Challenging the public perception of life drawing

The preconception of life drawing as overly sexualised and a little bit weird couldn’t be further from the truth. Maya recounts her experience of trying life drawing for the first time…

Up until recently, if you had asked me what my opinion on life drawing was, it wouldn’t have been particularly encouraging. I, like most of my friends, thought of it as quite an uncomfortable and funny situation to find myself in. However, being a fresher at university and wanting to take all the opportunities that I see around me, I approached the ArtSoc stall at the refresher’s fair and was persuaded to at least give it a go. I thought to myself, if I’m ever going to go to something like this I may as well try it out now.

The following Thursday I was feeling bold and had found a few friends who were bold enough to try it out too. We were definitely nervous. We had no idea what to expect.

The first thing that I was surprised about was walking into to seeing a young woman in a robe. For some crazy reason, once we started thinking about how old the model would be, we completely forgot that there was a high chance that the model could be female. This was our first preconception that was challenged.

Next was the experience itself. We all took pieces of paper, the materials we wanted and tried to find a good spot. In the midst of trying to take off my coat whilst trying to prevent the charcoal in my hand from getting on any of my belongings, I managed to miss the robe of the male model drop. I looked up and BOOM there it was, dangling in the silence. Surprisingly though I didn’t laugh. No-one did. I looked around the room and noticed how everyone else was viewing the man as art; focusing on how the light created shadows, the muscular definition and so on.

However, I have to be honest. There was one thing that did make me giggle and that was the poses the model chose to stand in. Every now and then the model would switch poses, but not into the ‘classic’ poses you’d expect. The funniest thing was when he tried to hold a pose which can only be described as ‘creative’. He whipped out a stick and tried balancing himself on one leg whilst holding the stick for support. In that moment I suddenly realised how peculiar the whole situation was. What if someone walked in right now? It would look pretty hilarious.

Anyway, the message I wanted to share with you all is not to believe everything people tell you. Life drawing is actually one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever experienced. For a solid hour and a half your mind is blank, empty of thoughts, focused and most importantly calm. If you’re interested to try out life drawing, check out the Art Society’s page on the LUU website.

Maya Sterrie

(Image courtesy of

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