I’ve been drawing a picture a day, but sometimes these are little better than stick figures, or scrawled cartoons. After sketching around New York (and I plan to scan selections in due course) I want to keep stretching myself and doing something with all the drawing.

On Monday I took myself off to a life-drawing session in Woolloongabba. I’d been there before, years ago, and managed to find my way to the back room where it was held, all dressed up from work and clutching a “STRAND: 18 MILES OF BOOKS” bag with a new sketchbook and charcoal pencils bought at Eckersleys on my lunch break.

Charcoal is messy. Or not messy so much, but not obviously suited to fine detail. I had a charcoal pencil, and am glad I used it because I do like the results, but I would have liked to be able to find my mechanical pencil to do a study of hands and feet, but it was m.i.a. I did use my markers for a foreshortening sketch, and it actually worked, with a lovely graphic line.

Life drawing is hard. Especially the silence of other people drawing. The second half was better – a few people had spoken in the break and the model thought something was crawling on her and the organiser said there had been a mouse in the kitchen. It didn’t exactly liven things up (it was a small group) but it did make me less jumpy every time I heard the click of my pencil on the table echoing around the room.

Foreshortening is harder. In the last pose, the model was lying on her back and I had an excellent view of the crown of her head. “How are you with foreshortening?” the organiser asked, and I said, “We’ll find out”.

But negative space is my friend. Negative space makes everything simple, like a Mr Squiggle cartoon where you fill in a few spaces and look at it differently and there is a picture you didn’t even notice you were drawing.

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