How to use the Core Shadow

Andrew – 2

Despite not being able to focus 100% during this session, I got something very important out of it. I heard about the core shadow and got a small taste of how to use it. Starting the life drawing session feeling pressure and stress didn’t massively help, however I feel happy I managed to learn something new.

Do you love Life Drawing? There is a whole collection here!
You can also download free Human Anatomy Sketching Tutorials here.

Continue reading “How to use the Core Shadow”

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.

Continue reading “Practice makes best”



Exploring the muscles of the head

Reading this article is possible because someone is working hard for you at the moment, without you even noticing. Your head muscles not only support your head but also allow you to turn around or even eat your delicious sandwich. It comes as no surprise we have numerous facial muscles to help us with all these facial expressions, however the head muscles are equally important for anatomic reasons as well from an artistic perspective. Today we will have a quick look at these hard working parts of our body and see how they affect our portraits and figures.




An introduction to facial muscles

Looking natural is fundamental for any portrait that wants to be called “realistic”. To be able to achieve this, showing the skin creases or stretches is necessary. The best way to learn how to draw them accurately is by having at least a broad understanding of the structure of facial muscles. Since we are not aiming for “medical level” studies we will only quickly go through groups of facial muscles and follow a very simplistic method to draw and memorise them.


Continue reading “THIS WILL MAKE YOU SMILE”


Life Drawing Sessions

A great way to challenge and teach yourself

If you have felt the urge to create and improve your artistic skills but doing so in the isolation of your room doesn’t feel tempting…be sure there are loads of people who feel the same way. After spending a few months working on my own, I eventually found something that worked very well for me and boosted my motivation.

Continue reading “WHY LIFE DRAWING?”

Drawing loosely

Jane – 4

Finally loosened up

Date: 09/07/2018

Author: Iasonas Bakas

Time: 3h



  • Step 1: Stepping on Object
  • Step 2: Pushing the Object
  • Step 3: Standing Pose
  • Step 4: Sitting Pose
  • Step 5: Long pose
  • Step 6: An extra one



1. Charcoal Sticks
2. Kneadable Eraser
3. Measuring Needle, Pencil, Ruler or anything straight to measure proportions
4. A few blank sheets

What happened today?

This time I went to class about 10min late. This is enough for everyone to find their spots, to set up their easels and start drawing the first quick pose. This is the bit I missed; and I am so glad I missed it! The reason is I didn’t have time to set up my easel, I just sat down and immediately started drawing the quick pose loosely. This helped me a lot to avoid my usual “technical” sketches. I ll go through each on of the poses in detail below.

Step 1: Stepping on Object

The first pose (which was set up before I went to class) was quite interesting. The model (Jane) had her one knee bend on the object we were using last time. Her other leg was stretched, touching the floor. The interesting part of this pose was that the leg muscles were stretched and the models tummy and breast were hanging, offering some very well-defined shapes for us to draw. Another element that I found nice was the model’s hair, falling downwards covering part her of head and face. I worked on this one for about 3-5 min. (See the bottom right sketch of the following picture).

Step 2: Pushing the Object

The second short pose was again of interest for similar reasons as the previous one. Jane now was pretending to be pushing the object. To avoid sketching similar elements and perspective (and since I didn’t have an easel…) I just grabbed my drawing board and sat at another corner of the room. I found this one a bit trickier for some reason and that why I didn’t add too much detail. I am pleased though I managed to capture the flow of the lines and the general shape. (See the top figure of the picture above).

Step 3: Standing Pose

Main drive for this pose was to give Jane a small break. The previous poses were quite tiring for her so now our tutor chose something quite easy for the model. She was literally stood still looking straight and slightly upwards. I was sat at the same position. For me it was a good exercise looking at the model’s back. I think one of the next elements to study will be the spine and the shoulder blades. (See the bottom left sketch of the previous picture).

Step 4: Sitting Pose

The last short pose was a sitting one, not too different from the one we kept as a long pose. The model was literally just sat on the object. Her one hand was resting on her knee. The second arm, I couldn’t see at all. Here I think I sketched the head slightly too big, but again I was not too worried as these quick poses mainly served as a warm up for the long pose.

Step 5: Long pose

The model went back to last week’s long pose position. She was sat on the object with one foot touching the ground and the other one resting on the object. She had her hands “hugging” her knee.

As usually, I changed my position to give myself a chance to practice more with something new. This time I had a better view of the model’s side along with a relatively fine view of her back. I started sketching her back; took me some time to get the proportions right of the bits either side of the spine. The next element was her front leg and side. Once that was roughly sketched I tried to quickly sketch the front arm, before we went out for tea break.

After break, I roughly sketched the fingers and how they folded around the model’s knee. I spent some time sketching the second leg which I couldn’t quite understand as the other knee was in the way. Finally, I decided it was not worth spending ages getting the second leg absolutely perfect…I couldn’t see that well anyway.

I moved on adding tone. This step helped me avoid adding my contours (I added those recently). I managed to give volume to my sketch by adding shadows and tones. That was quite helpful to define planes and show what is in fornt of other bits.

The head is only roughly sketched just to complete the drawing.

Step 6: An extra one

I had ten minutes left before the end of the session. I knew that trying to improve my main drawing wouldn’t make much difference so I started a quick “dummy” sketch. I was inspired by our models pose for the bottom part of the body but then the upper structure literally emerged from my imagination. I d love being able to draw figures without looking at a model and I am so I happy I managed to this even the last few minutes of this session.

Brief Summary

Generally, a nice session. The biggest lesson learnt was that when you loosen up then this is translated into nice lines that flow on the paper. No attention to detail is required at that stage. Capturing the energy and movement of the model is enough! I hope you enjoy your painting and sketching!

The Artist says:

“It is so amazing when you start studying the human anatomy before you go to the next class. You gain an understanding of how things work together and then instead of just sketching individual shapes and planes you understand how the body structure works as a whole!”

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


Love Sketching & Painting


JANE – 3

Jane 3

Life Drawing Session


This week the session ran very smoothly without any big surprises (except for the unbearable heat…there is not much you can do about it though). Our model, Jane again, got ready very quickly and we set up the first couple of poses in no time. The model did three short poses out of which we picked the most interesting one to be our long pose. The first two were standing poses and the third one was a sitting pose.

Step 1: Standing Poses

As mentioned, for the first two poses the model was standing. The tutor provided a small ply pier for the model to lean against. The well defined volume of the pier was very interesting actually in comparison with the much more “fluid” shape of the model. Also, for me it was the first time having a composition of a human figure with a considerably solid object.

During these two first poses I let myself free to experiment with different charcoal marks, I “broke” the rule of the light marks and I actually highlighted my sketches by pressing my charcoal stick a lot more than usually. I am actually very pleased with the shape, and flow of my lines here.

Step 2: Short Sitting Pose

In the last short pose we find the model sat one the ply pier. The pier was laid flat and Jane sat on it with one leg on the pier and the second touching the floor. Her hands were folded around her knee and her upper body was slightly leaning backwards. I tried to sketch quickly, paying some attention to proportions of limbs compared to the torso and the solid object. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to add tone, however I managed to draw some “contours” which help me visualise the volumes of the body. Obviously, in the final case these have to be erased.

Step 3: Long Pose

We spent the second half of the session working on the long pose. The majority decided that the third (sitting) pose was preferable . To be honest I wanted to draw one of the standing poses but that would have probably been a bit trickier for Jane. Anyway, I was quite happy with the standing pose too.

I generally did alright with this drawing. I managed to show the upper body structure leaning backwards. I also kept consistent with the body proportions and sizes. What I slightly got wrong was the model’s chest (the line between breasts). That was slightly off place but finally I observed a bit better and put it right.

Unfortunately, the head falls outside my page, however I made an effort to show as much as possible. I am quite happy as I got the volume right.

Step 4: The structure of the head

To practice my recently acquired knowledge on the structure of the skull, I decided to spend the last few minutes of the session quickly sketching Jane’s head. Of course the models head looks nothing like my sketches, however I am very happy I managed to get proportions, volume and relationship between different parts of the skull right. I ll keep practicing on that and hopefully next time I ll be able to sketch the head 3D (still not quite close to starting portraiture properly though….)

Brief Summary

Closing this session, I was quite please to have managed to sketch adequately and within time. I didn’t manage to add tone but I am ok with this as I spent some time sketching the head. I will try practicing the side of the head before next class and I will try to pick an angle where I can view the models side.

Until then have fun!

The Artist says:

“It is so amazing when you start studying the human anatomy before you go to the next class. You gain an understanding of how things work together and then instead of just sketching individual shapes and planes you understand how the body structure works as a whole!”



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


Love Sketching & Painting



Human Anatomy

The Ribcage

In this article we will see step by step how to draw the front part of the rib cage. I only tried this myself a few days ago so I am sure it will be very helpful for absolute beginners. I will try to keep the article short and easy as usual.

Continue reading “STUCK IN THE CAGE”



Today the session was different to the previous ones. First of all we had a male model which I had never drawn before. But the main difference was the content of the session itself. Our tutor organised for us two exercises.

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The class started setting up the model…behind a screen! We couldn’t see him at all. We were only allowed to quickly go behind the screen and take a brief look and then run back to our easels and sketch. We were allowed to go back and forth as many times as we wanted however we couldn’t take our sketch pads with us.

Aim of this exercise was to improve our observational skills and our memory. A good understanding of the human body structure was very helpful as by picking up some information then you could build up and complete your drawing. Most of the students struggled (including myself). I managed to make the following drawing which did not please me at all. I acknowledge that this was a very useful exercise; very frustrating though!


Following this first challenge our tutor had prepared another task for us (and the model…). The students were sat in a circle leaving a small “corridor” empty in the middle of the class. The model had to walk slowly up and down the class making a small stop in the middle taking a pose for a few seconds. We had to capture the movement in our drawings. Purpose of this exercise was to create quick lines with flow instead of completed sketches.

A second wave of frustration hit me as I managed to quickly draw different poses along the way however I completely missed the element of movement. Again I understand the value and use of this exercise but I think it needs loads of practice to actually capture the flow and the movement!


Finally, the tutor set up a long pose which lasted for about an hour. The model, who was a tall muscular middle aged man, was holding a spear with both hands. This led his muscles to stretch and his torso to take a very sculptural form. The pose was not particularly easy as from my position the neck was hidden – i couldn’t understand how the head sits on the shoulders. I had to scrap my first drawing before I actually managed to form the correct figure.




The Artist says:

“Since I joined the life drawing classes, I have really developed a completely different way of looking at the objects around me. I try to spot the details and I try to understand how different elements of an object affect the proportions, the shape and the tone. Studying the human body is quite challenging but really rewarding!




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



Love Sketching & Painting




TESS – 3


Today was Tessa’s last week (she might be back though later this year – see previous sessions with Tess here TESS and here TESS – 2). I admit I went to class quite late and thus i almost missed the first short pose. I manage to work for about 2minutes on that (third picture below). Although I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to do a proper drawing I challenged myself and joined the others as quickly as possible. I am quite happy with the result.

After this rush, there were 2 more short poses about 5 minutes each (first and second picture below). Here I had slightly more time to work the shape and add some indicative tones. This was a good warm up for the following long pose.

As usual the long pose was carefully set up by the tutor so people could continue their sketches from previous weeks. As I have done previously, I changed my position completely so I can practice sketching from a different angle. Today I got a seat looking at the models back which despite having less detail to sketch, it was really interesting. I learned about the different planes that a person’s back forms and how the light is being affected by these planes (last two photos below and cover photo).

I am quite happy with my sketches this time. I see there is loads to improve, however it was the first time my tutor complimented my work! She commented on the back’s planes and the light reflection on those but generally she was happy with my development. Really looking forward to next life drawing session next week!

…it was the first time my tutor complimented my work!






28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_oThe Artist says:

“Since I joined the life drawing classes, I have really developed a completely different way of looking at the objects around me. I try to spot the details and I try to understand how different elements of an object affect the proportions, the shape and the tone. Studying the human body is quite challenging but really rewarding!




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



Love Sketching & Painting