Important lessons from life drawing
I was thinking about what life drawing can teach me and if I need it and why. Actually those are valid questions to ask. We shouldn’t just do thing because someone says so. We should be able to understand how things we do affects us and how it will be useful for our work. We should know If we can improve and how from the experience. If you want life drawing to help you develop your skills you need to identify your problems firsts. But the usual problems of many artists are the fear of drawing, fear of failing, putting too much pressure on making the perfect picture. In the end artists don’t even start drawing and have problems with coming up with ideas from imagination.I found a perfect solution in life drawing and I want to share why I think so and how it helps me personally.
- The most important reason is overcoming the fear of drawing. It helps me with starting and not putting too much thought into drawing. It puts me in the moment and forcing me to stop hesitating. I need to stop being shy about putting lines on paper, especially when the subject are people. It takes me out of my comfort zone that is in front of computer. It’s challenging to go outside and draw in the middle of crowded coffee shop. I will just draw without thinking just to be over with it. The most important would be produce finished piece, not the most perfect image ever. Also I would advice to pick a tool that you can’t erase. Be aware that you can’t undo the lines and be confident about that. My tool of choice are ink and markers.
- It will make you work faster. You will need to find shortcuts when you draw because people won’t pose for you 30 mins. Sometimes it will be just 10 sec to get the image so the trick is to see and understand the gesture and then draw it without the model. If you can’t get the result right so quickly you will be forced to look for tricks how to be most efficient with lines. How to use just most essential lines to portray someone or something. You will start noticing what is the most important. I would say this is pretty advanced thing right here. If you will practice that you will be way faster with your drawings and it will help you in your professional career.
- It will give you greater understanding of perspective and spatial awareness. I think we all understand that those are basic things in drawing. Putting things right in perspective. identifying horizon line and vanishing points, 2 and 3 point perspective. I would guess it’s one of the hardest things to learn and artists usually try to avoid it. We shouldn’t avoid hard things. How much better the image looks when you add perspective to it.
- You will understand objects in space which will help you translate 3D objects to paper. Photo references are already 2D images, your brain doesn’t have to figure out how to translate object into flat piece of paper. You need to do the hard work yourself and figure out how, with just lines, you will get the image that has depth. If you get that then the next step would be that you will be able to look at one object and imagine it from different angles and points of view. If you get that then you will be pretty good at drawing from imagination.
So now when you have all the reasons above what you can do ? What I would do is I would prepare one sketchbook that I have just for the life drawing sessions and I would put a deadline on it. I would say that I need to fill that sketchbook in 30 days. The challenge here is to try and draw every day to observe how your confidence will change during that time. In the beginning you will struggle of course, but try to overcome the fear. Don’t think too much and push yourself. I promise it will be better and you will gain confidence. You already starting to stimulate your brain into right direction. Confidence will show in your sketches if you continue to do it for 30 days straight. Line quality will go up. It will help you will all basics. Just think how great it will be to compare first picture to the last one. Perhaps some of you will be in the mood to continue everyday life drawing. I can guarantee that you will end up with better skills than before you started and it will be great remedy for some artist problems.