Life Drawing 4:

Since we had no life drawing session over Reading Break, I decided that I needed to organize my home studio. While I have loaned out most of my canvas paintings to friends and family since I have next to no storage space, over 9 years of art supplies, projects, and sketchbooks have accumulated in my life. I wanted to practice some life drawing techniques at home but felt like I couldn’t possibly do it in my studio since the sight of it made my heart start pumping with overwhelm. So, I bit the bullet and started tackling the mess. Not such a simple endeavour it would seem. Two weeks later and the floor is still covered as I wade my way through past work, negotiating with myself what I can keep and what I can part with.

Not my actual studio, but pretty close.

Anyhow, I thought it was about time to do some work, and this week I decided I would do this instead of attend a life drawing session.

Well, I absolutely love this site. It’s run by son and mother team Kenzo and Mayko. Mayko is a professional and award winning figure artist and Kenzo is learning life drawing. Lesson 1 of the beginner course was all about getting familiar with the course and the learning process. In the video, Kenzo talked about pacing yourself during the journey of learning to life draw – it’s not a sprint, or even a marathon. With that in mind, I reframed my thinking; I’m going to take this ssssllloooowwww. Historically, I’ve had a hard time giving myself time without pressure to practice. So, now giving myself protected practice, I watched the video again and took some notes. One concept Kenzo talked about (and that I plan to relay to my students in addition to reminding myself, is the concept of practice debt. It can take minutes to understand a technique and hundreds of hours to really learn it.


Pacing myself now, I moved on to Lesson 2 – Lines of Movement. While I am familiar with the concept of gesture drawing, Kenzo says that lines of movement are actually a step back from gestural lines. Lines of movement are not lines of motion or even visible lines; they are the lines we feel when we take in a pose. They are the flow of the pose, about getting the essence of it.

After watching Mayko demonstrate several lines of movement in the video, they give the practice activity: find the sports section in your newspaper and draw some lines of movement over top of the athletes.

First time I’ve ever opened the Sports section.

After trying this in a couple of sport sections myself, I decided to watch the video again for reminders. I was having a hard time deciding how many lines to add, but once I realized that I didn’t have to draw awkward angular lines, it became much easier. Here are a few of the notes I took after my second attempt:

  • I like to take a couple seconds to consider the lines of movement/flow of the pose before I draw them, because my tendency is to want to immediately draw more articulated, angular lines. I kept repeating “essence” and “flow” to myself as I drew.
  • I like to use two different oil pastels to differentiate between two figures.
  • I’m having trouble knowing whether to include both of the legs or whether to separate them from the primary line of movement. I learned not to get caught up in the joints of the figure. The lines of movement to have to be specific to the limbs or torso; they can generalize.

I’m going to do my best to incorporate drawing lines of movement into my morning routine which has always involved reading the paper.

2 thoughts on “Life Drawing 4:

  1. Hi – I got a pingback on our site which led me here – and though I still don’t know what a pingback is, I’m glad to have found your article. Thanks for writing about us, I’m really glad you’re enjoying our site. Being as thoughtful about the learning process as you seem to be, your progression will be really good I think, even though in my experience it doesn’t always feel like it at the time!
    Best of luck with your life drawing – what an exciting adventure it will be 🙂 Kenzo

    • Hi Kenzo. I think pingbacks are alerts you get when someone links to your website. Though, I’m not too sure either. I’m trying to be persistent through the ups and downs. Thanks for the encouragement. Love everything you and Mayko are doing. – O

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