A couple of weeks ago I attended a life drawing class at a local arts organization. I hadn’t taken one since I was college which was a lifetime ago.
I have to admit it was pretty humbling. At first it felt as if I didn’t know how to draw people, especially women, a subject matter that is arguably my forte. I typically can draw many poses out of my head. In a life drawing class, however the feel is different because you are referencing a live model. Often I would catch myself drawing on my own rather than studying the model’s poses. As a result, the figures would look a little stiff and unnatural.
The major headache for me was drawing hands and feet. What a pain those were, but the best artists have learned how to master them. The next time I attend a figure drawing class I will make an point of isolating the hands and feet so that I can practice sketching them.
Our model was a pro. We started off with a few five minute poses, then ten minutes, then two twenty minute poses, and finally a thirty minute pose. I did improve over the course of the evening. Obviously the more time we had, the more I could focus on the details such as lighting and shading.
The other thing I noticed was that I was tired when it was all over. Maybe it’s just me. I have a short attention span, even when attending to my own art. I will paint a line here or there, sometimes while watching a TV show or sporting event online. In the class, I had to exert a lot of mental energy over an extended period of time.
I’m looking forward to the portraiture class being offered by the same arts group so I can practice drawing the human face. Overall I would encourage anyone to take a life drawing class no matter how many years they’ve been drawing. I was amazed at what I learned and actually re-learned from this experience.