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The Benefits of Drawing from Life

Drawing from life is an essential skill for artists of all levels, but it is often overlooked by adults who are just starting with art. However, there are numerous benefits to drawing from life that can help you improve your skills and create more realistic and engaging artwork. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the benefits of drawing from life as an adult.


Drawing from life helps you develop your observational skills. When you draw from life, you are forced to look closely at your subject and pay attention to its details. You will start to notice things that you might have missed before, such as the way light falls on your subject or the subtle variations in color. Our Urban Illustration Workshop is a great way to explore the energy of the city and find a new perspective. This increased awareness will help you create more accurate and detailed sketches.




Drawing from life teaches you to see in three dimensions. When you draw from a photograph or your imagination, you are working with a two-dimensional image. However, when you draw from life, you are creating a representation of a three-dimensional object or scene. This requires you to understand how light and shadow work to create depth and form. By practicing drawing from life, you will develop a better understanding of how to create the illusion of three-dimensional space in your artwork.


hands drawing with a pen and a ruler on a sketchpad


Drawing from life can also help an artist develop hand-eye coordination. When you draw from life, you need to keep your eyes on your subject while you draw. This requires you to coordinate your hand movements with your visual perception. Over time, this practice will help you become more skilled at controlling your hand movements and making marks that accurately represent what you are seeing.


Drawing from life can also be a meditative and relaxing practice. When you draw from life, you are fully present in the moment, focused on your subject and the act of drawing. This can be a refreshing break from the distractions of daily life and can help you reduce stress and anxiety.


Finally, drawing from life can be a fun and rewarding experience. Seeing your skills improve over time and creating beautiful artwork can be a source of satisfaction and pride. Additionally, drawing from life can be a social activity, allowing you to connect with other artists and share your work. For people in the Los Angeles area, taking classes at Element Art Center is a great way to find your artist community.


pencil drawing of a model displayed on a drawing board with an additional drawing and student in the background
Student work from a life drawing portrait class

Drawing from life is an important practice for artists of all levels, and there are numerous benefits to incorporating it into your art practice as an adult. By developing your observational skills, understanding three-dimensional space, improving hand-eye coordination, finding a meditative practice, and experiencing the joy of creating, you can become a more skilled and fulfilled artist.

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