Students sketch nude models in figure drawing workshop

Sacha Lin

A total of 20 seniors stood at easels around the edges of a classroom early in the morning in Feldman-Horn, sketching out on newsprint and tracing paper what they saw in front of them.

The centerpiece was a female nude model posing atop a platform.

At the end of October, the AP Studio Art and Drawing and Painting III classes started their two-week long unit on figure drawing in which they created full-length drawings of a real-life model.

It is part of the art curriculum every year.

Each class period, students began with vine charcoal since it is easy to rub off and erase.

They drew the gestures of the model in their simplest form before moving outwards and adding in the flesh.

Use of charcoal pencil followed as students added in details.

All the while, teachers advised them to keep in mind basic proportions and light.

“We’ve learned how to draw something looking at it without just imagining it, and that really helped me with my proportions,” Mintis Hankerson ’14, a student in Drawing and Painting III, said.

The model changed poses several times in a class, so most drawings were quick sketches that contained the essentials.

The final product consists of drawings that fit into three categories.

The first is sustained drawings, which had the model sitting in the same position for approximately 20 minutes.

The other two types — choreographed dance pose drawings and ones that portray movement — were shorter but more numerous.

“You learn so much from it and so fast. I’m always amazed how the skill level goes way up. There’s a lot of movement involved, so you have to pay really close attention,” visual arts teacher Marianne Hall said. “You are going for the essence of movement in gesture drawings and proportion very quickly.”

The dates for a figure-drawing exhibition are to be determined, but before then, students will finalize their sketches.

“I think it’s important because it is one of the most classical ways to do art. I mean, people a long time ago didn’t get to draw from photographs,” Matt Leichenger ’14, a Drawing and Painting III student, said. “Drawing from life creates a lot more dynamics.”