Kate Ward ’23
John was the only man in his figure drawing class. He had always gotten extra odd looks when there was a female life model coming into the studio to pose for them. Most of the time the models weren’t even nude, so he didn’t know why everyone still assumed he was looking at them in a certain way. However, walking into class today with his sketchpad and pencil case full of overpriced art supplies, he was surprised to see a young man standing there. He concluded they were around the same age.
The professor wasn’t there yet, but John took a seat and began to set up his easel.
“May I see your sketches?”
John looked up to find the model standing in front of him in nothing but briefs. “Sure.” He handed the book over. “It’s John, by the way.”
“Marco,” the other replied with a small smile as he flicked through the sketchbook, arriving at a portrait of a woman with darker hair and large gray eyes.
John set up his charcoal and pencils. “Nice to meet you.” Marco nodded and handed the book back, smoothing his hair back before sitting on the edge of the stage.
“How much are they paying you to be posing for two and a half hours for a bunch of college students?” John asked, looking through the wooden slats of the easel.
Marco laughed, freckles on his cheeks bunching up. “I wish they were paying me, but unfortunately I made this idiotic mistake of volunteering in order to launch some art students ahead in their careers.”
“That’s B.S.” John shook his head.“This is 101. You’re not launching anyone.”
Another laugh. “You’re right. Well, I’m here because it pays rent for my apartment. You’re the only one so far whose art is actually pretty good. You only draw women?”
“Well, my art better be good—it’s my second major,” John explained. “And I don’t just draw women, it’s just what the class…allows? I don’t know, women are what they can get their hands on.” He put the paper up on the easel as more of his classmates strolled in, some nursing a coffee or a severe hangover. The professor came in and began pointing out a few different poses for Marco to go through as warm-ups and then longer poses to hold. John started scribbling some rough outlines. He usually focused mainly on the larger parts of the body before adding detail, but he couldn’t get past detailing Marco’s face from his freckles to kind eyes.
“You know you’re supposed to do the face last, right?” A girl leaned over and tapped his page with the end of her charcoal stick.
John looked at her before wetting his thumb and smudging the charcoal into the background. He shook his head and kept going.
As the class wrapped up and John was again the one left packing up last, he approached Marco. “I wanted to show you the art from today.”
Marco pulled on sweatpants and a t-shirt. “Oh, please do.” He leaned forward as John flicked through. At one drawing, he stopped him. “Could I keep this? Or if you need to keep it, could you come over and do another?”
John paused, stunned into silence at the request. He cleared his throat and said quietly, “Um…I need to keep this one, but I would love to come over and do you—I mean, do this again.”
Marco laughed and wrote his address and number down on the corner of John’s page. “See you soon, then.”