A first timer’s guide to… Life drawing
They call it life drawing because ‘staring at people in the buff for two hours drawing’ is a bit clunky. And there’s no sneaking a peek here. It’s full on staring only. At people. In the buff. And drawing, of course; don’t forget the drawing.
I wander into a gorgeous bright room with high ceilings at the Westminster Quaker House near Leicester Square and I’m asked to hand over £14 and help myself to art supplies on the table.
Not wanting to look like an amateur, I nonchalantly take a few sheets of A3 and pick out a piece of grey charcoal. I find a seat and only a few minutes after walking in, I’m cheek by jowl with their cheeks and jowls.
There were 60 in the class altogether, standing and sitting around two people in the altogether. It’s amazing how soon this all feels normal when you’re with people for whom this is normal.
There’s no teacher in this class, just a facilitator who takes the cash and every now and again asks the models to change position. He calls out all matter-of-fact, ‘right models, new position please, five minutes’ and the models, all matter-of-fact would lie or kneel or crouch or splay themselves into another weird and wonderful position.
Are these models struggling artists in need of dosh or struggling exhibitionists in need of an audience? There’s a break for tea and biscuits after an hour and I start to chat with the others.
I learn you can find a life drawing class every night of the week somewhere in London, that models get around £15 an hour and that chocolate bourbons are the nude model biscuit of choice.
A glance around at other people’s drawings and I realise there are some actual artists here tonight. Sadly, I’m not one of them, in fact, I’m the world’s least talented artist – and yet I loved this class. It was two hours of silence in a lovely room where there’s nothing to do but lose yourself creating something.
HOW TO SIGN UP
The details: Life drawing
Level: Suitable for all
Cost: £14 (six sessions £70)
Time: two hours
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here are two of Jamie’s sketches. Those of a nervous disposition (and art lovers) look away now!
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