Self led life drawing class

Friday’s have allocated life drawing session organised by my tutors. This week was the final week and as the Wednesday taught classes are no longer on I decided to attend this class. I was the only student to attend the class and with no tutor to help me choose the poses and gesture to work with. This was quite daunting at first because I wasn’t sure where to start and what army of poses to ask the model to perform. Barry, the model, I’ve worked with before was so we worked very well together. Barry was great because he helped me with the different gestures as he understood I hadn’t led one before and so was very patient and understanding.

I really enjoyed this class because I was able to produce a range of drawings of different poses which were my ideas. I was able to personalise the class and dictate the different gestures and the timings of each one. I prefer short poses because I have to work quickly and so the marks hold so much more movement than longer poses where I take more time to produce the piece.

Drawing with both hands and responding to classical music

After my tutorial I was given Morgan O’Hara as an artist to look into. She responds to human activity through her drawing, if a person moves aggressively, the line will simultaneously be aggressive. The lines also following the direction of the activity.

I decided to take this idea but work with it using classical music. Classical music is so beneficial and along with scientific research is helps whilst studying. I isolated myself so I could only heard the music and using both hands, placed ink on paper and allowed my hands to freely respond to the music. I participated in an activity similar to this during my art foundation year and found it quite useful for my drawing. I found this exercise quite freeing and thoroughly enjoyed it because it allowed me to just focus on the music and how it made me feel.

Rubicon Dance School Class

On 29th November I visited two dance classes at Rubicon Dance School in Cardiff where I sat in a Ballet class and an Improvisation class. The classes involved the students carrying out tasks requested by their tutor which they performed to music. I really enjoyed this class because the students performed a range of different gestures and poses for me to draw. The class was not put on for me so these movements were genuine for their assessments and regular routines. I found it was quite challenging to draw in this situation because the gestures were only a split second so I needed to trust myself with my mark making. The seated poses gave me a little more time to get the outline of the pose because they were usually from the warm up or were slow movements whereas, the standing and jumping poses were so fast. I found by drawing the angle of the movement with a straight line which runs through the centre of the body was the easiest way to record the movement before going back when I had more time to draw it. I started with pencil but quickly moved to using inked pens because they were easier to work with in this situation and allowed me to start incorporating colour.

The reason for participating in this activity was to broaden my portfolio of human body drawing and to start looking at movement after life drawing. The muscles tense and the body moves in different ways in dynamic movements and so I wanted to explore this to help strengthen my knowledge and understanding of bodily movements.

I have asked to return to the studio to sit in more classes so I can record more poses.

Second Large Scale Drawing

Throughout the past few years I have been fascinated by hands because the different gestures tell different stories.. I wanted to go back to drawing hands because they were fascinating and challenging to draw. Hands are used as a nonverbal communication especially for deaf and those who are speech impaired. Not only this, hand gestures are used in everyday life including defending yourself, explaining a point or welcoming someone into a situation. I guess you don’t realise how often you use your hands and how much you rely on them in everyday living. I decided to drawing my own hand at a slight crumpled angle because it is a very relaxed pose and yet it still shows contours and lines in the hand. I thought it was a good gesture to start with as I haven’t drawn hands for a while. It is still quite a hard image to work with but still a good way to start.

I wanted to continue exploring the way Alison Lambert works by fixing different torn pieces of paper together. After the first drawing where I used masting tape to hold the pieces of paper together, I decided to try a different approach and used PVA glue to hold the paper together. I started with just a small pieces of ripped paper and adding pieces as I added to the drawing. I have never worked this way but found it really worked as I was focusing on one part of the drawing at a time. I am fascinated by the way the image is starting to come together by adding paper into it and completing the drawing.

I did struggle with parts of drawing so the work has taken longer than I thought. Having not drawn hands for a while it took a lot of time to get the proportions right. I will be continuing the work with the willow and compressed charcoal.

First large scale charcoal drawing

After my formative assessment and a discussion with my tutor, I decided to broaden my horizons and start to work big. I am so inspired by the way Alison Lamber works in such a big scale to create overpowering, impactful pieces and I wanted to start doing this in my own work. I started with two long pieces of wall lining paper taped together although, I knew I was going to need to add pieces because the two were not wider enough for the drawing. I decided not to start with three pieces of paper together because I felt the straightness of the edges would make the work too flat and linear.


The second stage of this piece was to begin incorporating the compressed charcoal with the willow charcoal and paper to form a deeper, richer image. I love working with the compressed charcoal because it allows you to create an extreme darkness to the work. This darkness is not necessarily form a dark atmosphere to the work however, it does produce an intensity and a sense of empowerment. Straight away the charcoal changed the image by enhancing the contours and enriching the work which has totally changed the feeling of the work.

stage 2 2
Nina Williams, 2019, Large scale charcoal drawing, Stage 2

I decided to stop this drawing at this stage because I felt stuck and wasn’t sure ¬†whether to continue it so decided to stop it here. I could continue the drawing but feel as a exploration piece it is usable as it is.

Life Drawing

The first life drawing lesson of the year consisted for quick poses ranging between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. The short timings meant you had to trust your ability to follow lines. I found the best way to work during the shorter times, was to make long marks to create fluidity in the work. It can be quite scary using this style of mark making because there is the fear of making it wrong but, this is one of the benefits of working with charcoal because you can easily smudge it out. I was the only fine artist is the class and this was definitely evident in the different styles of drawing. The tutor, Morgan, is an animator and explained how this discipline focuses on the movement of the model and the drawing ability of the artists. This was reassuring as I am a little out of practice with life drawing. Focusing of the movement of the model is more important than the ability to draw because this will come naturally. The movement focus is more important to you because this is what I am interested in. the movement of the body and how we can distort and change our body shape to challenge the logical way it should be. The model exposed us to a wide range of poses some of which were very challenging! I am happy with most of my work but some are a lot better than others!


It was a great experience being in a class with different disciplines because  it was interesting to see the different ways people work and how to interpret the model. I will be attending as many classes as possible to build a portfolio of works throughout the year.

Large charcoal drawing

I started to look a friend who has suffered from malnourishment. I wanted to start creating a large scale drawing of her where she is changing her body shape to show her bones. Oriphysis is where the inside of the body becomes to show through and come out. By distorting her body shape she is able to show her bones through her skin. The image I decided to start with implies she is purposefully stretching her body out in order to show the bones. As I started to work on this piece I began to think about how far I wanted to develop and sculpt the work. The piece is not necessarily classified as ‘finished’ but I feel the unfinished-ness to the work forms a sense of development shows the way I started looking into the idea as an exploration. I am going to leave this piece as it is as I am happy with the way it stands right now.