The beautiful people

Believe it or not, beautiful people make terrible models.

I just got back from my last life drawing session (next week I move to a new job in a new building in a different part of town, so I’ll no longer be able to participate). The model was gorgeous. A perfect set of classical curves (of course, I’m talking here about things like cheekbones, jawline, eyebrows, etc. You and your filthy minds…), raven haired; alabaster complexion; plump, pink lips; clear, blue eyes. I thought “Ooh, I’m going to enjoy this one”.

One hour later I threw my pencil down in disgust. Drawing pretty people is no fun.

It started well – the first line was perfect, capturing the curve from brow to chin. It all went downhill from there. The proportions came out all wrong, some features were too large, others too small, I erased and re-drew the mouth three times, to no avail. Perfection is unforgiving – the slightest variation, distortion or flaw will stick out like a sore thumb. Still, at least I got to stare at her for an hour without getting slapped, or arrested.

You want to know who’s fun to draw? Old people. Someone fairly normal-looking, with wrinkles, some blemishes, a bit weather-beaten, straggly, although preferably no facial hair, please. There’s something to get your teeth into – some details to work on. But try capturing smooth, curved beauty and any and all of your shortcomings as an artist become painfully apparent.