#LifeDrawingLive (the anatomy class) with the Royal Academy of Arts

Earlier this week I finally had the time to catch up on the RAA’s most recent Life Drawing Live class.  It’s the first time I’ve ever tried one of their live classes and I will definitely do it again, as well as going back through the archives and tuning in to some of their older ones…

Life drawing is such a vital practice for any illustrator and over the years I’ve noticed how much of a positive impact it has on my skill level as well as my creativity.  At University, I kept up with regular life drawing classes and even when I went into full-time employment I used to travel to Oxford for weekend classes but since I’ve started freelancing, my life drawing has stopped.  I think it’s partly down to the lack of life drawing classes in my local area but also because I’m often away at weekends for events meaning I can’t attend the ones in Oxford anymore.  So it was a real treat when I stumbled across #LifeDrawingLive and was able to attend a class from my studio!  Amazing!  It was an hour and a half long and looked at different ways of drawing, from focusing on quick poses to muscle/joint sketches right through to equine anatomy and drawing a Welsh Mountain Pony called Romeo…

Here are some of my favourites… Sorry for the picture quality, I’m afraid I did these on nice big bits of A3 paper but unfortunately it meant they wouldn’t fit in my scanner…

Pony Illustration Sketch Laura Hope
Life Drawing Sketch Laura Hope
Life Drawing Sketch Laura Hope
Life Drawing Sketch Laura Hope
Life Drawing Sketch Laura Hope

Hello... How do I start an Illustration Blog?

So, I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while… I’m sure a lot of people start their blogs this way, so sorry it’s not very original but it’s true.  I’m usually quite good at ‘just getting on with things’ but in the case of this blog it’s been a different story…

I’m a huge fan of all the ‘self help/positive mindset/go get ‘em, girl’ stuff that’s circulating around the internet at the moment and I’ve always been the first to say ‘What have you got to lose?’ but something about writing a blog just seemed utterly terrifying. Now, I’m sure that sounds ridiculous coming from someone who quit their full-time job a year ago to become ‘an illustrator’, but I guess it’s because I ‘know’ illustration.  I studied it at University for 3 years and I’ve always been told I was ‘good at drawing’ but blogging, I don’t know the first thing about blogging!  I’m not one of those Instagram influencer types who can take wonderfully edgy photos and the last time I wrote anything longer than a text message was my dissertation, and no one want’s to read that on a blog!  Also, what do you even write about on an Illustration Blog??

Being the novice blogger that I am, I did what I always do in sticky situations, I googled.  I googled what to write, and nothing came up… So I googled other bloggers and illustrators that I knew of, desperately searching for something that would inspire me to create an earth-shattering blog…  But then I realised, what I liked about other bloggers was just seeing a glimpse of daily their life or just being able to connect with them in some small way over their frustrations and insecurites.  What if my blog wasn’t earth-shattering?  What if it was just… me?

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a big fan of social media and I don’t enjoy ‘putting myself out there’, however everything I read, watch and listen to tells me that it is my interest to expose myself.  Oh but how little I want to expose myself!  As a creative, I just want to shut myself in a box, create something and then leave it on a park bench anonymously somewhere for someone to find.  Sadly, being like that gets you nowhere.  We live in a world that is so connected yet so disconnected.  Social media breeds ‘fake’, people are constantly putting out these sort of Stepford Wives versions of themselves and not showing any of the reality or the mess.  I’m forever guilty of it, I stress so much about my Instagram posts and getting the perfect shot and only putting out a totally polished, finished illustration.  I think part of the pressure comes with the fact that Instagram boxes your creativity into a small square, a caption and some hashtags.  Oh, and is it just me or do GIFs always end up looking blurry and awful on there? 

It’s funny, I’ve been worrying so much about what to write about that I’ve neglected to realise what I great possibility a blog is.  It’s something that can be whatever I want it to be.  It’s something that doesn’t have to follow trends or look polished.  It’s somewhere where I can share progress shot of my work or rough sketches and ideas.  It’s somewhere where I can be totally creative without worrying about what time of day is best to post or which photo will look best on my feed.  And it’s somewhere where those few people who want to see a little bit further into my life as an illustrator can find me.

Laura x