2B, or not 2B?*

I went back to do some more life drawing this week. I chose a chair rather than using the easel which felt more much more natural. I also had an eagerness to get started that was stifled by my nerves the previous time.

I had a few aims:

  1. Be quicker.
  2. Position the model on the paper properly.
  3. Tackle the feet, hands and head.

Starting the drawing was far quicker this time and I allowed myself the time to loosely plan where the model would be positioned on the paper in the first 20 mins. So far so good.

Loosely planning the position of the model was something that I was told to do by a youtube video on this amazing channel by Jeff Watts - https://www.youtube.com/user/wattsatelier

It seem obvious now but last week I didn't spend the few minutes that it takes to do this and ended up with a small drawing stuck near the top of the sheet of paper. Novice.

Aim 3 was almost achieved but I’ll need much more practice to get this right. They’re all there but fingers, toes and finesse are most certainly not. Hands and feet have been a challenge throughout my career and is a bane to many artists which is why I’m going to start practicing drawing hands and feet at home.

Exhibit 2B

All in all, I was happy with the way this session went and all of my aims were met, albeit to differing degrees of success.

*Oh yeah, I used a 2B pencil.

Is there lead in my pencil?

Well… some…

This past Thursday I went to an untutored life drawing session. My wife Molly had bought me a £50 gift voucher for the ‘Lara Atelier of Representational Art, Bristol’ for Christmas. I’d been banging on about wanting to do some life drawing for a while and I had finally gotten around to using it. With my shiny new drawing folder and freshly sharpened pencils I walked into the room. The place was full of easels, drawing boards, amazing drawings and paintings on the walls and now, there was me, stood there, full of nerves.

It had taken me over 15 years to get myself back into this sort of environment. 15 years! I shook the instructors hand and introduced myself as if it were a job interview, and was then invited to choose an easel or drawing board. Easel I thought - seems more professional doesn't it?*

My paper was set up, I’d met some of the other people, the model had been posed and it was now the moment of truth, time to get down to the business of drawing.

I stood there for a good 3 or 4 minutes, wondering what to do. I drew an oval. I held my pencil out in front of me. I measured the head and counted how many there were down to her heel. I marked this on the paper. I’d done this before and it was all coming back to me… A timer went off. The first 20 minutes was over. 

20 minutes in and I had drawn an oval and a few faint lines… Leonardo da Vinci, eat your heart out.

The model made her way back into position and the next 20 minutes were on the clock. I began again. This happened another 3 times and each time my page became a little less bare and my reluctant marks became a little more coherent. By the end I actually had something resembling the human being that had been stood in front of me for 2 hours. 

Exhibit A

Admittedly it isn’t the best drawing in the world and the head and feet barely got a look in, but, the experience has definitely helped pull back from the brink, my dormant love of traditional drawing. I’ll be going back without question. In fact, I can’t f***ing wait. Thanks, Molly x


* Professional looking yes, but looking professional does not a professional make. Turns out drawing on a vertical surface is way more difficult than I expected…