First life drawings


Victoria at Tojo

This week was both very exciting and very frustrating at the same time – I attempted drawing a life figure. Both drawings are long pose, one hour each. Both model were so beautiful, but I can’t say the same about my drawings – that’s the frustrating part. These are done in two separate locations, the first – in my class where the teacher invited a model for us to try in our chosen media, and the second – in Tojo Gallery.

The first drawing didn’t go well for me at all, body parts wouldn’t come coherently together in short poses. In a long pose due to my sheer determination the drawing resembles a human form. I erased the head 5 times… This was probably the most difficult undertaking in my entire (short) art life.

I realized that I cannot allow myself to give up just because it was so difficult. Just the opposite: because it was so difficult I had to do it again. I found drop-in figure drawing sessions here in Chicago and went there. It was just the same difficult, the short poses (1 min, 5 min) are a killer – it takes me just about that long to decide where to start. I did better with 10 and 15 min poses. The long one was going OK until I peeked at other easels during a break, my clumsy attempt was the worst of them. The difficult part was to push this thought out of my head and continue. I know I will become better if I persist, perhaps not brilliant, but at least proficient.


14 thoughts on “First life drawings

  1. I think you did well, especially if you’re new to drawing from life. It’s nothing like drawing from a photograph. Just takes time and practice. Don’t give up–you’ll improve quickly, and these first attempts are nothing to be ashamed of at all. Good proportions and pleasant line.

  2. I am going to second what Cindy has said. Your proportions are great! Be patient. This is where gesture and line will come in handy, especially those cross contours. It always helped me to not worry about little things for a while like individual digits and facial features. These are great for a first attempt. I compare going to a figure session or co-op like a runner taking his daily run. They are a preparation toward a FINISH, not the finish. Try to find a way to settle into a routine and only compare your work to your previous work for awhile.

    • Thank you for the advice and pointers, Leslie! I also found the insight about the runner’s daily run to be a surprising revelation – thank you for that! It makes so much sense – a preparation toward a FINISH, not the finish itself. Human form is extremely interesting to me, so a lot more practice runs will be forthcoming. I am sure a routine will establish itself if I keep practicing. I know it is silly to compare one’s work with someone else’s, especially in this early learning stage, and yet it is a thing we all do on occasion – a moment of uncertainty. I am aware, but thanks all the same!

      • I think looking at the other artists’ work will help a ton once you are comfortable with what you are getting down, don’t you think? I love to look at others’ work, now. Early on I just found it frustrating.

        • Exactly how I think of it, Leslie! Once you can hold your own, you can find ideas and appreciate solutions others came up with. In the beginning, however, it leans more to uncharitable comparisons.

  3. Hey Alex, don’t sell yourself short. These figures are terrific! I think it’s great you’re going to life drawing classes. And it’s always fun to see how your classmates interpret the model.

    Yay for you for doing it!

    • Thanks, Carol! Appreciate your support! When immediate results are not quite satisfactory it is hard to keep things in perspective. This is what friends are for – to help with that!

  4. I’m impressed! Life drawing to me are one of the hardest things to draw and these look great. I to want to get in a life drawing class, I just can’t seem to find the time. Chin up and keep up the great work.

    • I am telling you, Ryan – these were so damned hard!!! Harder than anything else I tried :D! However, I am slowly arriving to a conclusion that a life drawing class may not be that helpful. Don’t get me wrong – it is useful to have an instructor, but the usefulness is limited in my experience. What I think is really and continuously useful is practice. If you have life drawing drop-in sessions in your city, perhaps investigate that. This is the route I will be taking.

    • Hi, PaintedBrush! Good to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words! I wanted to add that Tojo is actually the gallery’s name, not the girl’s. But I didn’t catch what the model’s name was, and titled the drawing Tojo.

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