Life Class

In view of Part Four coming up (the figure and the head) a frantic search for life classes turned up just one that my schedule allows – but it’s full. Thankfully I’ve learnt the French way of pleading insistently and the teacher has allowed me to stand by. Quite literally, I turn up and if there’s room I can stay. Needless to say yesterday I got in!

The following sketches were 5 minutes long.


And two of 25 minutes:



Things I learned:

  • this was the first time I used the principle of axis to begin the drawing. Usually I faff about for ages trying to get the proportions right but this time it was easier. Not sure if that is growing experience or the axis helping.
  • using the axis seems to help get across a relationship between body and ground – to understand where the weight of the body falls from head to foot.
  • once the main axis was in I looked at the angle of hips and shoulders. I found hips fairly easy, but there were some poses where it was extremely difficult to understand the angle of the shoulders.
  • Years back I did study some anatomy but when drawing I forget what’s under the skin – how a shoulder blade is attached, the shape of the ribcage – a proper blind panic.
  • I still have big problems with the size of heads and feet. I seem intent on letting the lower calf and foot tail off into nothing.
  • I prefer my 5-minute sketches to the longer ones. This must come down to the pressure of the longer time slot. Next time I plan to convince myself it is just 5 minutes, get the pose down and then enjoy the time left to fix things.
  • my favourite pose above is the most abstract. The pose was truly awkward, it was very hard to see what was going on so I ended up just trying to see in lines- but that seems to have given the sketch seem movement. I think there was a point where I couldn’t make this work as a body anymore, I couldn’t untangle arms from breasts from thigh. I had to find a different route in and somehow it worked.

Most of all I learnt that I really enjoy life classes. I will continue to go and standby at the door, fingers crossed that there will always been someone who can’t quite manage to leave their sofa and make it out of the door.



12 thoughts on “Life Class

    1. Kimbolina Post author

      thank you! I’m usually too English about stuff like that, but since moving to France I’ve learnt that it’s part of the culture, and sometimes it works!


    1. Kimbolina Post author

      Hi! Not sure if I’ve used that word correctly! I recently started very classic drawing lessons (with a super strict teacher!) and he got me to find the axis of objects – essentially the key line that runs through their length and through their widest point. I had to do it over and over – with pears, jugs etc. So on a standing figure the lengthways axis will come down through the centre of the body and on to the leg that is bearing weight. Horizontal axis will usually go through hips and shoulders, and as hips and shoulders are often on the slant finding this line really helps. Once you’ve got those down (just lines!) it becomes much easier to add the form around it. A bit like a coat hanger! Or drawing a stick man, and then adding the body on afterwards? Not sure if that has made any sense at all!

      Liked by 1 person


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