Thursday, October 1, 2009
Figure Drawing Demystified
I've had the pleasure of speaking to Andrew Cahner by email over the last few days. He's the author of The Art Model's Handbook and the man behind artmodelbook.com. He has been kind enough to list Village Gallery's Figure Drawing Sessions in his nationwide database of Figure Drawing classes on his website.
To my knowledge, The Art Model's Handbook may be the only book to cover the topic of modeling for artists that is available. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of models and, from an artist's viewpoint, there is a huge advantage when a model is experienced. I can remember a few people from the past that could have used some guidance. Fortunately, Village Gallery has been extremely lucky in being able to find both male and female models that have been very easy to work with. Typically, we only use models that have verifiable references and exhibit a great degree of professionalism.
A common misconception is that there is a certain "look" that is needed for Figure Drawing Models. Unlike the fashion and advertising industries, artists aren't always looking for a certain body type or age group. Models can be any age, gender, shape and size.
A Figure Drawing Session usually lasts for a few hours, starting with a series of short, dynamic poses to let everyone warm up. Then, the model will take a comfortable pose that will last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Longer poses allow the artists to fully articulate a drawing, capturing finer details than would be possible in a shorter session.
Drawing sessions are an excellent opportunity for artists of all abilities to sharpen their skills and develop new bodies of work. For artists like myself, who do not typically use the human form in my own work, drawing from a live model is akin to a concert pianist practicing their scales. The act of drawing what you see in front of you is the most basic form of art making, dating back to when our ancestors began documenting their lives with mud and charcoal on cave walls. A lot of people think that artists are simply born with talent, but the reality is that we have all honed our skills through years of practice. For aspiring artists, a drawing session is a great way to begin, following in the tradition of art training that goes back literally hundreds of years.
If you are in Upstate South Carolina, and you would like to join us for one of our Figure Drawing Sessions, we would love to have you! And if you are one of our readers from far away, check the listings on Andrew's page to find one near you.