Life Drawing Class

Today I went to a Life Drawing Class.  My very first one.  I was a bit nervous.  Drawing doesn’t come naturally to me.  I would never classify it as one of my skills.  My dad is the one who draws in our family.  He can draw anything, with either hand.  That is  a lot to live up to.

I asked my friend Julian if he knew of anyone who gave art classes and he sent me some information from Louise Burt.  I spoke with her to find out a bit more about her classes and arranged to do the Life class.  My friend Jan, who is also an artist (loads of them in Eastbourne!), came with me to do the class.

There were five of us in the class, plus our model.  Everyone seemed friendly, which is always a good start.  Louise is a lovely lady and goes out of her way to encourage everyone.  I was the only person there who was a complete novice.

(By the way, our lovely model was completely starkers.  I have seen grown men naked before but this didn’t bother me as I have worked with naked people when I used to practice aromatherapy massage.  The strange thing is, I may know about anatomy, but that doesn’t mean I am good at drawing it!)

We started out doing a basic outline drawing for 5 minutes in charcoal.  My proportions weren’t very good, but at least I gave it a go.  Then we used the charcoal in a different way, bottom left, which was a bit better.

Afterwards we used marker pens to outline our subject with one colour and then use the other marker to make any corrections and to add detail, drawing on the right.  I had a real problem with the head and face.  I find that drawing a face is as difficult as taking a photograph of people’s faces.  Interesting!

Louise suggested I try making the next picture with watercolour crayons.  This way I could try a different technique that might be easier for me and more fun.  I love how she listened to me when I tried to explain to her what was going on in my head and what I felt when I was doing all of the tasks.  She was also very helpful in suggesting a way of doing something and yet encouraging me to make it my own.  This is what I came up with:

I had more fun doing this than the previous sketches.  The red marks on the bottom left of the page is where Louise was showing me different ways of how to use the crayons.

Afterwards, we did something completely different and used acrylic paints.  I was allowed to choose three colours and then Louise suggested that I use the whole page, but draw only the torso.  And this is what I did!

I had the most fun doing this sketch.  I didn’t have to think too much about what I was doing and just got on with it.  I used blue, red and orange.  Afterwards, we all put out our work so we could see how everyone got on with their tasks.  Everyone had their own style and way of doing/seeing things.  I really enjoyed it, more than I thought I would.

I thought Louise was very sensitive and incredibly encouraging, which are wonderful qualities to have in an environment where people are trying to express themselves creatively.  She certainly got me by the end of the class.

So, I am going to try the Still Life class on Friday!

Here is the PDF with details and contact information: Louise A4 E flyer_Layout 1




4 thoughts on “Life Drawing Class

  1. TinaDiva

    The last one is really very good, I gasped when I saw it!
    I think this style is the one you are definitely comfortable with, those lovely long broad strokes, great colour choice. Not in proportion, but that is also attractive in a Picassoesque way.
    Well done!

    1. Arlene

      Thanks Tina. When you have never done something before, you almost want to get it perfect. Well that is how I felt at first. It was great that the lady who organised the class could see what I was struggling with and she helped me find my way – not perfect, but interesting and colourful. Me all over! 🙂

  2. Dave

    Interesting post. I have done a little life modelling in my time. I’ve always found everyone very respectful… But it’s not something that us males easily own up to…


    1. Arlene

      Hi Dave,

      It is challenging to stay in one pose for any length of time being scrutinized. I admire anyone who poses as a life model. As the artist, I am merely trying to catch the form rather than being critical of what the model looks like. 🙂

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