Life Drawrin'

The last few Sunday nights I've been going to a life drawing session I found out about through the Richmond Illustrators Club. It's been a really fun thing to do, educational and quite daunting, as I haven't drawn from a live model in about a million years. I took several life drawing classes in high school and college, but like many aspiring comic artists at that age, I was a complete idiot...I didn't take it seriously, and learned absolutely nothing. I wanted to draw like Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes, not George Bridgman! It's a wonder my brain could generate the thought necessary to continue breathing.

Anyway, the now: I think some of these drawings might be okay, but honestly, I have no idea...they could be horrible. The consistent problem I have is that, after decades of drawing, I "know" what a foot or a hand looks like, so when I sit down to draw a live model or from a photograph, my brain draws from memory rather than drawing what's right in front of me. It's a difficult thing to get over, and I've really been making a conscious effort to do so.


Chris Lowrance said...

I should really do more life drawing. There was briefly a Doctor Sketchy's night here in G'Boro, which took life-drawing and made it enjoyable, but alas the venue closed and took the class with it.

Jay Geldhof said...

My old life drawing teacher would tell you to not be so "seduced by the outline" and that finding the construction of the figure is the most important thing. Of course he also said by the year 2000 we would all be pissing in the sink and drinking out of the toilet, so take it for what it's worth...

willy willions said...

Nice stuff, Chaps. Good for you. And kudos for getting out of your comfort zone. It's humbling, but it's the only way to really improve. These drawings don't suck at all--they seems like they are really loosening you up. But, it's also important to remember that it's okay for sketchbook drawings to suck. Don't be afraid of that. If they never suck, you probably aren't trying anything new. Think of it like going to the gym-- you're excercising, not making museum pieces.

It's interesting that you are worried about trying to draw what is in front of you, rather than working from memory. I've read a number of animator blogs lately that actually encourage drawing from memory when working from a live model, rather than slavishly copying. This one below is by Mark Kennedy, a Disney storyboard artist. His most recent post is of the Famous Artists School chapters on drapery and folds, but in an older post he talks about constructing from memory while drawing from life:

The only advice I would give (and this is coming from a guy who virtually never draws anymore, so keep that salt handy) is to try to get the feet in there, too. Sometimes you can't see them, because there are people in front. If you can, move. Otherwise, try faking it. Especially for those quick poses, I think it's good to try to get the figure to look like it is standing on something. That forces you to think about where the weight is. It's a hard thing to do, but it will serve you well, without any real extra work.