Fine Liner Life Drawing

All I want for Christmas are black Muji 0.38mm fine-liners.

Yes I am a woman of specific yet simple tastes. But of course, this is why:


When I run a life drawing class, I begin by explaining a little about why we are sitting in a room – pencils poised – paper at the ready – fully clothed – while a robed figure waits tentatively to bare all in front of a group of strangers.

I highlight a few key points:  the nude figure is beautiful – no matter the shape, size, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality and so on – naked, we are all the same yet unique and indeed – all beautiful.

I explain that the nude is a particularly challenging & endearing subject matter to draw – one that has been the subject of artists work since long before we can remember – and it is therefore the best way to learn to draw what we see.

I imagine we have all been in the presence of a naked person at some point in our lives and therefore know what it looks like, however to draw what we see rather than what we know is a different kettle of fish. It is very challenging indeed.


To get the class warmed up & comfortable in the somewhat unusual environment, I begin by asking the life model to pose in a few short positions – 3 minutes each. This doesn’t give people much time to think or worry, they just have to go for it and see how their pen/pencil/charcoal flows.

I have grown to love these short poses and after years of practise, I decided to use fine liner pens to capture these shapes – a medium which doesn’t allow for erasing & so I find it challenging yet wonderfully freeing. I look and the model and move around the figure, allowing my pen to follow my eyes as they run smoothly around the forms..

I have a series of these five-three-minute-poses of many of my life model friends – which is constantly expanding as my Bits + Bobs classes grow! Check out my chums here

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Another great ‘warm up’ activity I like to include in my classes is ‘blind drawing’.

A blind drawing does what it says on the tin – drawing the model without looking at your paper throughout the whole pose. This really teaches the artist to look at the model & releases concerns about how the drawing appears.

I used my 0.38mm Muji fine liner for my blind drawings of Sophie. These poses were 1 minute each.

Great right?

Sort of.

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I have learnt a lot about life drawing from my amazing artist friend Jake Spicer who is a brilliant draftsman. He has a brilliant series of books: the Draw in 15 Minutes series which you are sure to have seen around and has just published his latest book – Draw: A Fast, Fun & Effective Way to Learn’. I highly recommend it. Christmas presents? Check it out here

Remember, if you’re keen to come to my Bits + Bobs class or indeed host your own, email me at

OR EVEN if you would like to feature in my five-three-mintue-poses series, I would LOVE to draw you!

And thus I have opened the door for you to become a life model. Why not eh? New Years resolution – get naked for Bella?!


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