In addition to my casual doodles in January, I also attended a 3 hour figure drawing session. I haven't taken a figure drawing class for a year so I found myself to be a little rusty. But, nonetheless, I enjoyed every second of it. For some reason, drawing, especially the human body, is somewhat relaxing and therapeutic for me. I think the reason for this is people make for very interesting subjects. They're challenging, yet beautiful. And capturing their personality in a drawing is a rare pearl that, when achieved, leads to a feeling of satisfaction and a joyous sense of achievement. But first you must practice, practice, practice to reach this level. When approaching your blank canvas it's best to start with gestural sketches to hammer down the proportions.
Once you're feeling confident that you've got a handle on gesturals and understand the human proportions, then move on to 1-3 minute rough sketches. Again to help with proportions but to also get an idea of muscles, joints, and bone positions.
Next, take about 5 minutes on each position to start fine tuning and adding a little more detail to your sketches.
Finally, move on to a 10, 20, or 30 minute pose. This allows enough time to start adding in muscle details, shadows and even a chance at attempting a hand or face.
Once you've reached this point, move on up to 1-2 hour poses and whip out your paints and brushes. You're on your way to the next Mona Lisa. Happy drawing!