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Life drawing builds creative confidence


I understand the context of equal opportunities that Janice Windle refers to in her letter protesting against the article 'Drawing inspiration' (NCE 18 April). However, I feel that the article did not explain the way a life class is organised, thus leading to Windle's understandable, but misdirected reaction.

The point of a life class is to draw from life - from a model.

Unlike bowls of fruit, real life models can move.

In a good life class, the model takes up a new pose every 10 minutes or so. Thus students have a limited amount of time to get down as much information on to paper as possible before the opportunity is lost forever. Under this pressure, students quickly acquire the confidence to observe, consider and make strong, decisive marks on the paper speedily and with confidence.

The model may have been female when the photographer shot the picture used on NCE 's cover. In the next class, the model could be a 60 year old, overweight man, a grandmother, or a middle aged bloke with a beer belly.

The point is, when you are drawing in the class, the gender and age of the model really does not matter. It is the doing of the drawing, visualisation of the physical structure, reacting quickly with eyes and charcoal, and the strong, decisive mark making that really count.

The life class that I used to attend included two architects and an engineer - there because they understood the importance of being able to make a creative mark on paper with confidence as well as competence.

Drawing well is an essential design skill, which should be encouraged in all people who consider themselves creative.

Helen Elias, associate, press and public relations, Buro Happold, helen. elias@burohappold. com

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