Coming from an architecture background and having never taken a formal art class since the required sessions during elementary school, there are many things in the art world that intrigued me. One of the biggest of these things has been figure drawing classes/sessions. You always see movies and tv shows with scenes of people sitting around drawing or painting nude models. This is always something I brushed off and never thought I would be interested in doing, nor would I do.
It wasn't until recently when I have gotten more and more into character art where I have started to see the value of a good understanding of anatomy and form. If that wasn't enough, I was even denied acceptance into some 3d character classes I wanted to take due to my "lack of anatomy understanding". This cut a little deep as I was only trying to gain more knowledge in a class and not even trying to get a job with a studio. However, these things have only driven me to take the next steps in trying to improve my anatomy skills in both 3d and 2d work. While I would say I spend 95% of my time doing 3d work, I felt that also improving my 2d understanding would also benefit the 3d side. So yesterday I finally went to my first figure drawing session.
Located in the back of a small dark hipster bar in the heart of Brooklyn, I wasn't sure what I was going to walk in on. However, to my surprise is was an overly casual environment with pretty much no feeling of formality. There were maybe 8 or so other people in the room situated in a semi-circle around the guy who was going to be the model for the day.
We immediately jumped in with numerous 1-minute poses, many of which I struggled through. I was barely able to lay down the first lines before the model was changing his position. I generally found myself thinking way too much rather than just drawing what I saw. After a handful, I did manage to get something in my sketchbook that was somewhat recognizable, but still felt the pressure of the clock. After many of these, there were series of 3,5, and 10 minute poses. They became so much more manageable as the time increased but I also found that the increase in time lead to becoming somewhat complacent in my drawing and having to remind myself to draw what I saw rather than filling in blanks in my mind. Having to remind myself to do this also led to many observations about forms in the body that would generally contradict what I would also draw from my memory.
Overall the experience was extremely rewarding and a great experience. There were many challenging poses that made it quite apparent that you don't really know how things look at a certain angle or pose until you see them in that pose, showing how important it is to have references for whatever type of work you are doing. While there were many poses that I attempted to draw, here are a few I am willing to share. Though they are not masterpieces at all, they were all valuable learning experiences. I will continue to go to some of these sessions in the future when I am able to and share some of the poses to show progress.