Tag Archives: life drawing cumbria

Another new class near Penrith.

The class that used to be in Vine and Roses has found a new home in the Invisible Orchard in Morland, which looks like a pretty kewl place all round I might see some of you there.

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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Uncategorized


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More Samsung Galaxy drawings.

Sketch1921326SC20130219-110356 SC20130219-111045 SC20130219-111637 SC20130219-111815 SC20130219-112249 SC20130219-112330 SC20130219-113223 SC20130219-113555 SC20130219-121241 SC20130219-121902 SC20130219-122530 SC20130219-122836SC20130219-123911I got an automatic upgrade on my Sketchbook pro app for the tablet, so decided to give it a whirl at the Papcastle class today. It’s a wee bit over an hour’s sketching and I thought I’d take a few screenshots to show how I did it. Not that it turned out particularly brilliant in the end, but there’s precious little around on how to draw with a tablet, so maybe it’ll be of use to someone. 🙂

I began with a scribble, going by eye. One problem I find is that the screen is just too small to measure out properly, so she ended up with a bit of a giant foot. What does work, though, is the zoom, which is great for fiddly little details like toes. So once I got the basic shapes in, I could zoom in and out to get the details. That’s a double edged sword if you’re as picky as me – I get a bit bogged down in them!

After that I mucked about with the opacity settings to give a quick ‘wash’ with some grey shadows. I followed that with some flesh tone washes, building the skin tones up.

It’s a useful exercise and a fun way to draw. I didn’t get her right, but there are bits I do like about the drawing. I think ideally I’d like to draw with pencil, scan it in and then use the tablet to fix it and colour it. I’ve started doing this with some of my comic artwork for my other blogs, and it works well.

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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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End of year coming up…

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It’s December and I suddenly realised I hadn’t done any new posts for months. I’ve been too busy teaching to do a lot of either modeling or drawing 😦 I did the above drawing of Anne at the grammar school in Penrith, where I’m teaching a class of sixth formers. They’re all very good, which makes me look good. The picture was just a five or ten minute pencil drawing, that I inked over and then coloured in photoshop. I’ll have to go back and do them toenails, mind. Get the toenails in and you’ve won half the battle with feet, I think. And it’s especially easy with painted toenails.

It’s not a brilliant likeness, but okay for a quick sketch, and I got the coloured hair in!

Next year I’m hopefully continuing the class in Workingtonm which has had to finish early as we didn’t get enough students this term. I’ll also do a Saturday workshop, probably around the 17th. So now there are just two classes to teach and a couple to sit for before the end of term.

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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in life drawing


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Ghostbird, a survivor’s tale.

I originally intended this blog to be a resource for artists and models from all over Cumbria, so I’m pleased to have a guest post from Anne Lees, a very popular life model from down in the South of the county. This is her impressions of the Ghostbird installation.

It is Saturday, 12.30pm and I am lying down naked and vulnerable, on a bed of mud, peat and heather . Midges and insects have become my companions. I feel isolated and abandoned to an uncertain future. But a small part of me knows better and I raise myself slightly to look on the opposite side of the bog ravine, where I can see the shivering body of my new found friend Steve, tucked in his own grouse hunting butt.

25 models are taking part over one week-end in a very exciting visual art performance in the Trough of Bowland and I feel privileged to have been selected. In the course of Day One, we all work hard, guided by a team of site managers, a choreographer and Louise Ann Wilson, whose project it is. The foetus position doesn’t allow me to move nor feel anything surrounding me. The wind is blowing and the temperature struggles at 11 Celsius.

For the 40 minutes shift that I lie here, I completely understand Life and Death, how fragile a species can be. I perceive footsteps through the heather; visitors coming to the performance seem to hover, silent and pensive then disappear quickly, touched by the tableau we offer them. Men in white suits stand still, rigid, wax-like, pointing in our direction and their presence on the moors is a daunting reality that our society intimidates hunts and kills what used to live up here. I am amazed that, for once, I am not just a body to draw or paint, but I carry a message, I feel involved.

During break times, the models wrap up and are welcome to a precarious hidden base camp. The tents that shelter us have been named Molly, Polly and Bob, they keep us warm, fed and hydrated and provide an exhilarating home to chat. The atmosphere is great, we only met a few hours ago and we bond over life modeling stories, the thrills of this performance and a huge supply of “ Butt” jokes. We laugh at our sockless walking boots and our Marks fleece robes. Louise seems pleased. As Jack Kerouac would say, All is well.

Saturday, 4.30pm, we put our clothes back on, walk down the fells, climb on the coach and head back for a good night’s rest and reflection. Sunday is a different story! The wind has picked up some strength and the temperature doesn’t want to rise above 10 Celsius. As we set off on our hour walk to the tops, the rain starts. The outdoor art gallery that we are working in is becoming very unfriendly and unwelcoming. Bob is now housing all our bags, as we try to keep all essentials dry. Molly will shelter us all the best it can but it’s not very big. Polly remains the hub, the kitchen, where brews, cakes and soup find us smiling.

We strip bare, once again but there is uncertainty in the air…Up the ravine, over the wet blanket bog, we all take our position, cold, wet, the visibility is so poor we can hardly see each other. It’s going to be a long day… From 1pm, we all know it can’t be done, it’s not safe, Louise calls the shots and cancels. We fumble into our damp garments, our wet jackets and our soggy boots. With our ponchos on, we look a sad lot. We all feel defeated and it takes a couple of hours for the troops to get back to the car park. Spirits are low but pick up soon enough: the experience has been unbelievable. We took part in a remarkable event and Mother Nature, the one we were portraying as a fragile entity in our live art installation, Mother Nature has had the last word. Good on her!

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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in life drawing


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My new classes.

My life modelling is starting a bit earlier than I planned this term, as tomorrow’s model at Papcastle has had to pull out. So I’m taking her place. I suppose it’s always handy to have an artist who is prepared to be the model if all else fails!

I’m also starting teaching classes soon at Workington, so recycled the picture of the late and much missed Wilf for the poster. I used a different technique for this picture, working from the ideas in Force, a book on life drawing for animators. so it was a bit looser than my usual style. I also cheated outrageously and put in a sepia tint and white highlights in Photoshop afterwards.


Posted by on September 10, 2012 in life drawing


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Starting out in life modelling.

I’ve been mostly drawing ginger gorillas for my other blog with my comic on, so I’m looking forward to life drawing classes starting again.

I have been asked a couple of times how one starts in life modelling, so I thought I’d write a piece on that. I started simply by asking the group I drew for and I think quite a few models begin that way. If you’re not already in the life drawing world, it can be difficult to know where to start, however.

Nationally, RAM, the Registry of Artists Models help people get started by putting artists in touch with models and vice versa. There are other organisations trying to organise and even train life models, but RAM is the most established. A lot of colleges prefer RAM models, although it depends where you live. They have more of a presence in the big cities than in Cumbria.

If you just want to go it alone, start by Googling life drawing classes in your area. An artist group is probably the easier place to start rather than a college or adult ed class. They’ll be a little more relaxed.

If you’ve never been to a life drawing class, be aware of what’s expected. You’ll need a robe to dress in in between poses. I foolishly sat on mine the first time I modeled and then it couldn’t be moved, so I had to spend the breaks with no clothes on. Some models do, but it’s generally considered good manners to cover up between poses.

Turn up with plenty of time to get changed. People are paying for the class and want to get on with it. Sometimes it can’t be helped, but reliability is probably the most important trait people look for in a model.

Poses will be varied in time so have a repertoire of poses you can hold for five minutes, ten minutes or twenty. Usually the format is to have a number of short poses followed by a longer one. I prefer to have my own timer for these, which also lets the teacher or organiser concentrate on their drawing instead of the clock.

Try and remember to rotate the poses a bit so that artists around the room get different angles to draw. Nobody wants to be drawing the back of your head for three hours. Also, I find it helps to find a spot on the floor to stare at to keep my head still.

Finally, enjoy it. An enthusiastic model gives the class energy and it comes through in the artwork. A model who looks like they don’t want to be there saps the energy of the class.

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Posted by on September 1, 2012 in life drawing, Uncategorized


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C-Art and classes begining in September again.

This rather handsome fellow is called Sampson, and was painted by Alex Jakob-Whitworth. You can see more of her work in her studio as part of the upcoming C-Art event. A whole bunch of interesting and talented artists are letting people into their studios to see where the magic happens.
Alex’s work can be found here is well worth seeing in real life (just look out for the mini people whilst there!). Alex’s studio is open 12 noon til 5pm, weds thru to Sunday, first two weeks in September.

The Summer Holidays are drawing to a close, so that means life drawing classes will be starting again. There’s space for any aspiring artists at the Papcastle group near Cockermouth, which will be starting again on September 11th at 10 in the village hall. Braithwaite starts the same week, but I think they’re pretty full right now. And Vine and Roses just never seems to stop, if anyone is in Penrith and desperately keen to draw.

There will be taught classes from Adult Education at various venues. I’m doing a class at Workington, Alex has one in Penrith, Katy Little will be doing classes in Carlisle and Thirlie is doing classes in Wigton. They’re all much better teachers than I am, but I ruthlessly steal their ideas whenever I model for them.

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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in life drawing


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