First off I apologize if this is addressed in another thread. If so please direct me there.
I am looking for any advice for drawing from life or photo reference. Right now I am using photo but plan to eventually seek out a life drawing class. What should a beginners focus be? Should I just be gesture drawing? How should I progress and what kinds of things should I try or look for while I work? A good plan for say, this day do this and the following day do this maybe? Not sure how to proceed.
Really, just go out and do it. Go to a coffee shop and draw people. They don't stand still for long, so you'll need to focus mostly on gesture. When you get better, you'll be able to nail down the gesture right away, and fill in the details later.
When you take a class, they'll tell you what to focus on.
The "Classroom for All" in the Mentoring subforum is being run by a couple of art pros and about half the weekly assignments concern drawing figures. You can get some individual critiques for your efforts there if you follow one of the assignments and post your result.
if only to loosen your hands and mind up. try not to linger past 60 secs though. You are just "stretching" your drawing muscles.
get to a class or form your own group. I'm in the same boat myself. So, first I posted here to see if there was anything going on local through CA. So far, looks like there are not a lot of folks in Chicago so far.
So maybe you can follow my next steps which i will begin next week. I'm looking into classes which you should be able to find in your area via google. Art galleries also hold sessions. So, maybe on a Friday galley opening weekend, I think they are first fridays or last of the month, i can't remember.
Gesture drawings are the best start, for you can make a lot of them in little time, just for practice. Then you can take the ones you like the most and start working it out, applying some anatomy and shading. At least this is what my figure drawing teacher recomends, and it's working great for me. hope it helps.