Top 10 Life Drawing Tips
Life drawing classes can be a little daunting when you have never done them before which is why we have put together some tips to help you out.
Get the most out of this experience and learn how to refine your drawing skills whilst still having fun in this experience. Whether you are having a hen party, stag do, or a birthday party these tips will be useful for you and will probably be things that you will think of doing on the day. After all you want to make sure you have done everything you can and really got your all out of the creative session. You never know this might be a new hobby of yours.
In summary our top 10 life drawing tips are:
1. Look at the figure closely
2. Plan your composition
3. Sketch the entire figure quickly first
4. Always keep your arm moving
5. Try to think about line economy
6. Erase as little as possible
7. Make sure to add shadows and highlights
8. Draw the entire pose
9. Don’t have a floating figure
10. Look at the model more than your paper
1. Look at the Figure Closely
Start off by just looking at the figure and take everything in. Make mental notes of little details you will need to remember when you start drawing too. A great idea is to hold your pencil up next to the figure to work out where to start and keep the relationship between each body part you draw.
2. Plan Your Composition
You want to plan your composition before you draw anything. Use your hand to understand the proportions and general shapes of the figure. You could make a grid like shape on your paper to help you get the proportions right.
3. Sketch the Entire Figure Quickly First
Before you start looking at any detail and finer touches you want to make sure that you have quickly sketched out the entire figure before going any further. This will help you with the proportions and you will get everything accurate a lot easier by doing it this way. We would suggest using the side of your pencil to create thin, light sketch lines.
4. Always Keep Your Arm Moving
You want to make sure you are always drawing with very little breaks, even if you are taking your time drawing. This is so that you don’t neglect any of the negative spaces around the figure you are drawing. If you are trying to draw as much as possible you will see different opportunities quicker and more often.
5. Try to Think About Line Economy
To keep things as effective as possible it is important to think about the concept of line economy:
“The concept of the economy of line is a familiar one to anyone who has studied ﬁgure drawing. Basically, it means that we should strive to draw efﬁciently by using fewer lines to say what we need to say, rather than a lot of unnecessary lines that lack a sense of intent.” – Realism Today
6. Erase as Little as Possible
Sometimes erasing things can do more harm than good. Erasers can damage the paper and sometimes highlight the line you were trying to remove. Instead just go over the line with smaller, thinner lines to try and take the distraction away from the error. And erasing things can take time which means less time drawing.
7. Make Sure to Add Shadows and Highlights
Shadows and highlights are an addition that shouldn’t be missed as it gives the figure as much of a life like feel as possible. There are so many ways you can add shadows and highlights but the simplest way to do so is with some charcoal or using the side of your pencil for shadows. And then using an eraser rubber for highlights.
8. Draw the Entire Pose
With this experience you want to get as much as you can out of it so that means you shouldn’t avoid any of the difficult bits of the model and their pose. Always make sure you draw their head, face, hands and feet as there is no way you are going to improve unless you draw everything. After all you are only going to get better as you go on.
9. Don’t Have a Floating Figure
If you go straight into drawing your figure you might forget this vital part of the finished piece. You don’t want it to look like your figure is floating around on the page so make sure you ground them even with just a simple line to create the floor. Anything is better than nothing to give some dimension to the drawing.
10. Look at the Model More than Your Paper
The model is there for a reason, there is no point having a model there if you don’t learn from them. Make sure you take the time to familiarise yourself with the features, weights, proportions, pose and shadows that all come with the model and the pose. That way you are getting the most you can out of the experience.
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