Pose breakdown: How to draw a school girl riding a bicycle

Bicycle is a very common form of transport here in Japan, and we often see scenes in anime of characters riding their bikes. Since it’s common for students to ride their bikes to school, I’m going to use a school girl as an example today and take you through exactly how you can reproduce this pose yourself.

Picture the scene – blue skies, a young girl making a dash to school on her bike – hair and school uniform blowing in the wind as she rides. We want to fill these kind of scenes with plenty of movement, so let’s see how!

Riding her bike energetically

This is a scene of the character riding her bike at high speed, heading to school. We see her bright, energetic expression, and plenty of movement as the breeze and tailwind blows her clothes and hair.

Point 1

By having the strands of hair blow around in different directions, we can depict the speed of the bike

Point 2

The wind has blown up inside the sleeves too, so we get them puffing out like this

Point 3

Same as for the sleeves, the skirt has been buffeted up by the wind too, and we see it floating up a little and billowing in the wind

Point 4

Her red cheeks and open mouth show us that she’s exerting herself and pedalling at speed

Point 5

For action poses like this, it helps to shift the “camera angle” – the angle from which we’re viewing the character. Playing with the perspective will make the scene look more dynamic than if you just draw from a plain front or side angle.

Drawing a bicycle from the side

Point 1

From this angle, as the foot pedalling the bicycle raises up, and the skirt flows in the breeze, we should see a little bit of the underside of the character’s thigh

Standing up to pedal (a view from the back)

Point 1

When the character leans forwards and raises their leg into this lunge position, their bottom sticks out, so be sure to make the folds of the skirt show the rounded shape

A view from directly behind

Point 1

The sleeve is being pulled tight as the character leans forwards, so we actually don’t see too many creases

Point 2

The force and effort of pedalling the bike means that the knees and thighs point inwards slightly

Point 3

Again, we see the bottom sticking out as the character leans forwards to pedal

We hope this detailed pose breakdown will prove helpful when you are drawing characters riding bicycles in your work! We used a school girl as an example today, but most of these tips can be used for both men and women characters, so be sure to try them out in your work.

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