figure models

Model Marathon

While the rest of the world was eating nachos and drinking beer at their Superbowl Parties yesterday I was enjoying the practically deserted freeway which took me to San Francisco for another Urban Sketcher meet-up at Fort Mason, the Bay Area Model Guild Drawing Marathon. I guess a lot of sketchers aren’t Superbowl fans because it was packed with artists and models on stages for poses from 1minute to 10 minute to long poses.

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I brought my acrylic inks and dip pens and dove into the short 1-3min poses in the morning. By afternoon I was ready for the longer 20 min poses, but found that I didn’t do as well with those. Go figure! (Pun there)

The last picture in the slideshow is of my friend Mark Simmons, an illustrator who can draw circles around just about anyone, figuratively speaking. He showed up with a long roll of paper about a yard wide. (I took this pic about 1.5 hours into the morning session!) By the end of the morning alone, as he unrolled the paper, he had filled it with twice as many figures, some in color, that seemed to dance across the paper.

Surprisingly almost all of the models were male, or at least not straight female. But in San Francisco especially one knows to be a bit more fluid in identifying gender or non-conforming gender. The lovely person you see in these sketches is a transexual model Alida, over 6 feet, powerful and exquisitely feminine at the same time, capable of holding strenuous poses and seeming to prefer them.

It’s been a whole week of figure sketching for me – at The Living Room day shelter for women and children, at the Portrait Party at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, and at the Marathon.  Stay tuned for the Portrait party next!


Sunday afternoon at the figure drawing marathon



A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon – brush pen in hand and a steady flow of excellent poses with attitude.  The Bay Area Model’s Guild always serves up a feast of figure poses in the marathon day for artists at Merritt Collage in Oakland.  I settled down to do the 5 and 10 minute poses, arriving late in the day with no time to warm up.  I brought my Tombow brush pen, which I’ve been enjoying lately for its bold line and water soluble mark which is good for running a wet brush over and establishing 60 second shadow forms.



The partially clothed model is so much more interesting to me.  The clothing helps to tell a story.


This model (same one – she took off her orange wig!) really knows how to vamp it up!


And the combination of the boots with the cute little 1950’s stewardess style hat really worked. (different model)


Switch to all angles for the masculine  effect.


The posture here tells the story with such utter simplicity.


I pulled out my watercolor palette for this one.  Painted some color shapes to start, then inked in the drawing and put another layer of watercolor on.


A wonderful pose with two girls back to back.  Not enough time to get much detail in.




Maybe I can get a job doing fashion design sketches?!

Model Attitude


pen and w/c graphite on BFK Rives paper

It’s all in the attitude.  And this model has it in such abundance that even the most beginner sketcher got a decent drawing from her 5 and 10 minute poses.


She held up a plastic flower and the pose was so beguiling that she sprouted two noses and a left hand where the right should be, but who’s counting?!


The models at this Bay Area Models Guild Marathon share the stage with two other models.  From where I was situated I could spin my chair and see two other stages with models on them.  So by the time I noticed this dynamic pose, I had two minutes left before it changed – just enough time!


And here the same model in a 20 minute pose, time enough to get out my watercolors and gouache  and put some color in.  What a fabulous hat, even if it does look a bit like an overripe banana on a platter.

Bob had helped me convert a photo tripod into an adjustable easel which worked so well!  I’ll take a picture and post it here in case you want one for yourself.  It involved a quick trip to the hardware store and a bit of drilling and sawing.  Quick and easy for me anyway, since I didn’t have to do it!