5 Reasons to Practise Life Drawing

Life drawing, or figure drawing, is arguably one of the top most challenging subjects an artist could face. Without clothes, the model can represent a timeless fashion that travels back centuries, disregarding place in time and culture. It comes as no surprise that many visual artists consider life drawing as a fundamental subject to improve their overall drawing skills.

Here are 5 reasons to practise life drawing:

1. Life drawing opens up your eyes

Life drawings are not photographs. When drawing a life model, an artist can observe the three-dimensional form of the body, helping him to understand the human figure and allowing the artist to look at each and every movement of the model. Each muscle movement, shadow, skin texture, tone and shade, emotion and gesture of the model allows the artist to capture what is observed directly onto the drawing. Life drawing is a type of observational art which opens up your eyes. It is very different from drawing from a photograph – working from life enables interaction between you and a real, living and breathing person.

2. It gives you a variety of perspectives

Figure drawing provides an artist with a variety of perspectives to work on when creating art. It changes the way you look at things and the way you look at the world. Life drawing teaches you to not only look at the subject in a two-dimensional view, but in a variety of perspectives to better understand what you are drawing. You will be taught a diversity of techniques and angles to approach your life subject. You will benefit from challenging yourself to work with the complex structure of a human body.

3. Life drawing builds a strong foundation for any art practices

Life drawing is the foundation of art learning. It is important to learn to draw from life as it builds up your understanding of lines, tones, and structures. Therefore, does life drawing only improve your basic drawing and sketching skills? No! In fact, the idea of capturing and understanding the life motion of a model can also improve your skills in animation drawing. This is the reason why Disney has never broken away from the tradition of offering free life drawing classes for its artists in its own studios since 1932. The visual effects and animation studio constantly encourages its animators to attend these classes to gain more knowledge on the human form, how to infuse spirit and life into their figures and of course—to improve their animation drawing skills. Also, oil painters from as far back as the 18th century have been known to practise life drawing to improve their oil painting skills.

4. It is therapeutic

During a life or figure drawing session, an artist basically spends 2 to 3 hours observing and drawing in tranquility and peace. There is nothing much to think about—except to focus on drawing what is in front of you. It is peaceful and most importantly, it takes your mind off things. Your busy brain can take a nap and the stresses of the day will fade away. Therefore, it is not surprising that figure drawing classes have become a popular way amongst working adults to de-stress after an exhausting day at work.

5. Life drawing appreciates the beauty of the human form

Studies have suggested that attending life drawing sessions can improve one’s perception of their own body, because they present a more realistic and natural image. With a more detailed understanding of the human anatomy, such as the way limbs extend and the shape of muscles in a human body, it enables you to develop a higher comprehension of your own body and improves your skills in portraiture and figure painting.

People tend to feel better about themselves and gain a higher appreciation for their bodies, thus providing opportunities for them to explore relationships with their own size and shape. It improves self-confidence and promotes a healthier body image across the society, away from unrealistic media depictions of an ‘ideal’ body.

Find out more about Visual Arts Centre’s life drawing lessons here!