The importance of life drawing, or drawing from the human figure will not be disputed by fine artists throughout history, the world over. One of my own great teachers in the past, Glenn Vilppu, stressed the importance of basic concepts in drawing and their application. He said, “Never underestimate the power of life drawing.” He was so right. The most powerful way for your drawing skills to grow is by drawing from the human body. Everything is there to learn from – form, depth, shadows and light. Life drawing gives you understanding of how the human figure is constructed, and then you can create any pose from any angle from your imagination. Here is a great book for artists who want to know how to do life drawing with a good foundation of how to draw the figure: Vilppu Drawing Manual Vol. 1: Infuse Life into Your Drawings with Gesture. In fact, I recommend anything and everything by Glenn… including the online or CD courses.
Drawing the live human figure has been practiced for centuries to increase the skills of artists, including honing the ability to see correctly, the ability to create the illusion of form on a flat surface, the ability to understand human anatomy, as well as becoming more competent in using a variety of drawing implements – charcoals, pens and pencils. If you save all of your figure drawings, year after year, you’ll be able to compare earlier work with what you’re doing now, allowing you to see the progress you have made as an artist!
Many artists believe that drawing and painting the human figure is more challenging that any other subject. It’s also commonly understood that more you do figure drawings, the better you will become as an artist in general. You can check meetup.com or your local college or recreation center to find uninstructed figure drawing groups, or look for classes. You can never do too much figure drawing!