Drawing Live Models

Drawing the figure is a challenge, clothed or unclothed.  I offer a few tips for those working with live models for the first time.

Consider Your Viewpoint

Firstly you should think about your distance and viewpoint from the model.  Don’t make this too challenging at first.  I always think that a three-quarters view is good for a beginner because straight-on can make drawing faces look flat.  An extreme straight-on view for the figure is probably one of the hardest viewpoints because of the fore-shortening challenges.

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Why You Shouldn’t Forget the Background!

One of the most common mistakes beginner learners make when they start drawing and painting is forgetting about the background.  I see a lot of ‘floating’ jars of flowers, pots, vases and figures in the beginner classes.  The background should not be forgotten.  I will explain why:

Part of the Story

The background puts the subject in context and can ‘tell the story’ of what is happening.  For example if a figure is sitting on a sofa we know why their posture is a certain way, it would be different if they were sat on an upright chair for example.

There is useful tonal  information in the background which can help bring depth and tonal value to the subject.  Shadows are important for telling the observer that the subject is three dimensional and will tell us more about the lighting conditions.

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