Last night I went with some friends to a life drawing class in the basement of a pub in Stoke Newington. I went to life drawing most weeks when I was in 6th form, but have been very sporadically every since. I think the last time I went was 9 months ago. Usually they’re in some sort of neon-lit municipal hall. This one was in a purple room, with music playing and with the most flattering lighting I’ve ever seen at a life drawing class. It was nice, I’m going to go back. Usually returning to life drawing after a long break makes me want to cry in frustration, because my pen just won’t do what I need it to do, but it wasn’t so bad this time. I didn’t produce anything of any value, but it was a good start, and I’ve lost the knack of foreshortening and hands. Here are my sketches. I had to resort to taping them to the door and photographing them, because the paper was too big for the scanner. I always write comments all over my sketches. Is that the drawing equivalent of talking to yourself?

Life drawing classes are also a good reality check to remind you of what real people’s bodies look like outside of the photoshopped nonsense we are constantly fed from the media. People with bony bits, saggy bits, fat rolls and scars are often the best to draw. The model this time had a lovely smooth athletic figure with no real protruding bits, which is actually more of a challenge to draw, because it’s a flat/curved plane with no interior details, so you have to get the exterior shape totally right (I didn’t get it right this time). I’ve clearly been looking at too many Egon Schiele drawings for my own good. I also didn’t succeed in capturing the model’s face. Next time.

Initial crappy warm-up sketches drawn straight in pen.

Longer sketches. I tend to draw straight in pen, or just make a very basic pencil sketch for proportions. The more I fanny around with extensive pencil sketching, the more tentative my final line seems to become. I am also not great at cross-hatching or elaborate shading.

Longer poses. Didn’t quite get it right.