I love life drawing. Nothing beats drawing the human figure in the flesh, as opposed to drawing from photo reference. I love the challenge of quickly capturing the gesture of the pose, maintaining the proportion of the model, and if I'm quick enough, getting a snippet of the model's likeness. Its great practice, and artists of every level can benefit from a steady dose of life drawing. Unfortunately, there's not enough of it happening around me to make a steady habit of it. Whenever I see an event happening near me, I do my best to attend.
This year at Dragon*Con, Pierre Bernard Jr hosted Cosplay Life Drawing as part of the festivities and I was able to attend. My favorite aspect of it was that the models were in costume (plus it was Stargate themed, which was awesome. I love Stargate). One of the most important components of creating believable characters or creatures is being able to portray realistic clothing, costumes, armor, weapons, etc. Most of the time whenever a life drawing event occurs, the models are either nude or in swimwear so that the human form can be clearly studied. It can be difficult however to know exactly how fabric is going to drape on the figure, or how a belt is going to hang at a certain angle, or how pants bunch up whenever a figure is crouched. That's why I love drawing clothed models too, especially when they're in costume, because it helps inform my illustration work. The models were good and Pierre is an accomplished host of life drawing sessions, so it was a good event. Here are some of my sketches from the session. Most were about 10-15 minute drawings. I only had my small moleskine with me, so I couldn't do much more than quick pencil sketches.
Here's a link to Pierre Bernard's website, if you would like more information about his future events: