Life drawing

May 18, 2020

Life drawing is a great way to draw the human body in any of its various shapes and positions using any media. There are different degrees of representation that may range from highly detailed, anatomically correct to loose and expressive sketches.

Equipment you’ll need

Jane suggests that a starting point for beginning your exploration / experiment into Life Drawing is simply a pencil and a sheet of paper.

Now it is easier, and more fun, if you can actually start with a good quality pad of paper (you’ll want to do more than one drawing) and a set of quality sketching pencils.

a3 pad and sketching pencils

Your subject

Depending on your level of skill and the subjects you intend to draw a mannequin can also be a great help.

This mannequin is a good tool to use with life drawing.

A mannequin (also called a lay figure) is an articulated doll used by artists.

The life drawing examples shown on this page were drawn by Jane at home or at a night class.



Coloured pencils too

You can also use a coloured pencil if you prefer. These two pictures are in a coloured pencil on A2 cartridge paper and are of the same model.



coloured pencil sketch 1
coloured pencil sketch 2

Odd bit of life modelling

This next one is of a ex dancer who had injured his leg and couldn’t dance anymore and does the odd bit of life modelling. This was drawn using graphite pencils in different grades on A2 cartridge paper.



injured dancer who does some life modelling

The mirror, a challenge

In this one we had to include what we saw in the mirror, this was a challenge.

Here again I have used graphite pencils in different grades on A2 cartridge paper.


mirror image sketch

Night classes

This one is from one of my night classes. I’ve used an A3 sketch pad and a selection of graphite pencils.

night classes drawing

Black and white

As in the first example I gave – it’s nice to use different coloured backgrounds and mediums like pastels and coloured pencils or even ink.

Here I have used black paper and a white pencil.

black paper with white pencil

A4 Sketch Book

Some A4 sketch book work in graphite pencil.


Body parts


I’ve used pastel paper in these next examples, working in colour focusing on body parts.

This one I used graphite pencil and a white pastel for light.


foot on pastel paper


With this sketch of my hand I have used pastel paper and coloured pencils and a white pastel for highlights.



hand on pastel paper with coloured pencils

Woman and man

I used coloured pencils on pastel paper for these.



Woman in coloured pencils on pastel paper
man in coloured pencils on pastel paper

Arm & hands

These next examples are on cartridge and coloured pencil.



Hands relaxing for the evening
muscular arm on cartridge paper with coloured pencils

Hands – in pen and ink

For this one I have used pen and ink and some handmade paper.



Hands in pen and ink on handmade paper

Never short of a model

The life drawings above are just a few examples from drawing in class, in the studio from my hand and foot, from books you can buy to use at home.

This book is a really good book to have.

There are a whole lot of different publications available and classes to join.



The nude figure - a visual reference for the artist M.E.Smith

Gadsby’s sell all of the art & craft materials and supplies necessary for creating pieces of art like those created by Jane.

You have to supply the artistic talent and dedication to make the pieces you love. It is hard work, but it is amazing fun too.

Jane is a member of the Gadsby’s team. She has a wide knowledge of the arts & crafts products and materials sold by Gadsby’s both from the perspective of an advisor in the shop and, for many of the products, from personal use too.

Please note that this is not a service that Gadsbys offer to clients – just an example of the private work done by one of the highly skilled and knowledgable Gadsby’s team shown for your interest.


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