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Cool Beans

A Guide to Life Drawing

1. Being disrobed in a room full of strangers can be traumatic. Casting your mind back to a particularly nice holiday, beloved pet or favourite boxset should alleviate the panic. In the likely event that you become aroused, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. Loudly and proudly announce your state of arousal and name the person in the room (or sordid thought) that inspired it.

2. Everyone wants to look buff in the buff, but staying in shape is far too much effort. Top tip: use a powerful hoover to tighten your excess skin and flab, then tie it off with an elastic band round the back. You may need a friend to help you with this.

3. Give yourself that exotic, Mediterranean feel by covering your modesty with a tiny leaf.

4. If you can’t find any tiny leaves, try accessorising with other props – vintage jewellery, potted plants, gimp masks, feather boas, religious scrolls, a wizard’s hat. The possibilities are endless, but remember - less is more.

5. If you’re still uncertain about the idea of standing in your birthday suit, exposed for all to see, invite friends, family and workmates along for support.

6. When the big moment finally arrives, it’s of the utmost importance that you get the pose right. My advice is to stick with one of the classics: the Cup & Recline, the Squat Reveal, the Handstand Dangler, the Reverse Mangina or the Surprised Mid-Star Jump.


1. Practice by drawing anything that looks remotely like an unclothed human. The correct assortment of fruit and vegetables will do the trick, as will two rodents and a snake.

2. Once you’ve begun your task, you have full licence to interpret as you wish. If you believe that the model would look better with bunny ears, a massive Cuban cigar or a poorly rendered tribal tattoo, or all three, you are well within your rights as an artist to add them in.

3. When your model for the evening reveals him or herself, alleviate the awkwardness by exclaiming, “Well, that leaves nothing to the imagination. Am I right?!” If for some reason that doesn’t work, repeat the same line at the next class, only louder and with accompanying hand gestures.

4. If there’s a particular wrinkle or curvature you are struggling to get down on paper, don’t be shy about getting up close and personal. If you can’t smell your model, you’re not doing it right.

5. Put more of yourself into your work. Why use paints and oils when bodily fluids are readily available (and much cheaper)?

6. Keep all romantic feelings towards your model at bay. They don’t feel the same about you. They’re just using you for money.

7. Real artists never compromise. If anyone makes any suggestions or criticisms of your work, smash it up and storm out. Deep down, you know you’re better than everyone else in the room.

Advice Arnold


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