When you take a figure drawing class, a person will stand in the middle of the room for a certain amount of time and with your charcoal or pencil or paint or crayon or market or foot or mind or soul, you will draw this person to the best of your ability. Then your teacher will stand behind you and hum and ho and tap their chin with a long finger and say, “The legs are too long. The proportions are off. Eyes too far from the lips. no. no. No. NO.”
And of course they have to say these things because the point of taking a figure drawing class is to learn to draw the figure (correctly). It’s not open to interpretation when you first approach the human figure. It is imperative that you actually learn anatomy, bone structure, the way the muscles bunch and the skin stretches. It’s exhausting.
For a brief period, I got tired of figure drawing class. The same thing everyday, the frustration of imperfection, my drawings of bodies that never really looked like the person in front of me. We would study old master drawings and I would feel embarrassed to even pick up a pencil.
But as I near the end of my college career, I am having to accept that I’ve actually learned things and have improved because of school. Who would have thought? I can compare my drawings from freshman year to present day and see noticeable improvement of my understanding of the human form. But what I am most excited about is how I have learned to alter the body in an artistically mature way. You must know the rules to break the rules, as they say. I draw my humans as imperfectly perfect as I can, as is my own creative interpretation. But I could not have achieved this style without many years of study on how to draw accurately. This is not to say I’ve mastered the human form in any respect, but I feel more confident in being able to accentuate certain parts of the body/create strange and painful figures because I know what the form is supposed to look like. Here are some examples of my body studies: