Art 101: Life Drawing

Life drawing is the delicate art of sketching a nude model. If you go looking, you’ll find weekly meetups in the most unlikely of places.

Introduction to life drawing

People much more clever than we are have suggested that life drawing could be the key to developing a healthier body image. Science suggests that budding artists end up exploring their relationships with their own bodies through classes.

If nothing else though, it’s a surprisingly effective way to tackle your fear of drawing. When you walk into an art room, one of the key pieces of advice you’ll hear is to draw what you see, not what you know. The trouble is that you’re so familiar with the vast majority of objects that when you look at that bowl of fruit on the table you’ll struggle to see it as anything but a solid yellow banana and a perfectly tapered bunch of red grapes. You miss the detail.

Faced with the bare, naked body of another human being, however, you notice everything.

In a typical session, a model will take you through several poses, often a few short sets to warm you up, followed by a longer sitting. All you need to do is draw what you see.

What you need:

  • Large (A3+) paper / sketchpad
  • A HB or 2B pencil, charcoal or a fine liner
  • Eraser
  • A model willing to pose in the nude
No more starter packs
No more starter packs

Tips from our favourite life drawing artists

"Like many things in life, it all starts with a little inspiration..."

Bella @ Bella’s Bits & Bobs

"Keep your eye on the model when you put your marks down, do not look at the paper."

Maggi Hambling @ Channel 4’s Life Class

"Life drawing may emerge as an effective means of promoting healthier body image across the population"

Professor Swami @ Anglia Ruskin University

Handpicked projects to get you started. Share your creations on Instagram with #theobbies for your chance to win a free ticket to our next life drawing class!

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