Drawing from Life

I always underestimate the importance of drawing from life.  I get so caught up in practicing anatomy, or rote drills, that I forget to train my eyes and look around me.  While on the Tokyo Trip, all I did was draw from life, and I was a bit worried that my figure drawing skills would deteriorate.  I was practicing gesture and architecture, but what I was really practicing were my observational skills.

Having bad eyesight, I often rely on photographic reference as a crutch.  I don't trust my mind's eye or my memory, but I wanted to make the most of the trip, and so I tried to draw EVERYTHING.  I'd fully expected to lose some ability during this 'break', but instead, I seem to have levelled up.

Don't underestimate the importance of drawing from life, even the mundane.  You're training your hands, your eyes, and your cognitive abilities.  Drawing is all about finding some truth, something that humans share in common.  Gesturing drawing is a distillation of this, trying to capture the utmost truth in the shortest amount of time, and though I forced myself to utilize faster media (China Markers and brush pens don't encourage lingering for me), I was often forced to commit a pose to memory in order to finish it.

I've often considered my hometown to be boring, unworthy of comment.  When I'm not working on my 8 page comic and commissions, I intend to immortalize it (at least in my brain) on sketchbook paper.  Though the town itself may be unworthy of note, I can stretch my cognitive muscles and flex my drawing prowess.


  1. I agree that life drawing is essential! Helped me a ton.

    The thing with me is though, I don't particularly like FINISHING my life drawings. I prefer to do a life sketch, get what I need out of it (form, anatomy, lighting, etc.) and then just move on to better projets.

    Though your dependence on photos sounds like a bummer. Scary thing about most critiquers is that they could tell if it's photo or life. Good luck working off it. I'm sure an artist like you can get over it!


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