Life Drawing – Reflective Essay

Before I had taken Michael’s class I had thought I was decent at life drawing. Turns out gesture drawing contrasts greatly in comparison to classes I have previously taken, where we spent 20-30 minutes on each pose. I have learnt a lot in class during the course of twelve weeks, also by doing the assignments and from studying the reading material. The ‘Perspective Drawing Handbook’ by Joseph D’Amelio was a great source of information which is laid out in a clear and understandable way. During the first few weeks we looked into perspective and whilst working on the assignments I would refer back to this book. In week three we drew our classmates. I feel I got the proportions to an acceptable standard although I failed to incorporate underlaying  structure; something I am still finding difficult today.

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In life drawing classes I realised that this type of gesture drawing needed more speed and that illustrating movement and proportions is a difficult task to perfect within either a thirty or one minute time limit. A few examples from week four, five and six are displayed below. It is apparent that I am avoiding drawing structure and basic shapes.

(Left to right, week 4, 5 ,6)

After week four more structure is visible; the inclusion of the chair was a great asset in helping to determine the scale of the model.

Both the Winnie the Pooh and Superman assignments were great exercises which I will utilise again. The repetition of drawing Pooh exactly three heads tall, really helped me to draw him from my imagination without much difficulty, whilst drawing superman’s head from various angles helped with some perspective issues I have when drawing the human head. As Michael has said, repetition increases your muscle memory.

In week seven we drew fifteen and thirty second poses. I found this time limit more enjoyable than the longer pose as I didn’t have time to worry about getting the details ‘perfect’. (Left to right, 15 secs, 30 secs, 30 secs)

In class we had gone over proportions in relation to the character of ‘Dirk the Daring’, this was very helpful and the set homework was also very enjoyable. In week eight and nine we used what we had learnt through the assignments in class; something which I feel is great about life drawing. Our learning has purpose and is put into practise in future classes.

Week ten was my poorest where we focused on drawing hats on heads. I wasn’t grasping the idea of placing the head within the cube and my proportions were off.

After this class I reverted back to Burne Howarth’s book, ‘Dynamic Figure Drawing’ and copied some head drawings. These may have aided my understanding as in week eleven my drawings on the same topic, had improved.


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In conclusion, I hope to develop a consistent style which has accurate proportions whilst capturing movement and gesture. Striving to understand what I’m drawing rather than drawing what I see is my main goal. My lack of understanding of the human figure is evident in my work, but hopefully I can improve this by drawing from life more, whilst reading and also practising in my sketchbook.