Figure Drawing from the Life Model in
Natural Light Using the Comparative Method
Without rushing things detrimentally, it is important that the student begins to observe the figure propotionately, and in natural north light. Traditionally, students were not allowed to graduate to this challenge until sufficient proficiency was attained in the preparatory phase. It is simply not in the student's interest to begin to draw what they have not yet sufficiently come to understand. The AAC is very traditional in this regard. Its program is built around the idea that the most efficient way to learn to draw the model is to avoid it in the early going. This is in marked contrast to many programs which are available today.
To start, students working from the life model work in contour only followed by light and shade being applied to the surface form. (With both of these, the grafting on of what is learned away from the live model, to the student's consideration of how they will interpret and depict the model, is stressed.)
For a number of reasons this proves more difficult than making a cast drawing and the time and effort a student makes preparing for life drawing proves well spent. The duration of the poses and their purpose vary, depending on what the purpose(s) of the exercises are. For example in memory exercises, which Edgar Degas believed to be invaluable, the student studies the pose for fifteen minutes and then is asked to draw the pose, within a second fifteen minute timespan, from memory.