A community draw is a regular gathering of artists at a specific location for the express purpose of creating art from the figure. They can be bi-weekly, weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, or even seasonal. They are sometimes expressly portrait draws (clothed) but most often are draws from the full adult nude figure. Most will try to alternate M/F at each successive gathering, while some will be expressly one or the other. A ‘CD’ tends to be more social than an instructed class. The model’s pay comes from a nominal fee charged to the attending artists.
Community draws have a special place in my heart. My modeling began at a local draw, and I regularly pose for 8 different community draws around Eastern Wisconsin. (See my calendar) The protocol is more relaxed, and as a result a CD is a good place for model to start out.
In the first place, community draws are kept alive by small groups of dedicated artists who love to draw from the figure. They tend to be more social, and are more friendly to new models. Unlike in a university setting, no one is spending thousands of dollars on a degree pursuit. The usual fee is $7 to $10. Universities that host CDs tend to give their own students a discount rate, and most will offer discounts in exchange for regular attendance. Sometimes at non-University CDs, they also allow artists to tip the model.
Community draws often use a ‘progressive’ schedule of poses. This means that the session will start out with shorter poses, and gradually work their way to longer poses as the session progresses. This schedule is either based on a tradition at the draw, or a negotiation in the moment. A CD session may contain poses as short as one minute gestures, or as long as a single pose for the entire session (especially common in portrait draws)... and anything in-between.
Basic protocol is always in force, but social interaction is much more likely… both between artists, and with the model as well. This relaxed atmosphere is born of familiarity and comfort. Many artists that I pose for at community draws have drawn me many times before. The artists become great friends, both with each other, and with me.
Some of my most prized art pieces in the “Joseph collection” come from regular artists at community draws. Over time your skills as a model, and their skills as artists mature. It is rewarding to work with young new artists in University classroom settings, but the bond I have with retired art teachers and other dedicated figure artists at CDs are so much deeper and important to me as a professional model. I am so fortunate that they populate every community draw in every little town. They are the lifeblood of these regular sessions.
When I slow down (if I slow down) what I will do less of is university classroom work. My community draw connections are some of my most important relationships in life now. The artists, now my friends, are solid gold to me… ☺️