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Life Drawing Workshop


Art teachers Sharen Wolfe and Max Darby designed the following life drawing ideas for a studio-based workshop at Mentone Girls’ Secondary College for Art Education Victoria (AEV) in 2003. The two presenters worked in tandem undertaking responsibility for introducing new activities and responding to issues and outcomes that arose.

The studio space was set up as a giant Still Life arrangement with an enormous range of three-dimensional objects composed as if for an observational drawing exercise. It would have covered about 5 square meters. Arranged and folded sheets were added to the backdrop to provide a continuity between the many objects and 2 professional models interacted with the arranged background and each other.

A wide range of materials were provided for participants to work with and a series of drawing exercises were systematically  introduced, including –

      *  Drawings using varying time frames from 15 seconds to 15 minutes (and a range of times in between)

      *  Drawings using different materials and support media

      *  Drawings that focused on the still life arrangement but included reference points to the models who became background features

      *  Drawings that focused primarily on the models but included reference points to the still life arrangement

      *  Drawings that explored different drawing styles.

One series of experimental drawings required participants to make drawings when the models were moving. These drawing were undertaken in an on-going manner as the models repeated their movements a number of times. Obviously the participants needed to draw quickly and lightly. One of the movements used  required the models to pretend they were hanging washing on a clothes line and needed to return to the wash basket and then walk to the line to peg clothing onto it. There were about 5 footsteps between the start and end of this sequence. This action was repeated about 10 times, the drawings progressed from simple placement sketches to completed action drawings. Participants approached their drawings from 2 different directions. Some made a series of  about 5 drawings that reflected the major position changes of the models. Others made one drawing with the position changes placed over each other. Both approaches resulted in some interesting outcomes.

The results of the workshop were outstanding and participants expressed their appreciation for the opportunity they had to work in different ways with new challenges.

The ideas have been successfully used with school students since then and with adults.

Max


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4 Responses to “Life Drawing Workshop”

  1. Lachlan says:

    Great ideas there. Great effort by both of you. Lachie

  2. max says:

    Thanks Brendan. Great days those AIAE days. And, yes I moved away and now live in Fiji. Cheers Max

  3. Great ideas but it looks like all your own work Max. I did some of your life drawing workshops during the AIAE days and I think in Perth or Darwin. I remember one with torn paper combined with drawings. I hear you left Australia to live overseas. What happened? Any truth in it? Hi from Brendan.

    Yes, I’m living overseas. No big deal I just needed to get away from Victoria. It was in Perth I did the drawing workshop and maybe in Hobart too. I hear Eddie Broomhall has been quite ill. Cheers Max

  4. Max says:

    I have now used the idea of two models for Life Drawing classes without the Still Life interactions. Two-figure interactions provide quite different drawing challenges to those provided by one-figure poses. Max




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