Saturday, April 25, 2009

Life Drawing at SVA

Leland and I went out life drawing and boozing the other night, and had a typically great, rowdy conversation on every topic we could think of. It reminded me of grade school days a million years ago, when we used to take night classes together at an arts center in Multnomah, OR. We'd spend the whole class loudly arguing about George Lucas and Frank Miller as we drew, much to the annoyance of the continuing-education ladies in the room, who were too polite to tell us two kids to pipe down or get out. How great that to this day the two of us can carry on a much more sophisticated and cultured conversation about, well, George Lucas and Frank Miller.

The two models--a man and a woman--were great, not shying away from active poses that aren't easy to hold. They worked off each other inventively and created scenes that, as Leland said, you could see stories in. Most of these drawings were done very fast; even on longer poses I tend to get bored and move around the room drawing the same pose from several different angles (still annoying people no doubt). The drawings are actually in black pencil--I thought it might be fun to scan in a few and throw some digital paint on them.

The models at SVA are usually very good in my experience. Only one session I've attended there sticks out in my memory as being unfulfilling. Years ago at a session hosted by an animation association we had a model who wasn't exactly giving it his all. Maybe he didn't understand that he was posing for a bunch of animators who wanted to see something more active than 20 variations on, "man sitting in chair staring straight ahead". In any case, people started to complain midway through the session. Rather than take the suggestions to heart and step up his game, the model chose to get defensive and surly. At which point the students became openly hostile to him.

It's always a little sad to see a performer lose the audience, but watching a nude model have a roomful of people turn on him is really a unique kind of uncomfortable. If, say, a stand-up comic eats it on stage, he at least still has the microphone and can maintain some semblence of control. This guy had exactly one piece of equipment up there with him which was quite visible, and he was clearly at a loss as to how to make use of it to turn the situation to his advantage.

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