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Just like the line of action, the "two can" technique is another key ingredient in making exciting, dynamic character poses. In this guide, we will build on the line of action by adding the "two can" technique to create your comic character poses.
What is the "Two Can" Technique?
The "two can" technique consists of treating both the shoulders and pelvis as cylinders, each placed at either end of the established line of action.
Start off by drawing the line of action. Next, draw two cylinders, one at either end on the line of action.
Creating a Dynamic Pose
The "two cans" approach takes into account that each cylinder has two degrees of movement: lateral and vertical. In the lateral approach, both the shoulders and pelvis can rotate approximately 45 degrees around the line of action. In the vertical approach, the shoulders and pelvis can tilt up or down by roughly 45 degrees.
The best dynamic poses involve a combination of both lateral and vertical positions for both "cans". By adding a twist to your character's pose, your drawing gains more dimension.
In addition to rotating both "cans", you can also adjust their relative proximity to one another.
Drawing Different Body Types
Varying the size of each "can", as shown in the figure below, will also yield uniquely proportioned character body shapes. Muscular characters may have a larger "can" representing their shoulders and a smaller "can" for their pelvis.
Heavier characters would have the opposite configuration.
A shapely woman will have their shoulder and hips at 45 degree angles counter to each other, with the hips larger than the shoulders, as shown below:
Adding Depth and Perspective
Furthermore, you can extend the technique to include foreshortening, where one of the "cans" can be drawn much larger with respect to the other to establish a greater sense of depth.
Below are examples of poses created using the "two can" technique along with the line of action. If using photo or live reference, make it a point to "find the cans" before moving on to adding details.
The "two can" technique, coupled with an expressive line of action, can add more variety to your character designs as well as serve to make your character poses more dynamic and easier to read. It's a flexible technique that can be applied to any drawing style. I hope you've found this technique useful!