Why life drawing is so vital to design practice.

10 February 2016
Why life drawing is so vital to design practice.

For me it’s about the act of looking, really looking at an object, the shapes and the spaces life drawing provides. Drawing the human form is like nothing else, you have to believe what you see and make judgements about surfaces, object mass, and their relationships to other objects.

It requires consideration and judgement about composition, media, mark making and style, all vital skills in design practice.

It’s also about the group experience that concentrates the mind and provides the perfect environment for creative practice.

I particularly like the discussion at the tea break and end of one of the classes I attend, where we have the chance to explain our work, the choices we made and what we felt worked and didn’t work. This gives those taking part the chance to share, learn and improve.

A class can sometimes feel exhausting, but results in a feeling of satisfaction and tiredness not dissimilar to that after good physical exercise.

It’s more about the process (that can feel like meditation), than the end product. Short poses give the eye and hand a real work-out, but it’s the long poses where I get real satisfaction. Where I can consider composition and tackle the shape and form of the overall figure, whilst also concentrating on challenging detail such as hands and feet.

As for barrier to entry - I believe there is none. Everyone can do it, and everyone will develop their technique and own unique style with practice.

One of my fellow class mates described life drawing as being vital to artists and designers, just like practicing scales is to a musician. I agreed with him, although as a student of the piano, I’d prefer to do life drawing any day.