I teach Life Drawing to people with a wide range of experience and ambitions. It’s quite normal for me to be teaching groups which include practicing artists, with degrees and MAs etc, alongside people who describe themselves as ‘beginners’ (I don’t believe there is even such a thing as a ‘beginner’ when it comes to drawing!). It’s an interesting challenge to design classes and courses that are useful to everyone. Demonstration drawings can be useful.
Here is a demonstration drawing done over the course of about thirty minutes. It’s probably a ten-minute drawing if you take into account all of the stops to discuss ideas at various moments as the drawing took shape. I might do one of these as part of a day-long session and I’ll also do one at some point during a six-week or ten-week course. This A1 charcoal drawing happens to be from a session I taught at The Young Gallery in Salisbury.
The point of these demonstrations is to offer a range of ways of thinking about Drawing and to show a drawing-process, involving constant revision, being played-out over time. These demonstrations are as much about ideas as about techniques, if not more so.
Mistakes are an essential part of the process. We change our minds as we draw and our drawings are the traces of all those moments when these changes took place. I like to think of the drawing surface as a kind of map or a game board on which all the little dramas of decisions and indecisions, moves and momentary presence had their moments and left their trace.
We make drawings within a sequence of moments but we view the ‘finished’ drawing (are drawings ever really ‘finished’?) as if from various points in time and all at once. Our drawings are traces of time and of our physical and pscycological presence just as much as they are marks made to resemble visual appearances of things.
It’s impossible to draw at the same time as describing the thought processes that bring the drawing into being; even so, that is what I attempt to do in these drawings. The main effort is to make the mark connect with, or resemble, the thought. For example: the angle of the line between two points of the figure might be the only thought at that particular moment in time, the idea of a circuit created by the loop of the arms might be another, the shape of shadows imply the presence of the form which casts them, variations in the weight of lines might indicate that something is nearer than something else… and so on, and so on. Each moment in the drawing is concerned only with that moment’s effort. You must have faith in the drawing as a process that brings these separate ideas into some kind of ‘agreement’ as the drawing emerges.
And there is the basic, almost child-like, pleasure in drawing a line – the physical sensation of it and the surprise in seeing the result of it. This is not the least important aspect of drawing. The really good lines come from the attempt to be precise whilst being also open to the possibility of their being another way of seeing it and of making our mark.
If you’d like to come to my Life Drawing classes then please keep an eye out for them on my social media posts (facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roy.eastlanddrawing, Twitter: https://www.instagram.com/royeastland/ and Instagram: https://twitter.com/royeastlanddraw or go to the Kent Adult Education website and type my name into the search box).
This particular drawing, along with several others from the workshops I’ve taught there, are in the collection of The Young Gallery in Salisbury.