I have a friend who runs the Life Drawing sessions over at the Art Institute of Colorado. As an alumnus, I get to participate for free, so I drop in every now and again to get some practice in. I do a lot of drawings from photographs, so it’s great for me to practice drawing someone in three dimensions. The other thing about life drawing is the time limit.
A photo is exactly the same every time you look at it, but a person has to move. In life drawing classes, you have a warm-up series of one to three-minute poses where you have to capture the “gesture” the pose with as few details as possible, to get your eyes and hands in sync with each other.
Once you’re warmed up, the poses get longer, moving from five minutes to ten, to twenty, usually up to an hour. Your hands are primed to be able to quickly get the body shape down so that you can use your remaining time to drop in the details of the person in front of you. You are limited by how fast you draw and how much time is left, but these are more detailed than the quick gestures. As the model progresses to longer poses, this is where you can start thinking about things like shading and details of the skin or hair. The longest poses are sometimes broken up into sessions so that the model can get a break to stretch and work feeling back into numb limbs. After a short break, the model will resume the pose so that you can continue to draw more details. It won’t be exact, so hopefully by this point, you have placed the limbs and facial features and you’ll only be working on light and shadow to finalize the piece.
Now that I’ve said all that, here are the results of Saturday’s life drawing session. Let me know what you think.