Something that I like to convey with posing is the character's inner thought. This is something that they might be feeling but not showing in a very obvious way. Maybe the face will say 'mad' but the body pose is a bit 'frightened' or maybe the reverse (think about a mother who just found her child who wandered off in a crowded area. Her body language might show relief, but her face might show anger). Choosing your poses carefully can go a long way to help your character communicate complex inner feelings and give them great depth.
One thing I learned from one of my mentors (Mark Behm) while at Animation Mentor was that you should always write the emotions (or thoughts) out in words near your thumbnails while you are deciding on poses and planning your scene. It is a constant reminder of the goal of your posing. I can't say how many times I 'got into' a pose and started really working out some cool idea, and then looked over at the word written next to my thumbnails and realized that the pose I had drawn had stopped communicating the original emotion. I had gotten wrapped up in creating an interesting pose and lost focus of the bigger picture. Having those emotions written out helped me to quickly make the necessary adjustments and correct the poses. As he said, (I am paraphrasing) "It seems redundant, but go through the process every time." And then he disappeared in a puff of ninja smoke.
Guest Blogger Josh Riley