Any tips for drawing a underlying skeleton for poses? Whenever I try it, they always seem stiff. And Viv never seems to use them...
Some tips for if you’re laying down guidelines/structures for your poses:
Use thin lines
Thin lines give you more space, to be able to see your guidelines better when you flesh it out, and add your character’s details later. Also it’s easier to erase!
Don’t worry about the initial structure being stiff!
Skeletons are there to give the pose solidness and act as a base to flesh out your pose, so don’t worry if your guidelines/skeleton is looking stiff or sketchy, it’s just like drawing a stick-figure after all! They’re there to make sure limbs are of the same length, and proportions are consistent (unless you’re drawing foreshortening or angled poses).
Perhaps one of the reasons why your structure is stiff perhaps you’re gripping your pen/pencil too hard, which results in creating shaky lines? Just relax your hands and shoulders, flick your wrist when drawing short contours, lift your arms for longer and smoother lines.
If you want tips in terms of practicing : Do figure sketching (with references!).
Just grab a reference image of a pose online (LINK):
You can trace over them using basic shapes and lines, as if you’re drawing a stickman, but a little bit more complicated.
Or you can draw the structure from scratch and use the image as reference!
Then you flesh out the anatomy, with basic geometric shapes or contours, whichever way makes it easier for you to understand how it comes together.
This is my way of laying out the shapes and lines, but your structure/method may vary after practicing and trying out which way you’re the most comfortable with.
Tracing over reference images (and practicing) will give you a good grasp on how the structure looks/works, the movement range limit of each limb. You can do this with any reference image, with both humans and animals, even insects, vehicles, objects! It’s all about breaking down anything into shapes.
(Additional info: The purple lines are part of a contrapposto, when the lines of the shoulders contrast with the line of the waist. It gives a curved look to the body, and makes it more dynamic compared to a basic standing pose.)