A Figure Drawing by Raphael

Study for the Phrygian Sibyl, Raphael, 1511-12
Study for the Phrygian Sibyl, Raphael, 1511-12

I used to participate in figure drawing sessions. I really miss it. There’s something about looking at a real, breathing person and transferring that sight onto paper. There’s pressure because the model cannot hold the pose forever. And yet it is calming to lose yourself in the intricate relationships between lines and negative space, shadow and highlights. No one expects you to talk. You only look at the model, and it’s a different sort of look. The model becomes abstract and impersonal, and somehow your drawing becomes real and vital. You stick your arm out and measure with your pencil the distance between the upper arm and the forehead–it’s half the distance between the same arm and the right shoulder. You analyze, you transfer the information, you draw like the world depends on it.

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