I recently hired a model for a gesture-drawing session. It was the first time I’d ever done such a thing, and it made me feel like a grown-up artist: in control, entitled to set the lighting, the poses, even the music.
Artists are notoriously childlike. Anyone who draws the figure should hire a model at least once, just to know, briefly, how maturity must feel. So, I hired a wonderful model, and invited a few friends who also love to draw gestures. We crammed into my Main Street studio one warm afternoon a couple of weeks ago.
I’ve drawn this model before; she projects impish charisma and can strike- and hold- dynamic poses, one after the other. I asked her to bring a few accessories for fun. For the first hour, she wore red high-heeled pumps and a black beret.
A wool rug and orange chair served as the model stand. A dark green bedspread draped the wall for a backdrop. A single lamp cast light from an angle, making shadows. Each pose lasted three or five minutes, long enough to catch essential movement. It became a dance: model, chair, paper, pencils, light.
Sometimes, when you work fast, you tap into something unconscious- something almost biological. You draw like blazes and crackle with adrenalin. After nine or ten speed drawings, you might even hit that coveted state of “flow”. When you do, keep up the pace. And try to get out of your own way.