The line of action is a key ingredient to making your character’s poses look more dynamic. In this guide, we will explore what the line of action is and how it can be used to make your character poses come alive.
What is the Line of Action
The line of action goes hand in hand with making a character’s pose easier to read. Think of the line of action as an imaginary line running down a character’s spine. The line of action is a curved line. Making the line of action curved, as opposed to drawing it as a straight line, gives your character’s pose more force and attitude which, in turn, aids in making your character’s poses more visually interesting to the viewer.
The line of action is a simple curved line that evokes movement. Avoid making your line of action S-shaped or straight – it will hinder the overall force and make the resulting pose look less dynamic.
Below are examples of poses utilizing a strong line of action. Note that even though the character may be standing "still", there is still an attitude being projected, simply by having the torso coincide with the line of action.
When drawing from life, find the line of action – note it down, and then proceed to exaggerate it. It’ll make the resulting pose feel more "alive" and less stiff.
In the example below, we can see that as the line of action is made more horizontal, the character’s run appears to be getting faster.
To give our character poses even more variety, we can twist the torso against the hips. By "breaking the plane", we automatically add depth to a pose. Coupled with rendering foreshortened elements of the body, the possibilities are endless.
The line of action can make your character poses more dynamic and easier to read. Give it a try on your next character design!