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    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    On Tuesday I'm starting a summer semester class, beginning live model drawing.

    It'll be a very fast moving class, three days a week, 8 hours a day, for about a month. I'm very nervous about it, I seem to have a mental block about drawing humans, I psyched myself into thinking it's infinitely harder then other kind of drawing, and that I'll fail miserably. (probably very irrational on my part too)

    However, my neurosis aside, if there is sufficient interest in here, I'd be willing to make this thread a blog of the class of sorts... If people want to see how it unfolds... There's probably going to stuff we can learn from it

    Last edited by Conniekat8; June 23rd, 2011 at 10:34 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Relax, don't worry, pay attention to anything they teach you, take deep breaths, and just draw.

    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conniekat8 View Post
    I seem to have a mental block about drawing humans, I psyched myself into thinking it's infinitely harder then other kind of drawing
    It kinda is, simply because you're drawing something really complicated that we all see every single day.
    Get that teapot in your still life 2 inches out, add more windowpanes on a building nobody else has seen, couple of extra branches on a tree that you just moved six feet to the left, nobody will notice, get a nose 2 inches out, yeah, they will notice..

    The good news is that it's really good practice and.. fun!

    From your description, I would love to have access to a class like that again.

    You'll learn loads, try not to stress and just go with it.

    /mildly jealous


    Edit: generic life drawing advice..

    -pencils, conteh, etc all sharpened ready to go.
    -spare putty rubbers / tape / board clips, things like that.
    -bottled water / drinks as life drawing rooms tend to be excessively hot.
    -get there early, nick a good seat or easel.


    Post a blog, stuff like this is always cool to see.

    Last edited by Flake; June 19th, 2011 at 10:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    just moved six feet to the left, nobody will notice, get a nose 2 inches out, yeah, they will notice..
    That's exactly what worries me!
    That I'll keep messing it up, and that I will get so neurotic and pedantic (oh yes, I'm quite capable of it) that I will drive myself crazy.

    And then... eventually I'll end up in an art class where I won't get an A or be best in class, and my ego will ... I dunno, I'll end up beating myself ten times harder then I already do.

    But, I can't wait for the class to start. Especially since I found out that more then half the faculty at my local community college also teaches at one of the top 50 art programs in the country.... and they teach the same curriculum.... and poach transfer students.

    I'm still not sure of I'll go for a full degree, we'll see what happens when I get past fundamentals. So far I was right years ago, I'm way better at this then I was at engineering. Not that I was bad at it, I just never had the passion for it.

    Anyway, I'll keep posting about it

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    Don't sweat it - when doing gestures just be loosed and feel the model's pose yourself - always start with a gesture even for the longer poses. Don't think of the model as "OMG, I'm drawing a person!" Squint and think in simple terms of shape and value. Have fun.

    What would Caravaggio do?
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    ConnieKat8
    You should be fine in your life drawing class.

    Your sketchbook displays ability; I see the civil engineering background coming through, especially in the contour drawings.

    Honestly, there is a little bit of leeway in figure drawing, as an arm or leg too long is barely noticeable.

    However, in portraiture, a nose too long ruins the likeness, and by consequence the drawing, completely.

    Portraiture requires much more accuracy, figure drawing requires just enough to be human; don't stress too much about being too accurate here.

    Noah Bradley said above:

    Relax, don't worry, pay attention to anything they teach you, take deep breaths, and just draw.
    Yes. Do what Mr. Bradley said. This is good advice.

    Or as Mark Twain once said:

    I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
    Or as Julius Caesar said:

    Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.
    Ave Caesar! Morituri te salutant!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conniekat8 View Post
    It'll be a very fast moving class, three days a week, 8 hours a day, for about a month.
    This is truly every artist's biggest fantasy.
    Good luck!

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  12. #8
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    As all the others said, it's going to be fun.
    No one will laugh at you drawing whatever it's like unless they are a complete arsehole, and in the remote case of that happening they will be ostracised completely by the rest of the class.
    People are very helpful in these situations and very friendly - you are all struggling with the same problem!

    Couple of tips for ya:

    1).Get familiar with what the spine is doing in each pose and try to kee it in mind as you draw everything else.
    2). When you get to the head don't think HEAD! Keep all the elements of the drawing going at the same time and in constant relationship to each other.
    3). Use elements in the room behind the model to help you with relationships within the model's body.

    But best of all RELAX and FORGET YOURSELF in the act of LOOKING.
    Good luck!

    From Gegarin's point of view
    http://www.chrisbennettartist.co.uk/
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    It's a class, right? So there's a teacher. Don't fret about not knowing what you're doing, that's why you're taking the class - to learn enough so that you'll eventually know what you're doing.

    Take advantage of the fact that there's a teacher, listen to what they say, let them guide you, they're there to help. If you mess up (and messing up is part of learning,) the teacher is there to point out how you messed up and how to make it better. Let them do this, go with the flow, and it'll all be okay...

    And yeah, just focus on looking and drawing. Usually these things are so fast-paced you soon forget your inhibitions as you scramble to draw everything. Don't think about results or final grades - if you show willing and its obvious you're trying hard, your grade will probably be fine. The only thing you can do really wrong is slacking and not listening to the teacher's advice.

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    THANK YOU GUYS FOR THE TIPS AND ENCOURAGEMENT!!!!!

    We got the syllabus today (class meets tomorrow) and a supply list - YAY, I get to go art supply shopping, love that!

    Here's a class description, for those of you who are going to be follow it:
    Art 85, Drawing from the Live Model is an introductory studio course that will focus on drawing from the draped and nude model. Emphasis will be on representing accurate proportions and structure while learning to draw with a variety of illusionary methods and processes. Various drawing techniques, and media will be employed to achieve convincing representational depiction of the human form on different two-dimensional surfaces. Both quick sketching and sustained drawing will be explored by means of gesture, contour, value modeling “chiaroscuro”, structural manipulation of volume through measuring, sighting and anatomical studies.

    An introduction to skeletal and musculature systems, as well as, surface anatomy will serve as the foundation for further study in drawing the human form. The basic drawing elements and principles such as line, shape, texture, value, color, mass, form, composition, visual weight, rhythm, etc, will be used in conveying the expressive factor of drawing from the figure.


    Recommended texts:
    Brown, Clint / McLean,Cheryl Drawing From Life
    Loomis, Andrew, Figure Drawing for all it's Worth
    Reed, Walter The Figure: An Approach to Drawing & Construction
    Vilppu, Glenn Vilppu Drawing Manuel
    Hogarth, Burne, Dynamic Figure Drawing

    Last edited by Conniekat8; June 20th, 2011 at 07:45 PM.
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    This is our professors short bio:

    Vito-Leonardo Scarola is an accomplished artist and is currently a full-time professor of Drawing and Painting at Saddleback College. He has been teaching visual arts for over thirty years. Formerly, he served as Dean at the Art Institute of Southern California currently the Laguna College of Art and Design. He has also been a member of the faculty at California State University Fullerton, California State University Long Beach, Fullerton College, Orange Coast College, and Irvine Valley College.

    Mr. Scarola is a native of Italy and has lived and studied in France. He holds a MFA degree in Painting from CSULB, a BA degree in Painting from the State University of New York, Brockport and an AA degree from St. Gregory’s College. While in France, he earned two French degrees in Language, Art History and Civilization from La Sorbonne and L’Universite de Caen, respectively.

    Mr. Scarola has been instrumental in organizing and leading successful art workshops and study tours to Europe since 1984.


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  17. #12
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    I think you're in for a great time. Just based on the reading he recommends, you can tell he's got pretty good taste.

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    Todays class highlights.... some of the questions that came up:
    Why do we want to learn Live model drawing, if we just want to draw 'from imagination' or do computer animation?
    -because without experience of closely examining and understanding what we are looking at, and how to draw it, we are extremely unlikely to be able to draw what we want, and have it come out exactly like we see it in our head... and also, to present it professionally, where we can sell others on our ideas. It's artistic visual stuff, presentation matters - very much!!!!

    Today we did some 'spaghetti drawing' it's a lot like gestural drawing, but without lifting your pencil off the paper. Lot of 1-2 or 5 min gestural sketches, and several 15 min gestural sketches developed into a silhouette. Tomorrow we focus more on proportions.

    Here are sketches from today... sorry about image quality, these are photos from 18x26 drawings.

    Last edited by Conniekat8; February 26th, 2012 at 06:13 PM.
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    Good fun, innit?

    Frustrating, challenging but ultimately.. fun.?

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    I did a LOT better then I thought I would. Teacher kept pushing me... like he couldn't wait for me to do this or that... and I was like, yea, I get the concept, I've just never done figure stuff before (didn't practice from books etc) so... hold your horses, I need to practice it some. He didn't quite believe I never tried life drawing before (on my own or a class)... so, I feel much more encouraged now.
    With my junky health, I got very tired towards the last hour or two of the class and my arm was cramping up and my attention slipping.... but, I'll get through it one way or another. I don't have the energy for homework for tomorrow....

    I'll post some other info from class as I settle in for the evening, and my brain gets un-fried. If anyone has questions... post them!

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    Class Day two!

    I decided to set up on a horse rather then easel. If you are out of shape and not in best of health and get tired easily it helps getting though an 8 hour day if intense drawing sessions.

    Started off with warm-up gesture drawings and silhouettes for about an hour. The model would do a one or two minute pose. Then we did a series of several 10 min drawings starting with gesture underdrawings, correcting proportions, then emphasizing edges. 10 minutes is not a lot of time to get this done when you're a noob!

    after lunch we did couple large drawings broken down in two-20 min poses each, and shaded them with midtone value, so tomorrow we can add shadow and core shadow, making them more dimensional. Showing us how we can finish laying in the values even when the model is not there.... being that drawing from life depends on having a model there, you don't always have enough time to finish the whole thing.

    Tips on drawing:
    -Work from general to specific.
    good order to work in
    - determine your point of view,m and whether the model position with respect to your point of view is angular or parallel. (watch the feet and nipples)
    - Determine height and width (extents) of the drawing.
    - Compose it on paper, outline envelope, move into gesture underdrawing etc...

    At the beginning the teacher gave a short lecture of sorts, some interesting points he brought up (I'm bringing up stuff that tends to pop up as questions and threads in this and other art related forums I frequent):

    - You can't create something out of nothing. Meaning, our creativity is based on our life experiences, and connecting the dots and looking at things in a new and interesting perspective. It is impossible to create something out of elements we've never seen before. This is one of biggie reasons why observational drawing (from life) helps... it teaches us to see and NOTICE things we wouldn't notice without it. Regardless of talent level, without learning how to see even more, we can cut ourselves short.

    - One of the ways to define creativity is a thought process that allows us to link things in a new way. I gather creativity tends to be left brained. Sensitivity is more right brained. Observational drawing, he says is going to push us to use both sides.

    - Artistry vs. craftsmanship, one of many ways of looking at it: Craft component is learned, usually technique. For example, a jeweler technician making stuff from someone else's design and learned process is more of a craftsman then an artist. A jeweler coming up with their own designs that involved various levels of thinking and expression, and modifying the techniques is more of an artist.

    - He commented about learning to draw from life is more of a crafting process, then artistry, especially while in the learning stages, but it is necessary to unlock the next level of creativity. Again, it's impossible to create something new and interesting if we don't have in depth knowledge of the subject.

    - Couple people in the class what to become animators, so he used an example of... do I learn the program or life drawing first. The teacher said, if you learn to draw human body really well (and in the process become very familiar with it's details, movements etc), anything that has to do with body, you'll do well. If you learn the program, and skip the discovery process of learning to draw the human body, you'll know the program, but very likely end up being a shitty animator.... (because of the limited understanding of the subject)

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    Drawings from today, in the order we did them. Again they are quick photos so I can get them out and posted tonight, so the image quality suffers, however, you can see enough to get the idea of what we're doing.

    Last edited by Conniekat8; February 26th, 2012 at 06:12 PM.
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    Something interesting that the teacher said today, about commercial art....
    'there seems to be quite a bit of stigma about how fine art shouldn't involve commercial component. That's BS. What do you think a lot of old masters were? Like Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo... today, they would be considered illustrators working for a living!'

    Anyone watching this, should I continue posting?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conniekat8 View Post
    Anyone watching this, should I continue posting?
    yeah keep going

    [edit] if youre searching for pictures to study hatching... this is the one i like most of all.. maybe its of use to you.

    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class
    by harold speed

    Last edited by sone_one; June 25th, 2011 at 05:10 AM.
    newest sketchbook
    oil paintings

    "Have only 4 values, but all the edges you want." Glen Orbik
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  31. #20
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    here's stuff we did in class today...
    Starting off with a lecture about, well, all kinds of stuff. Cross contour line drawing, some anatomy, then evolving into what is art and how to play the art market etc... I like this guys lecture style, it's very conversational and interactive. Very smart, clever and personable guy.


    Started the class with a warm up session of capturing continuous movement via spaghetti gestures. Mine kind of suck, they are supposed to capture more of the sequential movement, more like cells from hand animated stuff, spread out a bit, but still overlapping. I think I have a better idea of what to do for the next time.
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    30sec to 1 min gestures:
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    Two minute gestures, starting with conte crayon wide swish of the body movement, then drawing the rest using the crayon edge. Even though my sketches show a lot of the body edges, we're supposed to capture key pieces other then edges too. I didn't catch on to that till after the review. Something to work on next time:
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    Three 18x24 Under drawing from a 15 min model session for each. Part of the homework is to draw in edge line work (using line weights), draw in major body part cylinders and cross contours.
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    Underdrawing for light shadow work. 15 min model session. Halftone shadow is roughly sketched in. For homework, I have to outline the edges using appropriate line weights etc, refine the halftone, shade in shadow and core shadow (leaving lights and reflected light in there.
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    Same as previous under drawing, but this one is more finished because we had two 15 min sessions with the model, as opposed to just one:
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    Homework...
    -Draw a copy of Loomis book 8-head figure proportion chart, set for male, one set from female, memorizing details... then draw one of each going from memory, without peeking in the book.
    -Finish class drawings.
    -Draw 20 gestures per day in sketchbook, from live people if possible, or from photos is ok too. Not tracing though, but looking at the image, and going them quickly. Goal right now other then learning about the body is to get good with proportions on the fly.
    -Find a drawing from old masters who use directional hatching or cross hatching to define form (rather then one directional hatching across the image to just model the light), and copy it... on large format, using original type media of at all possible. He recommended using Rubens, some of Duhrer's less stiff work, (don't use Leonardo), and lot of examples in Loomis book. Goal of this is other then hatching practice is to practice the form following hatching (or really, very dense cross contouring). He says if we can find examples where form and light are modeled using cross contour following hatching, those are the best ones. 14x17 minimum size, 18x24 preferred.

    Any questions?

    Last edited by Conniekat8; June 23rd, 2011 at 10:55 PM.
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  33. #21
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    So, after spending good 4 hours or so searching the net last night, and visiting a local art supply store with a pile of dover books, I decided to make a copy of Durer's Praying hands sketch, for homework assignments. It's one of the drawing that the prof recommended to do. then, if I have any time left, I think I want to make another hand pose (maybe from hubby) in the same style/hatching stroke. I was hoping to find another, similar image, with same kind of contour hatching, and my google-foo failed.

    What I gather is significant about this image is that line hatching is used for two things, one to define anatomical volumes, and at the same time, same lines are used to define light and dark (paper is the mid-tone).

    Some of Loomis drawings were among the recommended ones for this exercise. I am more familiar with, or handier with loomis inking and hatching style then I am with this and with conte crayons and charcoal, so I'm doing the harder one for homework.

    This is the image... I should have my finished copy by the end of Monday.

    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    Last edited by Conniekat8; June 24th, 2011 at 10:46 PM.
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    Oh, one more thing, if anyone is following this thread and trying to practice, post your images here if you'd like The more the merrier!

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    Cool stuff! I wanted to take a figure drawing class this summer but didn't have the money. Hasn't stopped me though, I still draw from real life and like to use my friends, family, and dog as models. XD

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    So jealous, really want to take this class! I took it last semester during the regular school year and I loved it. You don't even have to be good at art to learn it, all it takes is some dedication and you can be very good in no time. Just like most other aspects of art.

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    Oh, sone_one, that looks great, thanks a bunch for sharing.
    I may rethink the homework and do that one instead... of if I run of time do it later for exercise!

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    I took this drawing and sort of finished what we were supposed to do with it, identify the anatomical contour lines... turn it into a ball joint doll of sorts. It'sinteresting how doing that revealed the anatomical, erspective and position problems I couldn't see while it was an underdrawing. I forgot to scan the original in before changing it, so I can have something better then the crappy photo... darn

    Here's a "before"
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    After: It really reveals the problem areas! Very interesting. Some areas I knew I had a problem with in the sketch, others, I didn't. The whole torso and hip thing came out wonky... well, I have two more of these to go, so, I can work in areas to fix. After image was supposed to be finished in pencil, ebony or charcoal, but I couldn't resist the urge to ink it. I think I love pen and ink. I hope the teacher doesn't penalize me for inking it

    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

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  41. #28
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    Thanks for posting your classroom experiences and questions. It make me want to sign up for a life drawing class as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iMigraine View Post
    Thanks for posting your classroom experiences and questions. It make me want to sign up for a life drawing class as well.
    Do it, do it!!!!!

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    next piece...
    this is the class under drawing that I had to turn into a perspective contour drawing, similar to the last one. This one still has a few problems, but fewer then the last one. Rather then inking it, I used ebony pencil - which we are supposed to use, and did a little bit of line weight work to support the contour line volume. Unlike ink and graphite, I'm not as used to working with ebony pencil or charcoals or conte crayons, so the linework is a bit sketchier..
    Underdrawing done in class:
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    finished drawing... I made a booboo on the right calf, combined with the chair leg, in what's in front and what is in the back. Ebony pencil doesn't erase that well, so I decided to leave it as is... for now. It may bug me enough to try and fix it later. With limited time and 6 more practice drawings to go, I'll just move on to the next piece, and try to not get too neurotic about making them perfect.
    Beginning drawing from a live model - follow the class

    I need to make a lot more of these in the sketchbook for practice. I'm not having as much time to invest in it as I would like to, with such a fast moving class. Luckily after the class I'll have a free month (with no other classes) to catch up.

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