Tag Archives: charcoal


23 Oct

I started a lifedrawing class 2 weeks ago – every Wednesday 6.30 til 9.15 pm. I had high hopes that I’d post about it regularly, but the first weekend I was sick in bed and last weekend I kinda forgot…

This post will try to make up for that.

I’m really enjoying the class, but it was intimidating walking in the first time. At least half the class have been going for quite a while – it felt a bit cliquey and the feeling was probably compounded by the fact that our tutor was away and we had a stand in who didn’t know who anyone was either. I was glad that I’d had the two years of classes beforehand (including some lifedrawing) otherwise I might have been quite overwhelmed! Anyway, once we got drawing it was fine and both that tutor and our real tutor are lovely. Both classes have followed the usual pattern – start off with a series of very short poses – 5 or 10 minutes at the most. Then onto longer poses, with the last of the night usually being about an hour or so. Being at the university is different than doing the courses through adult education. Firstly, the standard is higher (i think!) And it seems a bit more.. avant garde. New terms are being used – like ‘narrative’ and ‘tension’ (and others I can’t remember… :-/) and there’s definitely a sense that we’re not just thinking about the mechanics of drawing, we’re also thinking about composition and intent and, er, stuff (am still learning about this).

Our first tutor suggested we stuck up our art once we got home so we could think about our work. Mine lay rolled up for a couple of weeks – until yesterday when I hung it up on the lounge room door (so I won’t ruin the new paint job on the walls!).


This only includes the longer pieces. I have probably another 5 or 6 sheets of the quicker drawings too, which means I’m accumulating paper at a rate of knotts. I’ll porbably have to chuck out stuff in the long run.

We’ve had the same model for the past two weeks – Clare. My favorite thing about Clare is her hair – it’s short and curls about her ears. It makes her seem like a pixie. So far I’ve only worked in pencil or charcoal and overall I’m pretty pleased with the results.



I’ve been concentrating of drawing what I see – it’s a limitation of mine that I almost always end up trying to reproduce exactly what I see. However, it’ll be interesting to see how it goes this week. We’ll have a new model – Graeme – and I’m planning to try some stuff with pen and ink, which should be a lot more fluid and impressionistic. We’ll see.

Nekkid Leydies

24 Jun

I am surrounded by pictures of nude women right now. Or, specifically, many pictures of one nude woman which I drew in my class this morning (so it’s really not that scandalous after all). I have done three life drawing classes now and they’re one of my favorite things. They’re always quite intense – lots of quick drawing in relatively short periods of time. The class flies past at an amazing rate! Having a time limit is a great way to loosen up and stop worrying so much about putting in the perfect line first time. I accepted some time ago that I’ll never put in the perfect line first time so I’m quite happy to scribble away, without thinking too much. A lot of my other classmates are much more careful though. Today I was really very relaxed about it all and I’ve ended up with some crazy pictures. None of which I’m photographing for the blog becasuse I can’t quite decide if they’re so crazy they’re good or if they’re just crazy.

Anyway, we started off with quick poses (2 or 5 minutes), executed loosely in different colours to capture tone (this is the theory at least!):

These short poses are all instinct – there’s no time to think about what you intend to do – or even to really work out if you’re drawing in proportion.

In longer poses (15 minutes), there’s time to check proportions, although this often results (for me) in less successful pictures than the really quick ones. I have too much time to think!


(This one’s ok – though I didn’t put the final black in until the very last minute, when I discovered I’d drawn her arm in the wrong position!)

We also did longer (15-20 minute) poses in charcoal and pastel and this is where I really went crazy. I think the problem with 20 minutes is that it’s not long enough. There’s enough time to go past the quick instinctual poses, but not enough time to think really deliberately about what you want to do. As a result I just end up scribbling for the whole time, which leads to more lines/colour on the paper, but perhaps not much else.

This is a good example:


Now I really like this picture – but it’s not accurate – her waist should be much longer than it is and her breast is massive! The red tone has been put on pretty much randomly (the white does represent highlights on the body). One thing I’ve learnt today is that if I’m not really careful I do just draw arms and legs (and bodies) of some idealised woman that I seem to carry in my head. The same proportions come out time and time again – and unfortunately they’re not the same as the model we were drawing! Again – I need to work on relationships to be able to identify and correct this.

I’m happy that I’ve produced a nice picture, but I’d rather it was less random and more deliberate – that I’d actually thought about what colour was going where and not just put it down on a whim. To a certain extent I did start doing this during my last picture, which we got 25 minutes to do, and which I’ve not photographed yet as I stuck it in my portfolio last minute (I left a pages free for something from this class). But it was still too rushed to feel like I could calm down and really think things through.

Getting the right balance between ‘looseness’ and deliberation is quite difficult.