honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

My Life Drawing Class Descriptions

A model asked for more description of my classes so that he could prepare the right kind of poses.

Here's a rundown of the life drawing classes.
 I teach 2 classes with different content and different modeling needs.

Anatomy Class :
Emphasis is on seeing the anatomical structure of the pose and the specific model.

Model may be asked to do simple exercises so that students can see muscle and bone structures change.  For example one exercise is for the model to face away from the students.  I light the model's back from the side and the model raises his or her arms overhead so that students can witness the wheeling of the scapula bones over the back of the ribcage and the shape change at the Acromion process of the shoulder.

If we are studying a certain area of the week there may be a request from some of those exercises.
Facial expressions.  We learn the muscles that control expressions so if you can, not all models can do this, we ask you to hold some facial expressions for short periods of time.  This is one of the hardest things to do.  I also ask students - they love it - to volunteer facial poses when the model is not in the class.  Then they appreciate how hard a model works for them!

In addition to the above special poses the normal anatomy session runs like this. 
The first hour is homework critique and lecture.
The next 3 hours are studio time drawing from the model.

The standard 3-hour model session for Anatomy goes like this:
10 10-second poses (sometimes)
10 1-minute poses (always)
5 3-minute poses
A variety 6 or 7-minute poses (these may be broken in half and the students change seats and do collaborative drawing so a model can break when the students switch and then retake the pose.
Depending on time a few 10, 12, or 15 minute poses in which students have time to focus on one or two aspects of anatomical drawing.
At irregular intervals depending in teaching instincts the students put what they are working on in a spontaneous "art show" and we talk about what we are applying from the lecture, what works and what doesn't work, and most of all what experiments are going on with media, technique and composition.

In contrast to fine art classes with long studies, the AIO classes are for animation students.  In animation the goal is to capture the action of the figure quickly.  So although we do slow it down and talk about anatomical detail, the students' goal is to get the structure, proportion,  balance,and  line of action, down on the page fairly quickly to prepare for professional drawing requirements in the animation industry. 

Gesture Class:
The goals of this class build on the anatomical knowledge students gain in CA115.  In this class the emphasis is on composition, action, and visual storytelling with figures.
There are more fast poses in this class.

Often the model will be asked to do a sequence of 3 poses that relate to each other.  These might be model has sword, model swings sword, model follows through with swing.  These 3 poses will be previewed for the students so that they can plan their sequence drawing of the three poses on a single page.  This story-telling sequence drawing is important for students to see the relation of balance, weight, and action in a sequence of gestures.  These poses are typically 3-minutes each for a series to 3 related 3-minute poses.  The model in this class does not have to be nude, in fact bringing some costume changes or props is encouraged.  Hats, fishing pole, stick, rope, costumes, tights, etc.  are helpful to change the "story" of the poses.

Standard 3-hour model session for Gesture:
10 10 second line of action poses
10 - 20 1-minute traditional gesture poses
3 3-part sequence poses -- 3 related poses usually with a prop of 3 minutes each.  Sometimes we will ask for 4-minute each sequence poses.
Occasionally this class will require reminders of anatomy for certain poses and we will do some 7-minute poses.


Students like to suggest poses to the model and we also have a pose prompt list of ideas created by the creative writing class.  These are 6-word stories.  They actually stimulate the students more than the model.  You may also bring in some words to go with your poses such as headlines, poem titles, quotations, etc.  Sometimes a short series of words really gets the creativity flowing for a pose.  Students have done work using most of the six-word stories from the creative writing class below:
Six-Word Stories for Life Drawing
Sent from Katherine Perry – Creative Writing Instructor

Alleyway hijinx: hiding above in shadows. - Ed
Real ninja fight scene in downtown. - Donovan
Tea party ruined by cheese. --Donald
Love affairs are bittersweet romances. --Krystal
I've been buried in a shoebox. - Huck
The art of beauty is ecstatic. --Andee
I would not wear that cape. -- Ami
Was blown away by the wind. -- Bridgette
Man gets covered with gravel cement. - Rachel
New hairspray sets hair on fire. -- Vanessa
This just in: everything causes cancer. - Brock
Vegas magician mauls two trained tigers. -- Katy

The goal for this Gesture class is to work with the model to create narrative - to tell a story visually with the help of the gesture poses of the model.  You do not have to use verbal prompts but sometimes they help the students see a story in a pose. 

Student responsibility

At the end of the term i encourage the students to work directly with the model as if they were a team of professional animators who have hired you.  I supervise but pretty much let the students take responsibility for their work with the model.  I spend more time consulting with individual students during those classes while student take turns running the modeling session with timing, art shows, and pose suggestions.
Tags: life drawing, teaching

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