Back to the drawing school – Week 2

A not very good sketch of Lydia, the life model
My quick sketch of life model, Lydia at this week’s class. She is a human life model, not a pig sleeping with its mouth wide open

Did you have a little snigger at last weeks drawings? Good. You’re going to love this weeks masterpieces.

Week 2 at the Royal Drawing School studying Drawing for Comics and Graphic Novels and this evening we are joined by life models, Tom and Lydia. “Don’t expect any of your drawings to be good this week. We shall be doing lots of them and quickly,” our quietly spoken leader, Emily told us in her intro. Surely mine can’t get any worse?

Starters for (less than) 10

After taking a seat in the large circle arranged in our studio, we did a few warm up sketches which yielded some hilarious drawings. Asking the group if there are any poses we find hard to draw, both Tom and Lydia struck a pose inspired by our challenges.  We had five minutes to complete a couple of warm up drawings. First, we chose a model and in five minutes had to draw them without lifting the pencil from the paper

Drawing of Tom the life model
First warm up exercise. Sketching Tom in five minutes without lifting my pencil

Not bad, not bad. Tom is obviously too tall for my piece of paper but okay, okay, this WAS my first warm up drawing. I will learn next time. Next time, I will draw Lydia instead. She’s crouching down, smaller. Will definitely fit her on my piece of paper…

Sketch of Lydia done with my drawing hand covered
Ah. This looks like a Henry drawing of Batman.

Hmmm. Before you judge, hear what the challenge is here. It’s to draw one of the models with a piece of paper on top of my drawing hand. Not so easy this one, no matter which model one chooses to sketch. Try the above exercises yourself with any object or person and time yourself too – just five minutes.

The memory test

Before having children, I had a wonderful memory. I do not know exactly what happens to the female brain during or after childbirth that completely destroys this. Now, I do that thing my mum does and my nan used to do which is to call a member of my close family by the name of a different member of my close family. I call Henry, Evie and Evie, Henry. I cannot blame sleep deprivation anymore. Evie has always been a good sleeper and mostly in her own bed. If she is poorly or teething and cries in the night, I bring her into my bed, she cuddles up and goes straight back to sleep. Who knew my right armpit would be a cavern of comfort for a small person? Henry was a nightmare sleeper as a baby. I felt like a zombie for practically a year. He is three and a half now and although he still has phases and STILL starts the day at 5.30am, he largely sleeps through the night in his own bed.

So I was going to find this next exercise very difficult. In a nut shell, Lydia weaved herself into a crouched, cross-legged, cross-armed twist and we stared at her for one minute. She released her twisted limbs and for five minutes we drew what we remembered. We repeated this and finally Lydia stayed in position and we corrected our drawing.

My skecth of Lydia drawing from memory

It’s hard to see all the marks I rubbed out here. I struggled largely with the arm that loops upwards towards the shoulder. See the arm as a ‘V’ shape, and then imagine the ‘V’ upside down. That is how I drew this limb from memory.

What do I look like?

A puzzling exercise next. The females were asked to study Tom and the males to study Lydia in their now seated poses but we had to draw ourselves. I was wearing jeans as standard and a white top with a black trim to the neck and arms. I drew Tom but with slightly chunkier legs and narrower shoulders. When I got to the head and face, I was stumped. “What do I look like?” Emily must have spotted my stumped face  (my face tends to very obviously show basic emotions such as sadness, anger, happiness and confusion especially, without my having any say as to whether I wish to show my feelings or not) and asked if I were ok. “I have no idea what I really look like. I don’t know how to draw my eyes. What shape are they? How can I not know my own face? I’ve lived with it for 38 years!”

I sketched what I could. I look angry, don’t I! Grrrrrr.

My five minute self portrait based on Tom's pose
A Tom/Charlotte hybrid. Look at that chin. And my swimmer shoulders!
How does my self portrait compare to the real me?
When I place my crap drawing of myself alongside a photo of myself, I am surprised to see some likeness

Spiders. Again

Our models took on their final pose before the break. Tom stood back with his arms crossed and one hand covering his mouth. Lydia stood ahead of him with her arms infant of her and apart, like she had pulled apart the pages of a newspaper.

We were to draw our two models into a scene of our choosing. Tom was a trainee vet and Lydia was an experienced vet examining some kind of animal. We were to draw their uniforms, an animal and the scenery. A spider was the first thing that came to mind. One morning last week, Henry and I stopped and watched a spider as it had just started spinning his web. I’d never seen it before and was just as fascinated as my son. I loathe spiders so I pictured our eight legged friend as a strawberry.

A fab sketch of a vet looking up a spiders bottom
There seems to be a ‘thread’ running through my sketches when it comes to being allowed to use my imagination

Name that film

The final exercise of the night was the one I got very frustrated with because we were up against the clock with less than two minutes to draw each scene. Split into four groups, each gang picked a film which was familiar to everyone in their group. We picked a scene from the beginning, middle and end of the movie and directed Tom and Lydia to pose for these scenes. The rest of the group then had to draw each scene and guess the film too.

Here are the four films as I drew them.  If you guess any one of them, I will be greatly impressed!!

Sketches of film scenes as posed by Tom and Lydia
Top three boxes are sketches of film 1 and bottom three boxes are of film 2
Sketches of films 3 and 4
These are the sketches of films three and four. I think my frustration is showing in my work now. Box 4 is empty as I was busy participating in the scene.

I got really anxious with the tight time pressure on these drawings. It was impossible to even finish a very rough sketch of an entire scene, no matter how quickly I squiggled. Weirdly, two groups picked Titanic but very different scenes from the film. The first was The Shining and I cannot for the life of me remember what film no. 3 was. That’s post-children memory crapness for you!


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