The School Newspaper of Plano West High School

PWSH Blueprints

The Art of Modeling

Jiayi Zhu, Staff Writer

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Metal easels and drawing boards clang. Sheets of paper rip as they are torn from their pads. Tables screech as students push them together towards the center of the room to form a platform under a yellow spotlight. A student climbs onto the platform and the noise slowly dies down while she stretches and adjusts her pose. Someone starts a timer and then the only sound that can be heard is the frantic scribble of charcoal on paper.

After a semester long trial run last year, advanced placement (AP) drawing teacher Sarah Depetris has opened her classroom to weekly figure drawing sessions all year long with live models.  

“Life drawing is very important because you learn how to catch something and make it still,” Depetris said. “So many of our students are used to drawing from a photo, and it’s a lot easier in a way because it’s permanent. But when you draw from life, you have to work in a limited time frame, so you’re using different instincts.”

Although a bit intimidated at first, junior Sara Allbright got her first life drawing experience by attending a session in the second week of school.

“I’m not good at drawing anatomy but since we have to draw real people, it helps,” Allbright said. “You can look at it from a different angle and think ‘oh, here’s something I can’t see very well.’ If you draw from a picture, you can’t get up close to it as easily.”

Senior Evelyn Brown is currently an officer responsible for demos and guiding the other students. She actively participated in last year’s experimental sessions.

“Life drawing is really good to build up a portfolio for college because a lot of schools like to see that,” Brown said. “It also helps when you do people for projects and it’s easier to get the motions of the artwork.”

All students can be models regardless of build and height and these volunteers can earn up to three hours of community service accepted for AVID, National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society and Key Club. However, modeling is not as easy as it looks.

“Pick a pose where you know your body can withstand it,” Brown said. “It really strains the body. If you do a harder pose, it gets more comfortable the longer you’re in it.”

The Tuesday night drawing sessions that begin at 5:00 p.m. and end at 6:30 p.m. are open to all advanced art students not only on the campus but in the district. Even students who are not in an art class may contact Depetris to participate.  

“It’s just a fun and loving environment,” Brown said, “and we have cookies.”

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The School Newspaper of Plano West High School
The Art of Modeling