Fantasy Art School Banner



Youtube graphic
I have a youtube channel with over 700 Videos!

The Art Lessons

Lessons by Guest Artists

Art Books and Supplies

Will's Other Stuff

More Stuff

Hi, Thanks for visiting my website. My name is Will and if you have questions
or would like to
contribute projects or ideas you can contact me Will

Lesson 14: Drawing Action in your fantasy figures

Drawing and conveying action is a difficult thing to do. It takes time and practice but you will get very good at it if you do put in the practice. This lesson on action is rather extended because there is a lot to learn but first I will go over some of the more important points.


fantasy action drawing of two figures in battle

Using the body to convey action - We all know what the human body looks like and we all know how it moves and the shapes it takes when engaged in different types of activities and motions so in order for you to make your action poses look good you have to carefully observe the rules of the body.

This also applies to Fantasy Creatures - Maybe you are drawing creatures that don't exist so there is a certain amount of freedom you have in how they move but they still have to follow the rules of body mechanics in order to convey natural looking action. Your figures still have muscles, a skeletal understructure and joints and in order for you to draw believable characters and figures you have to be aware of these things and adhere to the rules of what makes sense.

Fantasy Creatures Still Follow the Rules of the Human Body - No Matter how distorted they are. (Usually - but of course we don't want to stifle creativity; If your drawings are way out there then that's ok too)


About drawing the Musculature: One of the most important things about action is conveying this action or stress in the musculature. When a muscle is strained it shows. You can see the muscle as more defined and bulging inside the skin. This means you would accentuate the dark and light spots more. We will cover more of this on the next few pages of the lesson but for now just remember that muscles look different when they are stressed into action poses.

action thumbnail

For This lesson: One of the best ways to improve your ability to see and to draw action is to draw a lot of small figures. When I am doing a large and finished composition I will do a lot of smaller sketches to try to get an understanding of what the bodies are doing and what they should look like. I call this "Thumbnailing" It is simply the process of doing lots of quick sketches in an attempt to see what looks natural and right.


Do some thumbnailing: I recommend today you do at least an hour of mini sketches of figures in different poses. Don't worry about how good they look just try to convey action in a natural way. Notice how the body bends and moves. Try doing exotic creatures too. Think of these thumbnails in the same way I do - they are just studies to help you understand the poses and action of the figures.

This thumbnailing of action is a critical skill that you should master and it is something you should do on a regular basis. It will quickly develop your skill as a fantasy artist. Make it a part of your regular routine and before you attempt any serious piece of art you should do lots of thumbnailing so you can get a feeling for how you will compose the picture.


We are going to do more work with action in your fantasy drawings but for now we take a short break and look at the shapes of swords Continue on with the lessons Artist Mannequin - Features: -Mannequin. -Material: Hardwood. -Accurately proportioned figure adjusts to assume many positions. -Ideal for sketching or as an attractive moveable sculpture. Product Type: -Paint. Dimensions: Overall Product Weight: -0.7 lbs. Overall Height - Top to Bottom: -0.5". Overall Width - Side to Side: -12". Overall Depth - Front to Back: -12".


Sign up for my newsletter!

Do you like making projects and exploring a variety of hobbies? Sign up for my free newsletter. I give you regular updates on hobbies and projects you can make. it is totally free and I don't share your email with anybody.