Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Nsio explains: Dynamism by Nsio Nsio explains: Dynamism by Nsio
Fourth part (if excluding facial proportions) in my tutorial series. Probably my favorite thing about drawing.

Dynamism is what makes the drawings so lively. Even a drawing without any real action should be dynamic. Dynamism makes your drawings look more natural and interesting to look at. It can also make up for many mistakes and even make them look intentional and part of the drawing.

Line of action is the manifestation of dynamism. It's a sort of invisible line that (I believe) everyone can see subconsciously. I find that there are two types of line of actions: primary and secondary line of actions.

The primary line of action, like the name suggests, is the most important thing in your character. It gives the backbone to the whole pose. That's why it's really important that it's found very early in your sketches. Without this line, your poses will end up plain, boring and unjustified. The secondary line of action is more like a compositional guideline. It helps to justify the positioning of the sub-elements of the drawing, such as clothing, accessories, hair, limbs and shapes.

Regardless the role of the action line, it's main purpose is to add feel of flow in your drawings. This flow is then perceived as dynamic drawing. A good line of action is long, strong and as continuous as possible. These are prerequisites for illustrating dynamic action.
Add a Comment:
00Nowhereman Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
wow thanks XD
CommonFire Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you I think this well help a ton ☺
OiRenka Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2015  New Deviant
This helped me a lot :)
LennyB8000 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
One obsevation about this technique:
 "Take care of your anatomy skills"

Your examples haven't anatomy problems. I'm only advertising that when we're starting playing with these lines, we use to lack on anatomy skills.
Nsio Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh I'm sure my examples have their share of anatomical problems. But that aside, yeah, this technique doesn't make up for lack of anatomy skills and knowledge. There are no tricks, but dynamism is a great way to justify things in drawings.
LennyB8000 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
I think that so too. The drawings made with this technique have something more fantastic to see.
I was advising about when I was starting to use this.
I was to focused on dynamism that I'd let aside important anatomy fundaments.
DrunkenMantis Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you. I've been looking for this kind of tutorial for ages.
Andre-APM Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Awesome tutorial!
EbonyKnight6 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is wonderful! I've been teaching myself much more about poses, and have only recently began to come out of my shell and into more action filled scenes like the ones you've explained. This is incredibly helpful and I'm very excited to use this with my new pictures! Thank you for sharing! Heart :happybounce: 
oreoes4all Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
That's on cool Patchouli Knowledge
Liny-An Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
This is one of the most intersting tutorials I've ever seen c: You explain it so well~
And I think this is a very important part of the composition of a drawing, because it gives so much more "life". It's a point that a lot of artists should work. But I suck at proportions xDD
AslayaWolk Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2015  Hobbyist
This helps soo much!! Thank you!!:happybounce: Heart +fav 
JJcity Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2015
May I share it translated into Korean ?
Nsio Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yeah sure, just link to the original :)
JJcity Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2015
Thank you. Have a nice day !
ga-ren Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Great tutorial.
chelsia96 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks for the great tutorials :D

you really help me much~
WeedShogun Featured By Owner May 26, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great help
ShinigamiRyuku Featured By Owner May 12, 2015
Great tutorial!
SqueezyBat Featured By Owner May 6, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is one of my biggest weaknesses in art. Thank you for the inspiration.
FireGoddess122 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015  Hobbyist
So. When drawing. Which would come first? Would you normally draw a rough light sketch and keep the dynamic line in consideration as you sketch out what you want? Or would you picture what you want first and use the line as your path line? I've tried to use the dynamic concept, but it's not always as "ordered" and doesn't look fully correct. The dynamic line is definitely something I want to consider in my drawings, but I just can't seem to grasp how or when to incorporate it into the drawing itself ^^;
Nsio Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
First I need a pose idea so that I can figure out what kind of dynamic action line represents that pose the best. Then before I draw anything else, I draw my intended line of action and follow it as I sketch the pose. It's just a reference line though, so I may deviate from it a little if it doesn't seem to match with the pose. When I'm done with the rough sketch, I adjust the sketch for optimizing the dynamism.

Dynamism isn't just about adding a random line, It takes a lot of understanding about many other fields before dynamism becomes particularly useful and effective. It's such a concept that you will understand later on as you keep using it. I suggest reading Nsio explains: Advanced Dynamism tutorial as well.
FireGoddess122 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015  Hobbyist
Alrighty then ^^ Thank you!
bluemooze Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015   Digital Artist
Excellent!  Thanks
Miss-Bowtie Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for making these kinds of tutorials!! I don't draw humans, but all your help applies to drawing animals too~~ I still have a load to learn, but reading your tutorials has helped me catch a sense of movement into some of my personal works that I could have never have done by myself!
GoodGuyRychard Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
hey, is there anywhere on here for muscle anatomy?
abdamit Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015
I heard "Blow me Away" from Breaking Benjamin when looking at the last Pic and the text above... I mean like, immediately
(sorry for my english, when it has flaws... I´m german)
Enzo-luuuv Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Kagerou Patchouli and Cirno Heart Great tutorial, really helpful :)
Sonomatic Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Question, how do i implement this? 

Like, do i stick a line of action in before I do anything else when I start a drawing, or does it just kind of happen if the person drawing is skilled enough?

I always know to keep dynamism in mind but I can never ever obtain it,even if i set the pose up to be dynamic. I dunno what Im doing wrong...
Nsio Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ideally, you would plan your intended line of action before anything else. But since you aren't familiar enough with the concept (yet), you can't plan something you don't know. You can still keep trying and experimenting regardless. I didn't know how to use dynamism properly myself either when I started drawing. But I just kept using it. At some point I just realized how it really works. Tutorials and tips are usefull yes, but you will get proper understanding trough trial and error.

In addition to dynamism, you need to know how human body behaves, in order to draw a natural pose. For example, if you are standing, you likely put your whole weight on one leg while the other is only making sure that you keep your balance. This causes your pelvis to twist, so you need to adjust your upper torso in opposite direction to keep your shoulders in level. Due to these facts, your body forms subtle S curve, which has dynamic flow in it. If you were drawing such a pose, you then should strengthen the presence of this flow by posing the arms and head harmoniously. The pose could end up looking quite similar to Michelangelo's David (note how the direction he is looking at continues along the line of action).

That said, just keep drawing. Look for inspiring tutorials and analyse other peoples works, especially those you find appealing.
Sonomatic Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
That makes sense, thank you~ The whole balance on one foot thing makes sense, the contrapastto concept. But yeah, it really is difficult for me right now to just "see" a line of action when thinking of a pose, i just think of the body in that pose, so I might not be quite ready yet to make use of it. Though I can try it with gesture drawing practice for now to get a pattern.

I know line of action also does not ALWAYS involve the head, but i find it hard to think of a pose where the LoA the head is not part of. Thats also a bit tricky, I think. Easy to see with the examples given but when drawing from the mind or observing any picture it's hard to really say for me if it should involve the head?
Nsio Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
When I'm drawing, I'm just thinking what kind of posing would look most appealing. I analyse the arcs on my drawing and try to follow them in harmony.

Basically, everything should follow some sort of dynamic idea, but it doesn't have to be the primary line of action. There are many other types of dynamism other than line of action, although it's the most prominent one. I usually just pose everything in a way that I find most appealing. I find dynamism appealing, so I follow it :D
Jonup Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Student Digital Artist
thank you
pandafroghat Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your tutorials are so helpful!!!! I love them so much!
EntityofthePast Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2014  Hobbyist
OOOH super helpful! Well explained too, arigatou! I never knew how to add dynamism to my characters before; I'm hoping I can learn well from this.
Dizzyd360 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for your tutorials I was getting very frustrated before because I was stuck .thanks to your awesome tutorials I am able to move forward in my art journey in stead of abandoning it.Thank you!
pixiVxam Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you. I have to learn the sciences of art someday, too :P
Sliter Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2014
Thanks so much! 
NamineLee Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I never know posing needed these line to make it engaged bless your kind heart for making this~
ghost-nerdy Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2014  Student General Artist
these will definitely help thank you
NyxRaven13 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2014  Student General Artist
thank you so much I was in an art block cause I thought my art was sucky and now I know why and how to fix it :D
Posieki11y Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
now I know why my art is so boring...
This helped so much! (Even if I have no idea how to use it) 
Thank you for making this for all of us!
Cheifrocker Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014
For the image with the ninja, how do yu get the head to look like that. I keep tryng but the head either looks small or ridculous, please help :<
Nsio Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You likely have several issues you need to pay attention. They are 1)anatomical knowledge, 2)proportions and scales, 3)foreshortening and 4)applying these three.

The thing you are probably doing wrong is that you might be drawing the jaw too foreshortened. That said, you have a basic sphere for the head and the jaw is just too much "behind" the sphere. From proportional point of view, you may not be able to position all the anatomical details in such way that the visual cues would indicate foreshortened head. And if you just don't know how the head looks like, you don't even know how the proportions, scales and foreshortening works with head. 

First of all, you need to know how the head looks, especially the cheeks and jaw. You can simply guess this, you need to study them thoroughly. Then you need to know what kind of proportions and scales the head has (in other words, how all the anatomical features are positioned in relation to each other). Then you need to know how foreshortening works. Finally, you need to know how the head is foreshortened so that it still looks like head, with all the anatomical details proportionally aligned in place according to the chosen viewing angle.
Dragon97421 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
oh thank you very helpful :)
ColonelMarksman Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm, a slight different from the "straights against curves" I found.…

Any thoughts?
Nsio Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A great finding :D

The simpler the drawing, the more prominent the line of action is. In fact, the bears in the video were so simple that even the shapes were affected, not just the pose. The same principles apply on more realistic and detailed drawings as well, but the signs are often more subtle in them.

Having straight to counter-balance the curves is a great way add impact in areas that really need that. If straights aren't used, then the balance needs to be done with curves that work in harmony. But as the guy said, the straight line is more like "straighter than a curve, so basically less curvy line is perceived straight when compared to strong arcing line. :D
Thaeonblade Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2014  Student Writer
need to incorporate this more.
Grieffon Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, youre tutorials are really great!

Would dynamism work for a calm scene, say, characters resting?
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
October 19, 2013
Image Size
1.2 MB


206,567 (35 today)
12,716 (who?)
5,312 (4 today)