Ten years ago I decided it was time to practice drawing “the human form.” I already had one of those wooden models with articulated joints, and a bendable wire one, too. I bought several books and got to work. The basics went well.
But everyone told me that to truly be an artist I absolutely HAD TO practice life drawing. The reasoning behind that made some sense to me even though I wasn’t entirely convinced. One problem got in my way: I rarely see people. That’s by choice and it’s non-negotiable. So I tried drawing figures I saw on television. That didn’t go well, mainly because they’re two-dimensional. I might as well just draw pictures of people from pictures of people.
One day, when I was packing up some old clothes to donate, I decided to delay their journey. I stuffed a top and ancient sweatpants with the rest of the old clothes and found a plastic mask and wig, and made a body. Then I posed it, added a plastic hand and sunglasses, and the “person” in the photo above appeared.
I dressed and decorated it several ways and posed it on chairs, etc. It routinely scared the cats. Weeks later, when I realized that the legs needed “bones” to look right I assembled a skeleton out of old paper towel rolls. But I never re-made the model.
Because I had so much fun fussing with it, making it look increasingly realistic, taking silly photos of it, that I drew it only once. Its original purpose was to help me teach myself how to draw a person. But I didn’t want to.
I took it all apart, put away the hand, the mask, the hats, and the hairpieces. The old clothes went on to living people who needed them more than I needed to learn how to draw people.
I draw faces.
If I had a thousand years of life ahead of me I’d never tire of exploring faces.
No bodies needed.
One of these days I’ll track down the other photos and that drawing, and share them. And, yes, I know that the hand is on the wrong side. 🙃