Drawing From Experience
I've had a few very long breaks from drawing for various reasons (and by long I mean breaks of four or more years in length).The first drawer's block was broken by a trip to Las Vegaas. Then the next dry spell ended when I met a muse (specially ex-girlfriend Kasia; whom I referred to at the time as 'the light of my life, fire of my loins' and who is now known as 'that cheating bitch from Łódź'). For me, nothing is quite as relaxing as drawing and nothing is quite as rewarding as producing a good likeness of someone. To get good a drawing (unless you're one of those annoying naturally-talented artists takes practice). You can imagine how much damage a four year break does to your pencil skills.
Recently (when I was back in the UK), I spotted an interesting life session which got me drawing again. Arranged by "Draw Brighton" these sessions were "themed". So, not only naked (or partially-clothed) females, but props as well. The first event I went to was on Halloween and our model was dressed in cobweb stockings and set against a graveyard backdrop. Subsequently sessions were equally interesting. The second was "Circus Noir", thinking Lisa Minelli in 'Cabaret' and you get the idea. The most recent session I attended was named "Lichtenstein" after the famous pop-art artist. The model emerged from the dressing room in wearing only a blue wig and a silky robe. Unlike the models from the previous sessions she was completely naked. I didn't have time to stop and stare, there was drawing to be done. The sessions started with a serious of quick (three-minute) poses. As the evening progressed the poses lasted for longer, so that you could focus more on the details rather than just the basic form and proportions.
So, what did I learn from these sessions in Brighton? The main point is that I need to practice. A lot. Many years ago I used to get a lot of practice. For example, spending a few hours drawing some fabric or a leather jacket. Once I even spent the best part of a day drawing a house opposite me; the object of the exercise was to drawing straight lines without using a ruler. Anyway, you get the idea. Another dilemma when drawing a naked woman, if where the hell do you start. From the head, toes or some other part (which I'm too shy to mention) in-between?
I also learned that although my drawing was nowhere as good as it once was, it wasn't dreadful by a long stretch. I vowed that when I returned to Kraków in the new year I would carry on drawing. If I couldn't find a nice session to go to, then I'd start one. Luckily I happened upon an event at one of the local bars. The words "Rysowana Niedziela" attracted my attention (it translates as "Drawn Sunday"). The concept was simple enough; the manageress of the bar invites you to come draw with her along with whoever else wants to turn up.
My first session went fairly well. In total there were five of us artists in the front bar (along with a couple of guys playing chess). After attempting to draw the drum kit in the corner I chose to draw the rather attractive girl sitting in a wicker rocking chair opposite me. She was drawing me in a scene that reminded me of when I had to draw the girl next to me as a punishment for talking in art class. When I'd finished drawing I presented my model the drawing I'd done. She was flattered as I'd drawn her with slightly larger breasts than in real life. The drawing she did of me was a good likeness, but evoked an entirely different response from me, along the lines of "Oh my god I look tired. I need a holiday."
I'm looking forward to the next session and I might even get some practice in before then.