Learn to Draw > Poses in figure drawing

Life drawing should not be done at first from a posed model; it is much more instructive to make the first attempts in chance, natural surroundings, while watching sports or swimming, for example. If the artist is serious he will always find someone to hold a chance pose long enough for him to make a quick sketch.

It is advisable not to plague this kind person by long searching after the perfect pose; better to flatter him by saying how delightful his momentary position is, and then he will stand like a statue. The advantage here is that awkward poses are avoided - poses which are too difficult to draw at first, and when once mastered are found undesirable.

At first, it will suffice to draw an outline of the whole figure, concentrating on correct proportions. Details are needed only where they are particularly obvious on the model. It is more important at first simply to gain assurance than to attempt a complete nude drawing. Enough experience should be gained before this attempt to impart individuality to the model, to give it the telling characterization that is half the charm and success of a drawing.

Diagram of human body to help with the accompanying nude study

It does not matter if your model is not an Aphrodite or Adonis. Even an "ugly" body can be beautiful if it expresses something, and this it will do only in a natural position. The dusty old academy poses, using horse tamers, bell ringers, amphora bearers, and such like, may be useful for showing anatomy but are no more desirable as a final picture than the silly affectations of mannequins or the well-tried repertory of pin-up girl poses.

Thus, it is important to know why, beyond the necessities of training, we draw flgures. Two main reasons can be found: one is the purely formal beauty of the body, the other is its human expressiveness, although it seems that for many years beauty has caused distress in figurative art, and it is hard indeed to find a beautiful body in many modern exhibitions.

Do all ugly poses really express something so essential? Would it not be a fine task to rediscover the beautiful body for pictorial art?

Next: portrait drawing

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