(Nephtali by Glen Keane)
What is life drawing?
Life drawing or figure drawing is when you draw a person (model) in a certain amount of time whilst the model goes through a set of different poses. The model is often nude which makes it easier for the artist to draw the forms, but also because clothing isn’t ‘alive’.
Life drawing can be done with a model in front of you, or from pictures such as the ones you can find on pixelovely (Line of action) or by viewing online sources such as Croquis Cafe where a model is in a recorded session, taking on the poses for several seconds to minutes at a time which is great if there are no life drawing classes in your area.
In the second term of my course we had a by-weekly session of 3-6 hours of life drawing which was for the animation students. This consisted out of quick poses between 30 seconds to 2 minutes. It was great to attend just to get a grip on the gesture of the model.
(Few life drawings.)
For me, whilst the life drawing sessions were a really great experience, I knew I lacked a lot of understanding of what I was drawing. I know anatomy, how the leg bone is connected to the knee and the shoulder to the arm, but if you have only 30 seconds to draw someone’s whole body, you need to focus on the essentials, not the details.
I started with the gesture, the line of action. Later on when I ‘warmed up’ I added a bit of structure to the drawings, so the flesh to the bones. Eventually I had time to add hair in some cases.
The life drawing sessions learned me one big thing, which was that practice truly does make perfect and that I have to dig deeper into the building of the structure and putting more emphasis on the gesture. I’m still too timid when it comes to pushing the gesture which later on will leave the structure to seem rather unexpressed.
The term has ended now, so I’ll continue with my drawings from the online sources, perhaps do a few studies as well which I will post here and continue with my course on New Masters Academy whilst I’ll continue to scout the web for more information about this all to gain a better understanding of how to build a form for animation.