I really do think of artistic skill as being much akin to muscles. It seems the perfect analogy to me. Some people are blessed with the genetics to have a good physique (think ‘natural talent’). Just as even those fortunate few can grow unhealthy if they spend all their time on the couch, so too can even talented artists grow… weak if they don’t exercise that talent.
The What – A Page Full of Figures
Draw a collection of random figures in as many different poses you can fit on the page. Work on getting unusual poses – not the traditional ‘look at me posing for the camera’ stuff that is so rampant in comic books.
Try different body types. Thin, thick, tall, and short.
The idea here is to keep going. Keep filling the spaces left between figures until you feel the page is packed. This will give you ideas for unusual poses based on the odd shapes between the existing figures.
How This Helps
This exercise is good for a number of things, but the main ways it benefits you are:
- Gets you to try new poses – It’s all too easy to fall into a routine when it comes to how to pose characters.
- Helps you to keep things loose – filling the space and working with new and different poses makes it easy to keep moving from one figure to the next.
- Helps you learn to improvise proportions and body shapes – with the more unusual of the poses are not like the reference photos you may have already collected. It gives you a chance to work on something you can’t (or at least are not likely to) have reference for, and that’s great for building art muscles.