Flashback

A3: Charcoal on paper

This recent drawing harks back to my old fashion drawing days. There are clothes…but they’re coming off!

Life models usually undress behind a screen or in a dressing room (or cupboard!) and emerge in a robe or dressing gown which they remove at the last moment when everyone’s ready to draw, and then they adopt a pose. Most models don’t dress or undress in front of a group of artists…other than removing the dressing gown…and there can be something about seeing a model in the act of undressing in front of everyone that can seem oddly voyeuristic and inappropriate in a way that studying them stark naked to draw them isn’t. I’ve seen artists look away embarrassed when a model doesn’t follow this unspoken rule…strange but true!

This particular model, however, arrived wearing a wonderful flamenco-style skirt in heavy green satin with a simple black top and offered to do a sequence of poses whilst removing them thus blurring the usual boundaries. This deliberate series of very quick poses didn’t have the weird embarrassment effect and made for some very interesting lines and shapes.

A clothed…or half-clad…figure is a different kind of drawing challenge. The way you draw the clothes has to suggest the physical structure underneath.

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