Confessions of a Ballerunner

Essays on Sports, Arts, Culture, and Life

Lifedrawing class: Les demoiselles d’Avignon reinterpreted

Below are a selection of sketches from my first lifedrawing class, which I took last fall. Really interesting course. Great teacher. Learned a lot of new techniques. Highly recommend this kind of course for learning how to draw and observe. We began with charcoal, followed by conté (+/- washes), and ended the course with pen & (India) ink (+/- washes). For the last class, it was just a creative free-for-all, where you could use whatever media you wanted in whatever combinations you wanted. I felt like a little kid let loose in a finger-painting class!.. 🙂

Of the techniques we learned, I especially liked the concept of negative space to keep the artist objective and the drawing honest. Now, I just have to master cylinder shading, which can totally screw up the three-dimensional effect you’re trying to achieve if you get the shading direction of the imaginary cylinder wrong. Believe me, I know.

Anyway, here are the sketches. I added just a touch of color via Photoshop to create a bit more drama. I tried to imagine a story around each pose or group of poses. The last one is a bit macabre, because I remember how scary-skinny this model was with very prominent ribs and clavicles (or collar bones) showing.

Oh yeah, these sketches were all timed drawings, so we didn’t have the luxury of lingering forever on details. We were instructed to focus on the essential elements in order to achieve a basic rendering of the figure before us.


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