I suppose to some people, it seems a strange hobby, and I certainly get a few giggles when I admit I’ve stood on the other side of the canvas, but I’ve been going along to life drawing classes for years now. So maybe it’s time to figure out why? I think my first life class was at the London Cartoon Centre way back in the late 80’s. I was convinced I was going to break into comics, but I never did. I think basically I could never get the enthusiasm to draw anything other than people. I still can’t get too excited about drawing machinary, except possibly tractors. Tractors for some reason are one of the few machines I like drawing, so if I ever get a script about a superhero who drives a tractor, I’ll be ok.
So at first it was just a means to an end really. I needed to be able to draw people, so took the class. I carried on in Heaton, in Newcastle at an adult ed class, but then, more or less on a whim, took a job in Japan and ended up staying there for 7 years. There wasn’t much in the way of life drawing in Nagasaki, although I did find one class in an art shop. They were somewhat surprised by the arrival of a shaven headed gaijin, but I think my drawing skills won them over. Again, I had high hopes of breaking into comics over there, and even got as far as having an editor from one of the big manga comanies phoning me up about stuff. But again, I never really got that idea that would actually sell. The Japanese weren’t ready for my tractor driving superhero either.
Moving back to Cumbria with my two girls, I put off the drawing for a bit. There’s very little work in comics nowadays, so I just didn’t have the motivation. But one day I found out there was a course on in Wigton and decided to take up my pencils again and now I suppose I just do it because I like life drawing as an end in itself, instead of trying to get into comics.