Rodin Sketch
Rodin

When I learned how to draw the human figure one of the very first exercises i did was gesture drawing. It is a great starting point because it warms up the hands and prevent from stiff and tight drawing through long and fluid lines.

Gesture drawings are a practical exercise that can be done as a preparation for a longer life drawing session, while waiting at the train station, watching a movie or flipping through a magazine.

Rembrandt - Hendrickje sleeping
Rembrandt

The main goal is to find the gesture (or the essence) of the figure in front of us.

What are the basic proportions and forms of the figure? What is the pose and action? Where sits the weight of the figure?

These questions can be answered with a few simple lines which build the foundation for a more complex articulation of the figure with bones, muscles and facial details.

There are a few really good books on this topic: