The instructor had us set up in a semi circle around the models. Were they going to pose frozen in lewd acts?? What the hell was going on here?! I scanned my fellow classmates again to see if anyone was as horrified as I was. They all looked like calm little cucumbers setting up their easels and newsprint pads. I tried harder to control my eyebrows.
The instructor explained that we would be working on gestures – drawing a series of poses done by the models in a short amount of time. Every minute a timer would set off, the models would change their pose, and we would have to start a new drawing. Gesture drawing is particularly useful for artists studying the human body since models can hold complex and strenuous poses (which express movement and emphasize the muscles) if it’s only for a short period of time.
While we were drawing, the instructor came around to each student, standing while giving his critique. When he got to me, he pulled up a chair. I guess he had a lot to say.
“Her legs are too stiff, and you gave her a pregnant belly. She’s not fat. And the proportion of his torso to his legs is off, see here? Focus on the line of the spine first, that will help you place the rest of the body. ”
Phew – at least he didn’t mention that I castrated my male model and just gave him a scribble of pubic hair.
By the end of the morning session, though, I was really starting to enjoy the gesture drawing. It was surprising how much information I could capture in just one minute and the more practice I got, the easier it was to render the shape and proportion of the models. I started to see the man and woman as a series of familiar shapes and lines, not just limbs and genitalia. My improvement was noticeable and my instructor praised my work. “Good job, you started out a little rough, but these last few ones are very good.”