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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
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    How helpful are life drawing classes?

    I've been drawing for 16 years now but my art is still mediocre. When I draw from a reference picture it comes out superb but when I try from my memory, it comes out terrible. Even trying to draw Homer Simpson, who I've seen 10,000 times over 17 years, I still cant draw him accurately without a reference picture. Should I take life drawing class? Do you think it may help me improve? I think I need to relearn the basics of drawing. What is the class like, such as on the first day when you are doing life drawing for the first time? How much help does the instructor give?

    Also what are some good classes in NYC?
    Last edited by FlameDragon; July 10th, 2007 at 02:25 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Thanked 7 Times in 3 Posts
    I'll make this quick. Yes, you definetly should. As an artist they are essential.
    It depends on the school, but my first day was just a "lets see what you can do" and we drew some plants and things around the room..... Nothing hard. Your instructors are there to help you so...yes they are helpful.
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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Thanked 378 Times in 165 Posts
    If you want to do anything that is remotely linked to art, life drawing is likely the most important class you'll ever don't even need to go to a class right away (although that would be helpful), just look around is everywhere after all, so try drawing from real life instead of photographs, etc and i think you'll be surprised. I started drawing from life about a year ago, before that i think i had the same problem as you..and although i'm not that good yet, i'm making steady (ish) progress. best of luck to you!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Thanked 112 Times in 93 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by FlameDragon View Post
    I've been drawing for 16 years now but my art is still mediocre.
    Ditto, most people even professional artists acknowledge this. It's what helps us understand that we can improve a lot more, which is true for any artist.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlameDragon View Post
    When I draw from a reference picture it comes out superb but when I try from my memory, it comes out terrible.
    This means that you don't have a clear understanding of the human body or facial structure yet. AKA, you need to study from life a lot more until the point where you know where and how certain body parts form and shape depending on perspective, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlameDragon View Post
    Should I take life drawing class? Do you think it may help me improve?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Thanked 14 Times in 5 Posts
    Yes. Probably vastly so.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Thanked 2 Times in 1 Post
    I'm in a drawing group in my area. The majority of the group are people in their 30s and 40s. I think there is a gentleman in his 50s that attends. Great bunch of people.

    You should never stop life drawing. Ever.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Valdosta, Georgia
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post


    even if you are not interested in drawing portraits or figures you should attend a figure drawing class. You can draw still life or nature, and probably should, on a regular basis around the house.

    Check into your local art scene. Artist groups, museums, etc. You can probably find a figure drawing class outside of the college environment. Some nude, some semi-nude and some fully clothed.
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  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    it is a must must must must. the reason you can draw from a photograph, as much of an amazing skill that that is, is because you dont have to deal with the third dimension and convirting the third dimension to 2d. When I went into my drawing class the first thing we did was draw flat 2/d collages, which trained our eye like your drawing from photographs has done. Then we moved to simple manufactured opbjects and we would set up little still lives, this was used to help us continue our training and realize things about persepective. and finally we moved to organic objects before finally the human body.

    The one thing i also reccomend is getting an artistic anatomy book. Hell if you can join a life sculpting class, if anything you will get a firmer sense of perspective and weight. I really do reccoment the anatomy book though because if you know why that bump is there and whay that concave is there you will be able to draw it without a reference. I know from experience. and im still learning

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Detroit, MI
    Thanked 141 Times in 85 Posts
    I've always been told & taught that if one can draw the human figure- in all of its intricacies (weight, shadow, form, mass, etc.), one can realistically draw much simpler things like cars, buildings, trees, etc.. When it's all said and done, the human figure is comprised of the ol' stand-by's of tubes, spheres, cubes; what's truly difficult is the ability to stitch all of those simplistic forms together to make a believable human being. If one can master the ability to draw a believable figure, simple stationary inanimate objects should be a cakewalk.

    So yes, stick to drawing the figure 24/7.

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