Theydon Bois Life Class


1 minute pose

Haven’t been to life class for ages so thought it was time for a visit. My local one takes place monthly in Theydon Bois scout hut just down the road from where I live. Its run by a loverly (and talented painter of the figure) lady artist Teresa Witz.

It was a productive session. I’m beginning to notice how drawing nearly every day keeps your eye in. I warmed up really quickly and was able to get into some real detail by the hour long pose.

I went armed with thin and thick charcoal sticks and an A2 pad

life class- 5 min pose

5 minute pose

In some of these drawings like the one above I am trying out one of the methods mentioned in Experimental Drawing by Robert Kaupelis. Where you try to capture the essence of the pose with as fewer lines as possible. I drew the thick lines in one continuos swoop. Changing the angle of the charcoal to change the width. I added some more lines after to help describe the pose. The first swoop gave a good foundation to build on.

life drawing, 10 Minute pose

10 Minute pose

10 Minute pose

10 Minute pose

life drawing, 20 Minute pose

20 Minute pose

Above: here I used positive and negative to depict form. I used some line too.

20 Minute pose life drawing

20 Minute pose

1 hour pose

1 hour pose

For the hour pose I coloured my paper grey. I’d seen someone else do it in the group to good effect. This provided a mid vale to work with. Now I could add high lights as well as shadow which I didi this with a rubber. Pleased with how these turned out. Will defiantly use this method again.

Looking back at the above image which is deliberately stylised. I exaggerated the curbs and lumps showing the underling muscle and bone in places. I can see he hip on the left is far to high and in the models stomach. I think I just about get away with it here because of the exaggeration of the other proportions. However, It was a good reminder to get all the elements in place before getting carried away with the detail as I did drawing this one.

1 hour pose

1 hour pose

Had about 10 minutes left to practice getting the basic shapes in. Marking in rib area and pelvis. Next class I will draw in the spin curvature also.

Charcoals nice and forgiving to work with for quickish life studies. As you can see from the foot here. You can just over draw it in till its right. A quick smudge with the finger and lines are made to disappear.


About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter


  1. Some great studies, i love the way you used the charcoal. i had not thought covering the paper with grey charcoal first i will have to experiment with that, it gave a good result for you. Keep up the good work 🙂

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