I have said before that figure drawing was one of the art classes that scared me the most. Yet, to this day, it remains one of my favorite classes.
Figure drawing taught me to look at people differently. I learned to notice the details. How does she like her eyeliner? How does he trim his beard? She wears that necklace every day, I wonder why? Figure drawing taught me to notice the details in others, the things they do subconsciously or out of habit. The little things that make that person themselves.
My drawing professor was known for quirky still life setups. He would place baby doll heads and arms in tea cups, “borrow” stuffed animals from the biology department, and the skeleton in his classroom went by the name of George. He would sometimes choose odd poses for the models to push us in our ability to capture them.
We did not have a model come to class each period, so when there was no model, we took turns drawing each other. I found drawing classmates relaxing and challenging at the same time. It was easy to miss details in someone you see multiple times a week. But it was also easier to capture someone’s personality when you actually knew them.
For this portrait, I think our professor wanted us to pay attention to our classmate, to not “formula draw” and miss details. So, to add to her attire for the day, he found a towel, draped it over her head, and told us to draw.
This classmate was so sweet, and an excellent model. I swear she never moved! I remember capturing the familiar curves of her face and nose, and doing my best to capture the details of the necklace she wore every day.
The funny thing is, I actually ran into this classmate at the grocery store a few years ago! I never expect to see classmates where I live, so it is always a pleasant surprise to run into someone.
I remember balancing the details of my classmate and the details in the towel were both challenging. Because of these challenges, I ended up loving this drawing. Isn’t it interesting how some of our favorite pieces are the ones that challenge us the most?