Visual Arts Centre

5 Reasons to Practise Life Drawing

Life drawing, or figure drawing, is arguably one of the top most challenging subjects an artist could face. It teaches the artist to recognise proportions and learn the importance of tones. Without clothes, the model represents a timeless fashion that travels back centuries, disregarding time and culture. It is no wonder that many visual artists practice life drawing and consider life drawing as an essential to improve their overall drawing skills. Here are 5 reasons to practise life drawing:

1. Life drawing opens up your eyes

When drawing a life model, you have to observe the three-dimensional form of the body. This enables you to understand the human figure. Additionally,  this allows you to look at each and every movement of the model. Following which, you will then have to capture and depict every muscle movement, shadow, skin texture, tone and shade, and emotion of the model. As a form of observational art, figure drawing also challenges your observational skill and attentiveness. Hence, it is very different from drawing from a photograph, where the subject is still, as you work and interact with real life models.


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. Figure 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 builds up your understanding of lines, tones, and structures. As there are a variety of compositions you can compose based on the great range of movements the model can make. The movements combined with the anatomical and structural complexity of the body, challenges your skills. Not only does figure drawing improves your drawing and sketching skills, the idea of capturing and understanding life motion of the 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 their artists in their own studios since 1932. The visual effects and animation studio constantly encourages their animators to attend these classes to gain more knowledge on the human form, and learn how to infuse spirit and life into their figures. This vastly improves their 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 also suggested that attending figure drawing sessions can improve one’s perception of their own body as they present a more realistic and natural image of the human body. You are able to gain a more detailed understanding of the human anatomy, such as the way limbs extend and the shape of muscles in a human body, through figure drawing. This understanding not only improves your skills in portraiture and figure painting, it also allows you to develop a higher comprehension of your own body. By understanding your body, you are able to appreciate your body which thus improves self-confidence. 5-reason-to-practise-life-figure-drawing What are you waiting for? Come join our Nude Life Drawing Workshop with Artist Guidance.