Dynamic figure posing really has two main components that the artist needs to work with to be successful. The first is exploring the extremes of human motion without going beyond the physical restraints of the body. The second is establishing a strong action line that conveys a consistent momentum within the figure.
The joints of the body have natural limits to movement. The arm, for example, only bends at the elbow in one direction. Contortionists may defy the natural limitations of the human body, but drawing a limb that is pushed way beyond its natural limits will often result in a drawing that looks odd or disturbing rather than dynamic. Some exaggeration is okay when posing dynamic figures, but overdoing it might push your drawing from dynamic to grotesque. To create a good dynamic pose, you need to push the limits of human movement, but not break them.
For years comic book artists and animators have known that the extremes of movement are the most dynamic depictions of human action. These art forms have consistently pushed the human figure into more and more extreme movement to add drama and suspense to art. Take a look at the three figure poses shown in Figure 8.4.
You can see from these pictures that the beginning and end of an action are more dynamic than the pose that is partway through the punch.
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