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How To Draw Dynamic Anime Poses

The dynamic pose -- something that all artists who drew up drawing the same standing pose over and over can agree can be a pretty daunting task. But dynamic poses are there to bring more visual interest to your characters, and can really make your artwork stand out from the rest! Let’s go over some tips and tricks that can really bring your character art to life.

These dynamic pose tips are somewhat advanced and will tell you what to keep in mind when drawing dynamic anime poses.

Not into reading? Don’t worry; check out instructor Alyssa Wongso’s video on How To Draw Dynamic Anime Poses!

Tip 1: Focus on your line of action

two human figures drawn by Alyssa Wongso; the figure on the left stands straight while the hand on the right waves at the viewer, while the other figure is in a dynamic pose with both arms stretched to either side of them.

Your line of action is also known as “gesture”. While both of these poses are of the figure just standing there, the one on the right has far more visual interest because their line of action is more curved and fluid. The figure on the left has an almost mirrored pose, while the figure on the right has far more movement throughout their body. Keep this in mind while illustrating your poses!

Tip 2: Adding props can help create dynamic poses

two dynamic poses drawn by Alyssa Wongso, the one on the left has the individual preparing to shoot a bow and arrow, while the figure on the right holds their skirt in the hand on the left while twirling.

Whether it’s a skirt, a weapon, or even something already attached like hair, a prop can add some extra movement into a dynamic pose! A skirt can emphasize a twirl, a weapon can emphasize a swing, etc. Incorporate props into your poses to really push the amount of movement the individual is doing!

Tip 3: The lines in the body shouldn’t be parallel

two partially constructed figures drawn by Alyssa Wongso; the figure on the left is perfectly parallel, while the one on the right bends towards the right.

The lines of your body refer to the line across your shoulders and across your hips. If these lines are all parallel to one another, it can make the figure seem very boring and stiff. When illustrating a dynamic pose, you’ll want to make sure these lines are not parallel by tilting your shoulders and your hips in different directions.

Tip 4: Add in Contrapposto

An incomplete construction of a figure drawn by Alyssa Wongso, bending towards the left, while a sack of flour is drawn in a similar position on the right of the figure.

When your torso is bent, the squashing on one side and pulling on the other is called Contrapposto. One side of your figure is compressing while the other is stretching outwards. Your torso then resembles either a piece of elbow pasta, or a flour sack! Depending on the style you wish to achieve, this can be exaggerated greatly.

Tip 5: Draw your poses with 3D shapes

The same figure, now drawn with 3 dimensional shapes by Alyssa Wongso. To the right of the figure is the same flour sack on the top right, while on the bottom right two vertical cylinders are drawn.

Your poses shouldn’t look like you’ve cut them out of a sheet of paper and stuck them back on with glue! Use 3D shapes to block out your pose so that your character also looks 3D. The shape you’ll find that you need to use the most is a cylinder, especially around your legs and arms.

Tip 6: Figure out the flow of your clothes

The same figure drawn by Alyssa Wongso, now with linework and the beginnings of clothing flowing towards the left.

Your character’s clothes should be affected by the movement of the character themselves and if there’s any wind that you want to be occurring. When the body is stretched to one side, the flow of the clothes will most likely go towards the side that is squished.

However, this can change if there’s supposed to be stronger wind coming from another direction, such as the character running or if it’s just windy in the area they’re in. Keep in mind as well that wind and gravity will also affect the character’s hair, and will usually flow in the same direction as the clothing if it’s longer!

There we have it! Remember to keep these tips in mind the next time you draw an anime pose, so that you’ll never have to worry about stiff posing again! Feel free to take these tips and apply them to your own art style as well, exaggerate even further if you have a more cartoony style, or reel back a bit if your style is a little more realistic. If you really want to take your anime artwork to the next level, check out our Cartooning and Anime and Advanced Cartooning and Anime classes for more lessons like these!

Want to learn how to draw human figures? Check out our blog on human proportions of all ages!

Teacher Resources:

If you’re a teacher that’s looking for classroom content centered around character design, visit this quick and easy resource!

If you’d like more worksheets related to art, check out our teachers pay teachers page where you can get worksheets and lesson plans for your classroom! More classroom resources like this can be found on our art resources for teachers page, where we break down the elements of art, art history, and more!

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