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While life drawing courses are central to many art schools, you don’t need to take a class or have access to live models in order to get better at sketching the human form.
We've put together a few quick and easy methods that can help you take your craft to the next level.
1. Make sure your set up is right
The easiest way to instantly improve your art and make your time at the easel a lot more fun is to make your set up absolutely right for you.
If you're working on a table or easel, adjust it to a comfortable height and position so your arm and shoulder won’t tire during your session. Adjust your seat to the right height for where you're sat and this will help keep you from hunching over, which could lead to back and neck strain (which is a terrible way to end your drawing session).
Try to work somewhere with lots of natural light if possible. If not, just make sure you're settled somewhere bright and airy, dim and dingy lighting can tire your eyes and that's a strain your don't need.
One of the most important steps in setting up your workspace is checking in with your model. Holding one pose for an extended period of time can be a feat of endurance. Make sure that the model’s position is dynamic enough to draw, while still being comfortable for the model to hold.
2. Warm up with some super quick drawings to shake off the cobwebs
A big empty page can be daunting and you might find yourself wondering where to start. Brush those anxieties away by doing a few, 20 second drawings to warm yourself up. This may seem counterproductive, but the thrill and rush of the limited time means you'll be able to banish any doubting thoughts.
Grab some scrap paper or your notebook and set a timer for 20 seconds. Look at your model and hit start. Every time the buzzer goes off move on to a new bit of paper. Try looking at small parts of the body, moving with each alarm, then try doing full body sketches in the time. Keep moving and keep
3. Forget the 'rules' and draw what you see
Some art teachers get their students to always use fixed body proportions—such as that the length of the body is roughly seven-and-a-half times the length of the head, or that a person’s elbows should approximately line up with their belly button. It’s probably best to ditch those ingrained rules while sketching from life.
No two people are the same and no two people have the same dimensions. So stop worrying about getting the fixed body proportions and draw what you can see, stress free.
Here are some perfect places to start and get into digital life drawing.