Drawing Class. Session 7. Life Drawing, male.

November 29, 2011

Only two of us in the class had done any Life Drawing before. I remember when first coming across it being almost completely overwhelmed by the amount of data or stuff that had to be transferred to paper in such an excruciatingly short time. My marks were too often harsh and scratchy. It’s been ages since I did any life drawing, demoralised by not being able to identify weaknesses and knowing how to correct them. Tutors were more interested in creating a congenial social atmosphere than getting down to the serious of business of correcting mistakes. Consulting all the figure drawing standard textbooks – Hale, Richer, Bridgman – did nothing for me because I was simply unable to have the 3-dimensional content in my head. So it’s been a long time between drinks.

Having crammed a lot of the Riven Phoenix’s Structure of Man figure drawing course in readiness for this class, I was ready to give life drawing another go. I came armed with a 100-page pad of 60gsm bond paper for the gestural and 30sec/2min poses, with some cartridge paper for any longer poses. I came away from the 2.5 hour class with 28 sketches, with only 3 or 4 which missed the mark. While all the 30sec and 2min poses were under full light, three or four 10min poses were under just one spotlight. As the teacher said, the eyes do adjust! I worked through a number of different media: willow charcoal, charcoal pencils of different types. The teacher has been very strict about only working in black-and-white.

Importantly, thanks to the SoM, these are sketches I can work with: review and re-do, analyse, re-create adding in more detail. Diane Kraus demonstrated a before-and-after showing the impact of participating in the SoM course; I will drag out some of my old life drawing sketches in a similar way sometime.

They were all done sitting down at a desk, with the A2 paper propped up in front of us; previously all my life drawing has been done standing before an easel. It was difficult to hold the charcoal in a drawing hand position, as opposed toa writing hand position. All those with props (chair, table) were longer poses than the standing ones.

Here are some of the better ones:

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