Live model drawing at home
Ever since my academy days more than 15 years ago, where live model gestural drawing was a daily occurrence, I’ve been wanting to find time and a place to continue developing my anatomy drawing skills. Understanding the human anatomy and being able to express form is a must for all portrait and figurative artists. Today, all of my figurative paintings are studied from life, however little anatomy is portrayed as the models are clothed.
The goal of our drawing sessions at school was not to create likeness or something over rendered, but instead a quick impression of the form. Much like in other exercise we would start the warm up phase with 5-10 1 minute poses, after which the model might pose for 2 minutes at a time or 5 minutes. We would finish the sessions with 1 30 minute sitting. What this forced us to do was to draw from the right side of the brain, without thinking or measuring. Over time, the results were really spectacular, even a 1 minute gesture sketch could create such power and depth. The reality is that over time, these skills will fade unless you constantly work on them.
After realizing that it would very hard for me to attend live model classes with all of my responsibilities, I was very surprised to find out that you can do exactly that online. While doing other things, I stumbled upon 2 YouTube channels devoted to live model drawing. The models are live on your screen and just like at school there is a timer. There are hundreds of different models and poses to train your drawing hand. The two channels are:
If you plan on trying out your hand at gestural drawing, here are a few pointers:
1. Don’t expect master drawings; At least not for a while.
2. Try not lifting your pencil/charcoal of the paper too much. This constant hand motion will create emotion in your work.
3. Don’t draw the details. Focus on the form and large shapes.
4. Do not erase ever.
5. Have fun.
Here are the results of my first YouTube session, which I have to admit lasted well past my bedtime. Admittedly nothing beats working from real live models, but having this YouTube resource is a great alternative.
Beyond gesture, certain poses can be developed further, but require that the model poses for a lot longer. For the following conte drawing of my wife, the form was sketched out quickly and then the rendering took a few hours.
This drawing of my son uses a similar process with an addition of white conte, however this time a photo was my main reference. Happy drawing!