A first nude model sketch

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I’ve never been much of an artist, so trying nude still-life drawing was definitely a big leap for me.

I was definitely very nervous going into it. Not so much because of the nudity; I have, after all, taken health class so I understand what the human body looks like.

Mostly I was nervous because I don’t have a lot of faith in my drawing abilities. You’d think for someone who once leapt off a 300-foot cliff – I had a harness on, I wasn’t just free jumping, I promise – my lack of art skills wouldn’t bother me that much.

Illustration by MARISSA LANOFF

[/media-credit] Illustration by MARISSA LANOFF

But in this case, it definitely did. I mean, not only am I going to be surrounded by people who draw at least somewhat regularly, but I was drawing someone, which is much more nerve-wracking than drawing a bowl of fruit.

I discovered my real weakness isn’t drawing, it’s drawing hands and feet. Also, every time I tried to draw the model’s head, it ended up being way too small.

And somehow I ended up giving the fairly slender model the shoulders of a linebacker in almost every drawing.

But I’m also really impressed with myself. The pictures actually look like a real human with somewhat realistic body proportions, and my shading is on point.

The whole experience was very gratifying; sitting in a darkened room, watching a person take shape on the paper in front of me is not an experience I get very often.

As for the nudity, it wasn’t that big of a deal. The model was very cool with it and I was so busy trying, and largely failing, to get her proportions right, I didn’t even notice her nudity.

I am the next Degas? No. But are my drawings proudly taped to my bedroom wall?  

You’d better believe it.