Why Figure Drawing?

Imagine entering a dimly lit room. You are sitting among 15 others in a semi-circle surrounding a brightly lit center stage. On this stage is a woman in her late 20’s clad in just a robe. Then the clock chimes, and she undresses with all eyes on her. Society has taught us to look away. It’s indecent, awkward, and private. But in this situation, I, and everyone else is here for exactly this. We all grab our pencils and begin drawing. Everything else fades away and soon enough you forget there is anyone sitting next to you.

The more I went to life-drawing sessions, the less I felt awkward. The model is devoid of inhibition for the duration of the session. There is no way of knowing the model’s style in terms of clothing, there is no judgment of body type, weight, sexual orientation, scars, or livelihood. All that can be seen is the model.  The model is sharing her true self, without the labels of society. I find this beautiful. In this process, I’ve noticed my self-image improve as well. I started to see my body as an artist would see it, no matter how imperfect.

Art seems to be alive when drawn from life. There are variations and changes in the shadows and in the light, shifts in weight, and a sense of depth that is hard to grasp from a photograph. Each artist captures the same model differently depicting on what they deem most striking in that pose. The timed aspect of a life drawing session makes it seem as though a moment of the model’s life has been captured on paper. Through the captured moments, the artist gets a chance to connect with the model in an intimate way. Each detail or lack thereof is up to the artist’s discretion.

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