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.

Life Drawing – Week 12

Twas the last week of life drawing and for some reason my work lacked underlying structure, I musn’t have been thinking enough whilst drawing. Some parts of the proportions are off, definitely not there yet. Looking forward to next semesters classes already.

We were given a longer 20-25 minute pose which I thought was great, it gives you more time to study the structure and anatomy of the body. This was very useful and i hope we get another chance to take longer on a pose again in future.


Life Drawing – Week 9 – Madam Mim Madam Moom

This week we worked on drawing the model as Madam Mim from Disney’s ‘The Sword in the Stone’. This was another great exercise to practise. Although the model was male, we were still able to use him as a basis for Mim’s figure. Although my sketches of Madam Mim aren’t great, I still enjoyed the class and have realised more that copying a picture doesn’t necessarily mean you understand it.

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Madam Mim and other Character Sketches

I have again scanned some pages from my sketchbook; work shown was drawn from worksheets Michael had given us for reference. I definitely need to start looking more at how things come together, rather than looking and drawing the final images.

Michael suggests to try understand how each character works by taking their figure apart, drawing them from different angles; with different body shapes/types in order to learn and progress within my own personal work.

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Below are some images of Madam Mim from Sword in the Stone and Dr.John Darling from Peter Pan. We will be using Madam Mim for life drawing this week, so we were practising in our sketchbooks.

“Milt Khal’s knowledge of anatomy and design is indisputable…” Wise words from Michael. Another character he has mentioned is Madam Medusa. “Madam Medusa took ‘drawn acting’ to new heights within a more limited animation format.”

After reading his words on Khal, I decided to do a little research into his work. Turns out he animated some of my favourite parts from Disney movies, including; Song of the south, The Aristocats, Bed knobs and Broomsticks, 101 Dalmatians, Alice in Wonderland and The Jungle Book. Thats a lot of success sitting under one’s belt! So inspirational. Makes me want to work harder.

Video showing some of Kahl’s iconic animation work for Disney studios.


A Kahl sequence drawing, (above).

Life Drawing – Week 8 – For Dirk’s Sake

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This weeks class was great, although my drawings are far from perfect, I feel it was a good learning experience. The repetition of drawing Dirk in my sketchbook really helped me to re-imagine the model in class. Michael had gone over Dirk’s proportions which was very helpful; stating that his legs were abnormally long whilst his chest was quite high.

Drawing the Human Figure – Research

I have been researching into how to correctly measure human proportions as it is something I struggle with when drawing from imagination. I have some images below which I have taken from a great tutorial page on the subject. Here is a link to the page : Drawing Human Figures in CorrectProportions

Best thing I have found related to the subject online. It brings in a lot of what Michael has been showing us in class; especially the topics on perspective.



This image below is taken from an amazing book named ‘Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth’ by Andrew Loomis (first published 1943) This is very clear, precise teaching in relation to drawing the figure in perspective, something a lot of beginning artists can struggle with; especially me!

There is also a free online PDF file available here, for anyone wanting to take a look at the whole book. 🙂 Enjoy!


Drawing the Human Figure: Getting the Proportions Right : Heres another link to a useful article I found in relation to drawing the human proportions correctly; simple and precise.

The Vitruvian Man – Leonardo Da Vinci


“This Leonardo Da Vinci drawing is accompanied by notes that give a series of ideal measurements for the human body, based on the Roman architect Vitruvius works. For example:

  • The length of the outspread arms is equal to the height of a man, hence the square that surrounds the figure.
  • The length of the hand is one-tenth of the height of a man.”  – excerpt from ‘Drawing the Human Figure: Getting the Proportions Right’ (Link can be found above)