The fearless Alexi Duggins, always at your mercy, faces his most bearable challenge yet – nude drawing, on an iPad.
‘Thanks, readers! For your amusement I’ve gagged on fish-flavoured vodka. I’ve been groped by cuddle-loving grannies. I’ve nearly widdled myself while locked in the back of a taxi overnight. But finally, you’ve given me a challenge I’m happy to face…
Because I’m not bad at playing Draw Something on my iPhone. And surely an iPad life drawing class is just Draw Something with added nudity (Draw Bumthing)? Plus, it gives me an opportunity to experience something highly novel: seeing a naked woman, in the flesh.
‘Take a look at this,’ says teacher Alan, as he fires up his iPad and we settle down in the Museum of London’s ‘Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men’ exhibition. ‘This is the kind of thing you can do with this tablet.’ On screen is a very detailed drawing of a very pretty, very naked woman. I instantly become a fan of this tablet.
We run quickly through operating the iPad. Alan explains that this class is largely about learning about the human anatomy. Then he instructs the life model to step out from behind her screen. Having looked at Alan’s drawing, I am now utterly convinced that this woman is going to be stunningly pretty.
She’s not. Call me particular, but I find her off-putting. Partly it’s due to a muscular bulk that leaves her looking like an anatomical map of the peak district. Partly it’s due to her being called Neil. Mainly, though, it’s the fact that she possesses a penis. This woman, ladies and gentlemen, is a man.
Fortunately, Alan instructs me to only sketch from the waist up. So I rough out an elegant, simple outline. ‘Good,’ offers Alan. ‘But now let’s focus on the muscle groups. What you do is draw the lines on, a bit like a woman’s fan…’ ‘Alan!’ I splutter.
‘What’s wrong with a woman’s fan?’ asks Alan innocently.
I jab the stylus at the glowing screen. Unfortunately, my attempts at illustrating deltoids, biceps and pectoral muscles are not good. They look less like a fan and more like the tattered remnants of a Spider-Man costume. Still, at least the outline isn’t bad.
‘Hmm, that’s a very small head,’ observes Alan. I keep my eyes above the model’s navel… but apparently he’s now referring to poor old Spider-Man’s bonce. ‘It should be this size,’ he says, sketching it in. Spiderfreak now looks like he’s wearing a head brace.
The end result: not good. But then it’s not surprising. While I’ve had a lot of fun, this class is meant for people with slightly more expertise than ‘moderately good at Draw Something’. Also, I only completed 60 minutes of the weekend course. What’s more, I’m way too puerile to stare at a naked dude for an hour. Although, in my defence, he did keep trying to make eye contact with me. Which wasn’t really fair: I wasn’t meant to look below his waist.’