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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.
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Miss-Bowtie Featured By Owner 1 day ago  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  New member 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
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?
Nsio Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Dynamism works always
NekoLeoCruz Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2014
Kushieda  Love  Llama Emoji-10 (Shy) [V1]  ocno :P
Altern8ty Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014  Student Digital Artist
thank you master!! this really helps me a lot! :)
NyxDarkPhoenix Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014
great lesson to remember 
Mountain-Spectre Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2014
Thanks, you rock!
Mike-Tortuga Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2014  Student Digital Artist
thanks man, i like your tutorials
Makaylafashion Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is the main thing that Im struggling with now. My poses are so boring and I can't ever figure out how to make them more dynamic! This helped quite a bit!
Juno-Septemus Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Super helpful, awesome ^^
DeekoFox Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
So ridiculously helpful.
You are a genius.
MajinKidBuu Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014
very helpful. thanks
Frappe7 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014
LOL this is what I need to learn. My drawings are so stiff ^_^
REY-HAN Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014
Nice :clap:
Geioji Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Bad ass explanation! You're so wonderful for sharing all this knowledge  \(^.^)/
Crow-Dan Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014
God, I love your tutorials.
MinatoLikesSmoothies Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
WOW This is so helpful!! Thank you so much! Like so many people, I kinda just draw and go from there, but I will definitely think more about this idea when I draw in the future! Gumball Wow Icon ~arigatou~!
YuuheiDanchou Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014
Very helpful! I've never thought of this...maybe that's why my drawings looks so dull...

Do I see Cirno and Patchoulli? xD
StrawhatDShaina Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
No wonder my drawings look so boring , Thank you !
AvalonMelody Featured By Owner Edited Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for this! I've been looking for a good explanation about this subject!
I must admit though, the part about "feeling the flow" reminds me of General Iroh from Avatar The Last Airbender.
MinatoLikesSmoothies Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Avatar reference. Yessss!!!! Kill La Kill Icon: Mako 
AvalonMelody Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, someone who understands it! 
KinimiHucashi Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014
Thank you very much! :)
1Julivia Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Student General Artist
This is really good! Thank you!
LittleBuu Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!
piccohan Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014
thank you so much Chiyo Excited Icon 
TidalEspeon Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
After reading this tutorial again, I think I'm starting to get the concept of dynamism : o Thanks for making it!
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Submitted on
October 19, 2013
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