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.
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…