We all know that drawing is the essence of being an artist, at least to being able to visually communicate your ideas initially on paper through drawing. How you then create your ideas depends on the idea, your skills and materials/techniques available.
Our eBooks and eCourses emphasize this and as I am putting together the eCourse on Drawing, I thought what better time to brush up on my own life drawing skills?
I follow All the Young Nudes on their facebook page and they posted yesterday that they had started up a new class in Edinburgh at The City Cafe (they have long established their classes in Glasgow at The Flying Duck). What I like about the class that it's in a bar function room and you can take a wee drink in with you, not that I recommend drinking too much alcohol as you will surely have your beer goggles on! There is music (with the play lists available on Spotify so you get to hear of some new music too!) ensuring that the atmosphere is relaxed and there is no tutor; you just get on with it. This suits me down to the ground as I've taught life drawing for years and I'd hate to have to admit to the teacher that I teach it, partly for my own benefit but also so they don't think I am a know all! Far from it.
It was really good to be in the students' shoes rather than that of a tutor. Although I teach life drawing most weeks, I forget just how tiring it can be and the concentration required to really focus for a 2 hour session.
I also really noticed what skills you are using whilst drawing and the most crucial one being observing. When we draw there is the temptation to think that the most important action that is taking place is the drawing. However, this is secondary, or should be. Observing length, breadth, tone, shape, negative space, form, line, surface texture, perspective, rhythm, angles and I am sure I have missed a few are all really important. All these skills can be transferred to any creative 'making' process which is why life drawing for so many hundreds of years has been seen to be essential studio practice.
Life drawing is happening less and less in art schools and colleges now in favour of working more conceptually. It is not essential that you have life drawing present in your portfolio on application to art college but if you enjoy it then please do it. It not only shows that your prepared to go a little extra and attend classes outwith your school timetable but it demonstrates all the skills that I mentioned above which bodes well for developing your visual creative skills.
So next time to get a chance to go to a life drawing class, take up the opportunity – you might surprise yourself. Thumbs up to All The Young Nudes, hope you keep on getting a good turnout. I vow to attend at least once a month as it's my night off the bedtime routine with the wee one!