport. Awesome pose, awesome ref.

    Google Street View is another great way to find poses.



    Last edited by OldJake666; May 25th, 2012 at 04:23 AM.
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    I second google street viewer.

    Sports is a good thing to study great poses. Sports are natural and since they tend to be dynamic the poses have clear line of action, balance and direction which are all key to aesthetically pleasing poses. There is a natural flow in the body when the athletes are in action and this flow tends to lead the eye throughout the body or to a focal point which is just appealing to look at. Some sports with great flow are MMA, any form of running, basketball has interesting posing too. Just pick the sport with poses most applicable to what you want to draw.

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    You know what's a fantastic resource for action poses? Sports Illustrated. It comes out every single week so it's usually pretty easy to find old issues that people might be throwing away (check doctor's offices, etc.)

    It's packed full of action shots! Athletes also tend to have great facial expressions, because of the high emotions involved. You can copy the basic poses and then change the costumes and environments.

    If you can't get the print magazine, just go to the photo section on their web site: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mul...photo_gallery/

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    For me the pose almost always comes out of the picture and/or the character depicted... If I know who they are and what they're doing, I sort of get inside their head, and mentally act it out. The action comes naturally from that, and the action dictates the range of possible poses... The composition ends up determining which of those possible poses might work best (or sometimes the action informs the composition... or both...) and I tweak from there to make it all harmonious.

    Usually there's a lot of thumbnailing involved, trying out different points of view and different stages of the action I'm trying to capture.

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    Maybe it's my imagination (or lack thereof), but I'm finding it difficult to come up with original poses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlameDragon View Post
    Maybe it's my imagination (or lack thereof), but I'm finding it difficult to come up with original poses.
    Do they have to really be original though (also echoing what JeffX99 said)? If you're doing a pose just for a pose's sake (as opposed to the pose having real significance in the story of illustration) I'd suggest you browse through refs that have interesting poses for inspiration. Like watch movies that have exaggerated poses (any Jim Carrey comedy should suffice, or action movies with action poses) choose an interesting pose and then if needed get more refs for that pose, like taking a photo of yourself in said pose and so on.
    Same for gestures, doing loads of gesture sketches while actually watching the movie can help, and I don't know how well your sketchbook shows how much art you really do, but I see zero gesture sketches in there.

    Also like said, acting it out by yourself does really help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Do they have to really be original though (also echoing what JeffX99 said)? If you're doing a pose just for a pose's sake (as opposed to the pose having real significance in the story of illustration) I'd suggest you browse through refs that have interesting poses for inspiration. Like watch movies that have exaggerated poses (any Jim Carrey comedy should suffice, or action movies with action poses) choose an interesting pose and then if needed get more refs for that pose, like taking a photo of yourself in said pose and so on.
    Same for gestures, doing loads of gesture sketches while actually watching the movie can help, and I don't know how well your sketchbook shows how much art you really do, but I see zero gesture sketches in there.

    Also like said, acting it out by yourself does really help.
    For example, I hire models for drawing sessions. I usually have them do 10 minute poses, but some of the poses I want to develop further into a more finished piece. I've been having them recreate poses by some of my favorite artists such as Bouguereau, Cabanel, but I want to start coming up with original poses now. Your gesture sketch idea sounds good though.

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    I really like poses such as these, where it is not the typical straight-on shot of a person just standing (not that such shots aren't interesting, just that these are more visually captivating). The human body is so beautiful in its endless variations of poses.

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