One of the main reasons why our character’s pose might look unnatural or forced is that it is not properly balanced. This means that the pose does not allow our character to support the weight of its own body without feeling uncomfortable (making too much effort to keep the pose) or even falling to one side.
I made this tutorial trying to show my approach to drawing balanced figures. Even though the area between the hips and the ribcage is commonly used as the center of gravity (the average location of the weight of the body), I still find the pit of the neck to be a great reference for drawing atractive standing poses, since I like to start my drawings from the head and go down from there (this is the approach used by Viola French to draw elegant fashion figures)
Simple Standing Poses
For standing, straight poses, the pit of the neck can be a good reference to use instead of the center of gravity. Draw a straight line from there that goes through or close to the supporting foot, or the center of both feet if the weight is evenly distributed between them. This line should always be closer to the foot where most of the weight rests on.
Leaning or Bending Poses
When the pose is leaning or bending to one side, a better approach is to use the center of gravity located between the hips and the ribcage.
Relaxed and Rigid Poses
Relaxed poses usually have most of the weight resting on one of the legs. If the weight is too evenly distributed between both legs, the pose might be balanced, but also look rigid or uncomfortable to maintain for a long time. However, many poses can benefit from this, like robotic, military or certain fighting and martial arts poses.
Only static poses need to be balanced. Action poses (poses in the middle of a movement) might not be balanced, but the body will prevent itself from falling as it moves.
Opposite angles are created as the leg that supports most of the weight pushes its side of the pelvis up, and the rib cage moves the other way to counterbalance this. You can also tilt the head a little for a more balanced look, and to give your character more personality!
If you would like learn more about this and other fundamental techniques for drawing your characters, I also wrote a detailed review about what I believe is the best online course about figure drawing.
If you have any questions, or would like to know more about this course, let me know in the comments! 😉