Today I decided to do something really scary. I went to a place where real live people all gathered together to sketch other real live people. It was a bit intimidating. I almost talked myself out of going but in the end I managed to talk myself back into it. My first visit to Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School was quite an interesting experience.
I definitely enjoyed the overall atmosphere. Being in a group of like-minded people can be really energizing and motivating. It was also great having actual models posing for drawings. Sadly they were all timed poses so it still wasn’t too different from drawing everyday people. The costumes were a nice touch though and it was still good not having to worry about whether they would move or not every time you lift your head.
I got there a little early so I sketched the chandelier while I was waiting. It was quite a complicated and fascinating chandelier. I didn’t quite manage to capture it but I think I got the basic idea down. Once the session actually got started though I was wishing that I had brought a separate sketchbook rather than using my daily sketchbook. We started with some stick figures.
The top left was a 20 second stick person. We were specifically told to draw a stick person rather than any other kind of gestural drawing. Mine is possibly halfway in between. For the top right collection of squiggles we were told to place our sketchbooks on top of our heads and try to draw the figures that way. It was not easy and obviously I wasn’t able to produce anything coherent. For the sketches on the bottom we were told to use our non-dominant hand. I’m right-handed so I drew those with my left hand. I actually thought it would go better than that. Maybe I should practice left-handed drawing some more sometime.
The next exercise was even stranger. We were told to draw a figure using only circles and crescent shapes. We weren’t allowed to draw any lines, just the shapes.
After that we moved into actual figure drawings. That was a relief, even though they were still timed and I felt a little bit rushed.
The first one was the shortest one. Only three minutes for this figure sketch and the model was facing away from me. She had quite an elaborate feather head dress on. I barely got in more than a basic gesture though.
The next pose was a little bit longer.
This one was a five minute pose. I started at the top and worked my way down. As you can see I didn’t make it very far within the five minutes. Most of my time was just spent on the face for this one.
Next up was another five minute pose. I chose the same subject but tried to get the whole body in this time.
I ended up sacrificing the quality of the sketch in my attempt to get the whole body in. Not only was I rushing to squeeze it into the time frame but I had just as much difficulty squeezing it onto the page. That dreadful proportion problem strikes again. I was okay with the body on this one. That’s where I started. I hated the face and hand though. The head is definitely not well proportioned to the body. I just wanted to get it onto the page.
My favourite sketch of the night actually ended up being the seven minute pose.
I had hardly any more time for this one than for the last one but I think I honed in on what I wanted to capture a bit better. I really liked the pose that the model chose for this one. I didn’t even try to get her whole body in for this but after the disaster of the previous sketch I wanted to do a better job of capturing her face at least. I started from the top down again for this one but with the extra two minutes of drawing time I was able to get as much of the body as would fit on the page in.
After that we took a break and the models changed costumes. The next pose was a ten minute pose but I didn’t really accomplish much more with the extra time.
I was focusing in on the lovely lady’s pregnant belly for this one. This beautiful model was almost nine months pregnant and will be giving birth withing the next week or two. It was a great opportunity to capture the female form in all of its glory. I’m afraid I didn’t do it much justice. I also made a bit of a mess of the hand again. Not my best hand day ever.
The next one was actually the longest pose we did all night.
This one was a fifteen minute pose. I’m really not sure what I did with the extra time because it doesn’t feel like it improved my sketch at all. I was going for another full body sketch for this one because I liked the model’s costume. I was just really struggling with the full body sketches.
Finally, the last pose of the night was another short five minute pose.
Once again I focused on the pregnant belly. I figured it was my last chance to capture it. Who knows when the next time will be that a pregnant woman will want to pose for me to draw her. I don’t love this sketch but I do like it better than the ten minute version. Mostly I think the angle was much better for this pose.
That was it for Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, at least for this month. I got a lot more sketches in than I usually do and all of them life drawings. That’s some good practice. Overall I think it was a great experience and I’ll try to make it back there again next month.
Of course, it was still a Sunday and Sundays are my self-imposed hand drawing days. Since I performed quite abominably on all of the hands in my full figure drawings it was imperative that I squeeze in a hand drawing too.
I briefly considered drawing the hand of one of the models but it seemed like it would have been a waste of a pose. After all I do have two perfectly serviceable hands of my own. So I just drew my own hand once again on the train ride home after my evening out. I’ve been getting to know that hand quite well over the last seven months or so. Still struggling a lot with perspective and foreshortening though.
Okay, that’s actually truly it now. I had a very artistic Sunday and it was quite fun. Now I am completely beat though. It’s a good thing I have a month to recover before the next Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. Maybe next time I’ll bring a larger sketchbook.