Practice makes best

Andrew – 1

Practice actually helped

They say “practice makes best”, and today was proved this is absolutely right. After 2.5 months summer break, and a considerable amount of “homework”, I went back to the life drawing classes. With a new model and new poses, I had the chance to put in practice what I learned during our break. I was very pleased and I finished the class satisfied with my performance. Here is how these Tutorials helped me.

Date: 17/09/2018

Author: Iasonas Bakas

Time: 3h


  • Step 1: Short standing poses
  • Step 2: When tutor forgets
  • Step 3: The long pose
  • Step 4: A fresh start


1. Charcoal Sticks
2. Kneadable eraser
3. Easel
4. A2 sketch pad

Step 1: Short standing poses

Our model did mostly standing poses for this session. He was equipped with a long rope which he passed around a steel column in the middle of the room. Then he used the rope to balance himself while leaning backwards or “pulling” the column. These 4 poses lasted for about 5 minutes each (top left and bottom corners of the page below).

You will notice that each drawing is at a different level of completion. The top left one was literally a warm up exercise for me getting back to “drawing from life mode”. What made a difference is that finally, I managed to forget about details and only focus on the flow of the outline. The bottom left is not much more developed, however I had the chance to work on the torso details and indicatively show the chest lines. Finally, the bottom right drawing shows an attempt to add tone which I obviously overdid.

Step 2: When tutor forgets

This was supposed to be another short pose, however our tutor started explaining some theory to a new student…and actually gave us about 10-12 minutes on this one. The model was holding the rope around the steel post again; this time the torso was slightly twisted, making it challenging to achieve the required body balance on paper.

For some reason, this came very naturally to me and I managed to draw a relatively balanced and well measured drawing in this amount of time. I very quickly put together the head, face, chest and shoulders area. The recent exercises helped a lot in that. This saved time and left me with some spare minutes to work on tone. Although the shading is not very detailed I think, it gives a good indication of lightning and body volumes.

Step 3: The long pose

After the usual tea break we went back in class for the long pose. We all agreed the most interesting pose was the one where the model “pulled” the steel column with the rope. This would have been quite straightforward if the body was standing upright. In reality though, the model was leaning backwards creating all shorts of balance and perspective issues. This is where I messed up.

My drawing was slightly too long which in combination with proportion made it completely out of scale. After a quick look the tutor said this drawing “couldn’t be saved”, so I had to start again…

Step 4: A fresh start

Following our tutors constructive comments I decided to start afresh (not massively happy I admit but I gave it a go). New sheet, new drawing. This time it went much better. The drawing was better balanced and the front leg was as prominent as required. The torso and upper structure are leaning backwards and the rear leg, smaller in proportion due to perspective, is providing the necessary support.

This drawing pleased the tutor and to be honest looks a bit better measured than the previous one. There is still loads of work to be done but this will happen in the next session. Looking forward to adding tone to this drawing and seeing what the result will be.


What we learnt:

This session was very interesting because made me understand the value of body balance. Proportions and details themselves are worthless unless they are built on a well balanced body which can actually stand. Measuring right and drawing the general proportion accurately can help in this direction. It is very important though to have a wider understanding of how the body stands and balances its weight.

The Artist says:

“After a long summer break it was very exciting to be back in class. The most satisfying thing was that the summer practice actually helped me undersand the structure of the body. When you know the structure you can sometimes “get things right” without even measuring too much! Do make this extra effort to understand what lies under the skin! You can have a look at these Tutorials



Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…


Love Sketching & Painting


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