Life drawing

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Life drawing is the foundation to all drawing. At first drawing the nude figure can be intimidating or for some embarrassing to consider sketching, then drawing the nude figure may not be for you at this particular time, wait until you mature and can handle the subject in a mature grown up fashion. Life drawing is for the mature serious artist and the models are professional in every aspect.

Once in a Life drawing classroom situation view the nude figure as an object with lines and forms; no preconceptions of what you think a nude figure should look like. There is beauty in all sizes, shapes and forms etc.  It’s a given if you are in a Life drawing class you are an artist and most likely petty laugher or embarrassment is not an issue; sketching the figure is no more than if sketching a still life of fruit. The artist is looking at proportions, forms, lines and shapes before sketching subtler shapes with their lines and shadows they create. Keep shadows and complex details for after one hundred sketches or one newsprint tablet goal.

When first sketching start by viewing the entire figure without too much detail known as gesture drawing. Quick two and three-minute charcoal sketches is a good way to begin. If you can not participate in a life drawing class ask family and friends to pose for you {clothed} or in swimsuits. Most people will sit for a few moments {clothed} in order for you to sketch them. Sit where there is good lighting and work your way up into five-minute poses. Carry a small sketchbook and draw all sorts of people in different environments; quick gesture drawings of people sitting and walking {continuous movement drawing}, eating lunch at work. Five ten minute sketches of people as sleeping passengers on buses and trains or a sleeping family member crashed out in the lazy boy chair.  First start out in basic charcoal; vine charcoal sticks are softer and will allow you draw quickly and harder charcoal cube type squares are linear with more control. 

The drawings below were drawn on a paper with a little tooth or bumpy surface [cold press, paper made with cold water] Strathmore 400 series artist papers cream and pink paper using vine charcoal and a harder square charcoal found in any art store. The softer charcoals will smear used in shadow drawing as shown in the following picture. These were 15 minute poses each. Plus, as you advance in life drawing and the skill level improves {level 2}  then concentrate and focus on areas such as the head and shoulders even before sketching in color with chalks, and colored charcoals etc.

98 thoughts on “Life drawing

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