About a week ago I had stumbled upon information for Anti Diet Riot Club’s life drawing sessions. Anti Diet Riot Club is a London-based organization that fights against diet culture and works to empower individuals to love themselves and their bodies. Loving their message, and interested in seeing what a virtual life drawing session would be like, I took the leap and registered.
The event, held on the 4th Wednesday of each month, is advertised as “NOT a serious art class” and is instead meant to be an exploration of creativity as a way to challenge perfectionism and what we’ve come to see as typical beauty standards. Studies have shown a correlation between attending life drawing sessions and positive body image.
My artistic skills with a pencil and paper are typically limited to stick figures and simple doodles, but I sat down with my paper and markers ready to take on the challenge of drawing the human body.
As soon as I logged into the Zoom call, I was met with a gallery full of smiling participants of all ages, in their respective Zoom squares. There were about 140 participants in the Zoom call, and we did a check-in through the chat. Most people were calling from England, but as I typed that I was calling from the States, I was excited to see that people from all over the world were joining in on this drawing class–Scotland, Poland, Germany, France, and a few people from the US, joining from Colorado and New York.
The session was guided with silly drawing ‘games’ to help “kick the perfectionist out–” beginning with a simple, 1-minute timed sketch of our amazing model, Lucie. Any worries or hesitations I had about my drawing abilities disappeared once we started flowing through the exercises. Drawing without looking down, drawing with the non-dominant hand, drawing using only triangles or circles, using bold colors, and having a set amount of time for each sketch took the focus off of creating “perfect” art and left space for simply admiring the human form and putting it on paper, to the best of my untrained ability.
The session reminded me, in quite an emotional tidal wave, of how objectively beautiful the body is. Seeing the body, and especially types of bodies that aren’t often recognized in mainstream media, as a piece of art helped to mute the ingrained judgements that often blare, unwelcomed, at the thought of my own body’s ‘flaws.’ Artistically appreciating the details of a real and ‘imperfect’ body made a clear and powerful difference in the way I felt about myself after the session versus before.
If you are interested in joining next month’s session, tickets are available at Eventbrite (also linked below) and cost £5 – £8 (roughly $7 – $12 US). I will definitely be joining again, and for now I move into the rest of my day wrapped in confidence, compassion, and self-love.