Men are ruining figure drawing workshops in and around Los Angeles. For those who have never attended, a figure drawing workshop is usually uninstructed and is attended by artists looking to expand their knowledge of the human figure by drawing the nude. The prudish among you might find this offensive and obscene, and to those inclined that way, stop looking at my drawings. Why, you may wonder, must the model be nude? Can’t you artists draw a human being with their clothes on? Yes, of course, we do that all the time, and our drawings of clothes on the figure suck, unless we understand the structure supporting the clothing. To understand the structure that lies beneath all the fabric, we need to study the anatomy of a living human. Thankfully there are people who are willing to strip away the costume and present the human form in various positions, highlighting and focusing on different muscle groups and how they function. I can’t draw a baseball player throwing a ball unless I have studied the pectoralis major in action, and this brings me to my point. I can’t draw the pectoralis major, because men are ruining figure drawing workshops.
Men and women alike have two pectoralis major muscles. On the female form this muscle is obscured by the breasts. The larger the breasts, the more difficult it is to find the muscle beneath. If we can’t locate the muscle because of a predisposed inclination to store fat, we will have difficulty locating the bony landmarks by which we navigate. These landmarks help us understand the direction of the rib cage. If you get the rib cage wrong, you will never get the pelvis right and you can’t get the tilt of the pelvis, unless you can depict the rib cage with accuracy. An artist, when depicting the human form, will start with the rib cage, because it is the largest structure and determines the tilt of the pelvis, which we must understand in order to depict the legs. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Simply, you can’t draw a woman unless you can draw a man, but men don’t like drawing naked men for one reason: genitalia. A man’s nutso aversion to drawing other men leads administrators of figure drawing workshops to cater to these insecurities by dropping male models altogether. They succumb to this because men won’t patronize the workshop if there’s a man on the platform, and men make up the bulk of the patrons. It’s a sad fact, but women are in the minority, when it comes to figure drawing workshops. I suppose they are at home taking care of children and that’s a pretty good reason not to draw, or do other things that are really fun and exciting. Men might say something like “Women are works of art and that’s why I prefer drawing women.” Really? I might buy into that logic if the greatest work of art in our entire history was not a male nude.
In truth, men are too insecure to depict another man’s Johnson. Guys, you should be able to do this, seeing as you have one. You touch it everyday, more than once, I’m sure. But, in the impossible event that you have never touched or looked at your own penis, let’s have a refresher course in artist’s terms: your reproductive organ is a cylinder riding atop and simultaneously flanked by two ovoid spheres. Draw a cylinder and two spheres. Three simple shapes and you’re done. You don’t have to touch it, just draw it. No one is making an assumption about your sexuality when you depict another man’s genitals. Honestly, I’m just trying to get the rib cage right. If it weren’t for the five minute breaks between poses, I wouldn’t even know you were in the room.
To all you men who have ruined figure drawing workshops by refusing to patronize the studio on days when a man is scheduled, thus forcing the workshop administrator to switch to the “all-girl revue”, grow up and take your art seriously, or take your sketchbook to a strip club. That’s where you want to be, so why not go? Enjoy your rotten drawings and let the rest of us improve.
Note from the author: This post originally appeared in 2011, but I got bored with blogging and deleted it. I’m reposting it upon request. The drawings I’ve included may not be the same that appeared in the original post. And, yes, these are my drawings. With the exception of one drawing, all are on smooth newsprint, using a Caran D’Ache water soluble wax pastel. The other one is Sharpie on 80lb. drawing paper.