If you’ve ever eaten a really good peach, chances are you’ve tasted a bad one too. It’s disappointing, but that’s the risk you take when you eat fruit. Unfortunately for us amateur sketch artists, the same rule applies to those who draw live models.
Throughout your life drawing career, sometimes you’ll run into some really professional, steady models, but sometimes you won’t be so lucky. Chatty, wiggly people willing to pose nude in front of a room full of strangers are a dime a dozen, so prepare yourself for the inevitable.
When I attend workshops, I bring lots of pencils, an eraser and enough music to last me through the night. No matter your model’s style (whether quiet and still or conversational and unsteady), I strongly recommend listening to Nick Drake while you draw. His music is quiet enough to keep you calm, but busy enough to drown out the sound of chatter.
With that said, now that you know everything I know about life drawing, it’s time to put theory into practice.
Below, I’ve prepared a warm-up sketching exercise for you to draw along with to get an idea of what it’ll be like when you attend your first workshop. The pose in the video lasts two minutes, but you’re welcome to pause it and set a timer for a longer sitting (20 minutes).
While I intentionally wore socks to spare you from having to draw my feet, I left my hands visible so that you could give them a go using the skills you’ve learned in my previous posts. If you still end up drawing cow teats, however, don’t fret. Even some of the pros avoid drawing hands.
For those who would like to practice drawing other artists into your sketches, try drawing my shadows as if they were real people. And remember not to look at the other people in the room for too long or you’ll blow your cover.
Once you’ve attended a few workshops, I’m hopeful that you’ll find your own older man across the room, and that you'll enjoy life drawing as much as I do.
Cindy is an aspiring writer who has recently decided to adopt a new hobby. Equipped with her sense of humour and limited artistic ability, she will take you on a tour of some of Ottawa’s life drawing workshops, and hopes to inspire you along the way.