After three classes, I finally have something positive to say about my drawing course at Emily Carr. The first two classes in this very short course (only 6 classes total) were a major disappointment. The instructor is very talented and I’m sure he’s a fine teacher for the full time art school kids, but when it comes to drawing fundamentals (the name of the course, btw), he’s been less than stellar.
We’ve spent a good third of our class time introducing ourselves, then showing our work and talking about it. For my ADD-adled brain, this is pure torture. I want to learn! I want to DO! Spending 30 minutes talking about “What is a line?” makes me want to rip my hair out.
The course is basically led by the students and the instructor teaches by just answering our questions. That might be good for advanced students who know what they’re doing and have specific questions about shading, perspective etc., but when you’re just starting out? Most of the class doesn’t have any clue what to ask other than “So, how do we draw?”
The third class he redeemed himself though; we did an entire class on the human body. He demonstrated the rules of splitting the body into eighths, we had a skeleton there to help us really visualize the body from the inside out plus we got to sketch from a live model – a nude live model. I’m hardly a prude and quickly lost my self-consciousness at the whole situation, but it was a little startling right off the bat. I caught myself a few times thinking about the fact that I was staring (I mean really STARING) at a naked woman’s butt. No wonder so many people practice sketching with bowls of fruit!
Nudity aside, the class was enormously helpful for learning how to draw all sorts of different poses. At one point the instructor got the model to stand up against the wall in front of a slide projector so he could project an image of a skeleton over her body. Like an x-ray, it was a great learning experience to really see what’s going on inside our bodies. By working from the inside out, I should (in theory) always be able to draw the human body in anatomically correct poses and positions.
It’s funny…as often as I draw and paint people, there are so many things I had simply never noticed by attempting to draw from memory. Hands, for example; people constantly draw hands that are too small and make the entire picture look off. Try this: hold your hand up in front of your face. For the average person, their hand is the same size as their face. That seems HUGE to me! I think about all of the girls I paint and how BIG their faces are…never would I think to make their hands the same size. Feet too – much bigger than you’d expect until you really start to LOOK.
Seeing where the shoulder joints are, where the hip joints are…all of those sort of angles now make sense when I’m sketching. I don’t have to worry about if the position of my figure looks awkward or not because I’m not drawing it from the outside, from the skin; I’m now thinking about the skeleton and how the body really works.
It (almost) makes the first two classes worth it!