Life-drawing, to me, is a highly creative and highly empowering experience.
My clearest memories of life-drawing always take me back to a studio in the corner of my art school’s garden. It was small and cosy; the floor was permanently smudged by coloured chalk and acrylic paints and the walls were murals, covered in paintings and sketches created by current and former students. It was my home away from home. The students and the teachers were my family, the models knew my name and I knew theirs’.
I can confidently say that life-drawing is what turned me into an artist – the experience of drawing real people is incomparable.
From fast sketches to long poses, drawing with our left and with our right hands, one-line drawings, 30 second poses, drawing with our eyes closed, drawing without looking at the paper, all of these combined – I finally learned how to be creative. How to let loose when drawing and not give a fuck about the outcome. How attempting something crazy often leads to the best possible outcome.
I learned how the body moves.
The curves of a chest, the length of an arm, the proportion of fingers and toes. How the eyes should always be the starting point of any drawing. What the body looks like lying down. Draped over chairs. Standing up. Bending over. How a body is never static, even when standing completely still.
Life-drawing taught me how to fall in love with my own body.
Models are always the ones with the most interesting features – unconventional shapes, faces with character, bodies with curves. In my classes, nothing was sexualized. People of all ages would come together just to draw, and to share each other’s fascination with the human body.
Being naked now is something that is just as natural to me as being clothed. I am no longer shy or modest or embarrassed of anything.
Life-drawing taught me how, regardless of how you think you look, or how you dress yourself, or how you act, there will always be a room of artists that will want to draw you.
[Illustration by Isabelle Ribe]