Art 1 classes use drawing horses to draw live models


Jackie Pecavar

Art 1 students pose while their classmates use drawing horses to model their artwork.

Jackie Pecavar, Staff Writer

In their most recent Human Figure Drawing Unit, the Amador Valley Art 1 classes are digging deeper into the characteristics of art by using drawing horses to help create portraits of live objects.

“Most of us are familiar with an easel that an artist stands at. You can think of the drawing horse as a sitting easel. It consists of a bench, and at one end a tall board connected at ninety degrees. It looks a bit like a person sitting on a simple horse or pony. With it, the artist can look from their artwork to the model easily, ” said AV art teacher Michael Doyle

Drawing horses are excellent tools to help artists draw what’s directly in front of them, like scenery, objects, or live models. 

“I got the opportunity to model in front of the class for extra credit points. I thought it was fun to pose in front of the class, but after ten minutes, it was tiring,” said Mia Visconti (‘25). 

Students get an opportunity to break out of their shells and try something that might be out of some people’s comfort zone. This is the main reason why this lesson is taught, along with getting practice to use your vision and hand coronation to draw on a canvas.

“My favorite part of teaching this lesson is the opportunity to take something that is so essentially human and challenging, and after some simple lessons, demystify it. These lessons are like the keys that unlock a puzzle,” said Doyle

While still being fun, students realized that this lesson was more advanced than they thought. There is a lot of room for error since objects that were moving were being drawn.

“Drawing on a horse was slightly challenging because it’s something new and something I had not done before. I’m used to using my imagination to create artwork rather than having to copy it from a model or object in front of you. I definitely had to be more focused and cautious,” said Allie Zacharias (‘25). 

This exercise gave students more knowledge about how to accurately draw different people, while also learning about the human body structure and how to draw it on a canvas. Not only did this unit grow the Art 1 student’s minds, but showed them different ways to view the live models and use their own creativity to draw human structures. 

“The human face and body is a fundamental subject in art. The classical Greeks thought that man is the measure of all things and Socrates is quoted as saying that ‘to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.’ It’s a powerful education that challenges us to know and understand ourselves spiritually, intellectually, and physically,” said Doyle.