Drawing 1, Part 4: Exercise 7

Studies of Moving Figures

For this exercise, we were asked to fill several pages of our sketchbooks with quick sketches of moving figures. We were told not to worry about detail, but to capture the energy of the figures.

I did a few different exercises. For these first three, I worked in my A4 sketchbook.

The first involved drawing my son as he played football in the communal gardens of my flat. The sketch only involves my son and the ball, but drawn several times on each page as he changed position.

My son playing football (i)
My son playing football (ii)
My son playing football (iii)

I worked very quickly, representing the movement of his son and his energy, whilst maintaining some manner of form and realism. I think these sketches were successful in meeting the objective of the exercise, as do capture his energy, in my opinion.

I then drew another sketch and coloured it in watercolour paint. I worked in my A3 sketchbook for this sketch.

My son playing football (iv)

I kept the paint loose, and worked as quickly as I could, to represent the different movements my son made whilst playing with the yellow ball. He had his headphones on.

I added swirling pencil and paint marks to represent the movement, and also splatters of paint, as to me these also enhance the feeling of rapid movement.

I then tried a different approach, asking my son to move rapidly through a series of movements, spontaneously, whilst I made very rapid representations of them in line. This is an exercise that a good friend showed me, from her uni days.

Capturing the energy in movement

I really enjoyed doing these rapid ‘stick man’ sketches. My hand and brain had to work very quickly to capture the movement. The figures are implied; it is more the energy I was trying to capture. I think they have an energy of their own, and although they are very simple and primitive, they tell a story.

I went swimming yesterday, and it put in mind the olympic swimmers. So I decided to do a drawing, in the same vain as the stick figures above, depicting the swimmers in a race.

Capturing the energy of swimmers

I feel that, although the drawing is simple, and the figures are implied, it is evident that they are swimming (in the butterfly move, actually). I do feel it has movement, and energy.

For my final sketch, I drew, in pen and ink, my recollection of people walking briskly across a zebra crossing. I then added loose watercolour, to bring the scene to life.

watercolour sketch of people walking on a pedestrian crossing in London

I feel the above sketch does have a feeling of movement, and depicts the moment, but I don’t feel it has as much energy as some of the other sketches, such as the football or line men sketches. But it is visually more vibrant and appealing, and the colour brings it to life.

I have really enjoyed doing this exercise, as I enjoy working quickly and energetically. I feel I have been able to capture movement, using simple methods. Out of all the images, I feel the stick man one is the most successful at capturing the moment precisely and immediately, as it moves along with the second of the movement, with little delay.


  1. I think you have such a feel for depicting figures in motion and I think these drawings really bear this out. They are all so full of life, even the stick figures. The one of the ped crossing is super. I can’t pick a favorite, though. All of these really appeal to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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