Last week we were delighted to attend a figure drawing class with a live model, hosted by the talented artist Susan Adams who is based here in Costa Rica, as well. It was a small and intimate gathering of creatives with different life drawing experience levels who came together for the relaxed two-hour class. Held in the evening with red and white wine flowing made for good vibes and lots of artistic inspiration. We had both taken life drawing classes in college, but were out of practice after not attending class for a few years. So this was a wonderful way to practice drawing and work on our fundamental skills of “seeing” as an artist.

For artists, when they draw something from life or a photo reference, before putting your pencil down on the paper you are seeing what you intend to draw in a deeper way than the average viewer. You are looking for shapes, shades, lines and highlights. You are gauging perceived depth and length and deciding how to portray that visually. And also you are looking for weight and movement, which is the hardest to capture in a 2D rendering. Figure drawing classes are great for practicing these skills.

We usually being with gesture drawings where the model does very short poses with more expressive, bold poses. These sketches are rapid and loose, and are meant to warm up your “sight” and and your hand. Next we moved onto longer poses that gave us some more time to contemplate the figure and translate what we saw onto paper. We could now focus on refining our lines and shading to create depth. These classes are not about creating a finished work of art, but loosening up and trying something new! We are grateful to have fellow artists in the area who host events like these and help to keep us well-rounded and inspired. It was refreshing to create with our hands and get a little dirty with charcoal, as an alternative to our digital art on the computer.

If you are an artist interested in improving the way you “see” when creating art from a reference, we highly recommend attending a figure drawing class in your area! Many can be found on, a local college, art school or continuing education program, or if you are in the Tamarindo area, follow us on Facebook and we will share Susan’s next class announcement.

Thank you, Susan for the photos!







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