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Today in my newspost I'm gonna talk about life drawing!

skoolmunkee at 12:02AM, March 11, 2013
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OK so one thing that people who ask for art advice always get told to do is “take a life drawing class.” The way people make it sound, it's like it's supposed to change your whole drawing world, make you amazing at anatomy, and maybe even you'll see a double rainbow.

Well, a class can't do that stuff! But you know maybe you can do that to yourself, if you're in a class. Maybe not the double rainbow though. Maybe if it rains while you're in the class and the sun comes out when you're done.

Anyway! This newspost is about how I took a life drawing class because I wanted to do more gooder at art! I saw it offered, and after I convinced a friend to sign up with me, I took it!

There's a lot I could say about the experience, really. It's not a life-changing thing but you do tend to improve a lot in a short amount of time, if you're thinking about it. (Even if the only thing you get better at is life drawing.)

Some points!

1. I know you're not supposed to compare yourself to the other artists there, but it's hard not to! Some people are faster, some are better at linework, whatever. But immediately once I realized I wasn't the WORST person there, I felt better and it didn't matter any more.:]

2. I'm still shy about looking at other people's drawings! It feels a little intrusive going around at the breaks and peeking. Even though I don't mind when other people do it?

3. It was really frustrating at first, even though our teacher started us out easy (at least, now I feel like what she started us out with was easy- I didn't feel that way at the time). Draw something in 5 minutes? In ONE minute??? At the end of the first several 3-hour sessions I felt worn out. It took a couple sessions before things clicked and I felt like a fancy parts art person.

4. There's some tricks you can do, since it's about drawing what you see and not how you think it should be! Geometry and comparisons and negative space, that kind of thing. It's a little clunky but it's meant to train your eye. (which I didn't realize at first.) So even if you don't have a great eye naturally, you can still do it! (I have a pretty great eye naturally though, of course.)

5. It's great when you're in the zone and the stuff all just comes without you thinking about it, and you finish a drawing you think is pretty good and you realize you didn't have to measure head height at all or anything. Ace.

The main things I could say I learned would be:

- How to be faster but still accurate
- Capturing the essence of a pose
- Not to be afraid of really hard stuff like extreme perspective
- How to be methodical with a complex figure
- That it's also OK to be really loose and gestural
- That charcoal is great!

Still though I feel like when I'm not drawing from a pose, my figures are too stiff and deliberate. So I'm not entirely sure how much my experience transfers over into other things I draw. It's still been really valuable!

It's also interesting to look at my drawings (I took photos of most of them) and see how my approach to them has changed. I seem to have preferred styles, almost. (Although I've always relied on strong linework.) At first I used a plain old pencil and got hung up on trying to be really accurate. Once we started using charcoal it was like a revelation- be messy! When I do go back to pencils now, it's because I feel like I need to give myself accuracy practice again. The last couple of sessions though I seem to be doing this really hard-lined, squarish or angular outlines. They're really unfinished (and they take longer than I think they should do), but they're almost like practice in getting it right the first time, and being accurate but also being stylistic. I think there's an interesting feeling about them.

I'll link some pictures below (and to my twitter tag, so you can look at them all in chronological order if you're REALLY curious), but I also want to ask- has anyone else taken a life drawing course? What kinds of things could you say about it? (Maybe there should be a forum thread, since the newspost commenting system is miserable?)

Some pictures! (Some have artistic nudity)

My first one

First time I felt like I did something right

Charcoal freedom

Foreshorteningggggg

Current detailed linework

Current clunky linework

And if you really, really want to see them all

comment

anonymous?

Reashi at 3:51PM, March 11, 2013

That's pretty spot on skoolmunkee, I would add that for those that have the chance and access to Ecorche classes, should think about taking them as well. The main difference between drawing from a pic, to drawing in a classroom is that you have people there to give you tips and pointers as you draw, the critique and drive to improve is what I think makes for better figures.

usedbooks at 12:21PM, March 11, 2013

Those are really good! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Banes at 8:21AM, March 11, 2013

this is great - nice work and good post. Puttin' it in the forum as well is a fine idea, too.

MrHades at 7:37AM, March 11, 2013

Nice work, Skool! I can see a marked improvement from the early ones Keep up the good work!


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