Whether for fashion model drawing , which I teach on the regular for several decades now at Parsons School of Design, or for ANY  model drawing or any DRAWING at ALL, drawing with two hands i s a powerful exercise that might seem silly  “childish” to you at first.  

But like most things considered “silly” or “childish”, it’s deeply powerful, mind shifting, liberating, beautiful and transformational.

I’ll break down some of the reasons why as we work our way down the page, with a few examples and i’ll add more examples over time as I uncover them in my my collection.

Two-toned fringed dress- Drawing with Two hands: a fashion model drawing drawing exercise with Laura Volpintesta
Fashion sketch exercise drawing with two hands from Laura Volpintesta zoom session

When we Draw with Two Hands,

when we draw with two hands, a LOT HAPPENS.

It’s not just about the result, although the result is cool.

It’s about what happens inside of us. To prepare yourself to draw with two hands,:

  1.  have an object, subject, or image to sketch from so you are drawing from observation. (certainly you can take this into drawing iwth your eyes closed or from your imagination but begin by drawing something you are looking at.
  2. tape or clip your paper to a table, drawing board or drafting table so it won’t be slipping or sliding around while you are trying to draw. You’ll need both hands to be drawing from the model here.
  3. feel open to trying different media: colored pencils,,oil pastels (that’s what I used here), markers with different tips (chisel or brush tip or fineline). You can’t do this on ipad because you can’t draw two lines at once digitally. Even a loaded paintbrush in each hand would work.
  4.  get comfortable. it always helps you draw better when you are comfortable, Especially for fashion design, your fashion model is never going to look like she feels fabulous if you drew her while you were miserable and uncomfortable!
  5. USE TWO DIFFERENT COLORS for the best experience because otherwise, when you are done with your fashion drawing, you won’t be able to retrace visually to see which lines came from where and “what you did” while you were immersed in the process! LOOK ABOVE AND BELOW AND YOU CAN SEE EACH COLOR “DOING IT’S OWN THING” You’ll be quite surprised to see some switching between right and left!
Drawing with Two hands: a fashion model drawing drawing exercise with Laura Volpintesta


OPENNESS: one of the key benefits of this exercise for most of us is that we are immediately relinquishing control for the most part. We become open and curious. We turn our expression over to the process and the experiment: “what will happen? what will I feel? how will it look? where is this going?  That attitude alone will make lasting change in your drawing approach.

  • COMMITMENT: not a commitment to making the perfect drawing, but to staying with it. Either put on a timer and just keep drawing till the timer goes off, or else keep drawing until you feel it’s “done”. TRY EACH method of timing and notice how each one feels to you. Record that in your journal or sketchbook! 
  • COMMITMENT TO A SINGLE LINE: similar to the blind contour and contour drawing exercises, notice in all of these drawings I did not lift my crayon or pencil. Each model drawing was done with a continuous line. COMMITTING to a single line will SLOW YOU DOWN and make you more deliberate in your movements on the page, which AGAIN is a TRANSFORMATIVE experience. Try it! and of course, we are not ERASING here.
  • two options: sometimes I find I like drawing with one hand, then the other, alternating (left a bit, then right a bit, then left a bit with one crayon in each hand of course) stopping and going along, but never lifting the pencil/crayon from the drawing page. Other times, I do both hands moving at once, which feels REALLY REALLY outta control and fascinating. YOU HAVE TO LIVE IT TO KNOW HOW IT FEELS! 

(,more on contour drawing exercises in future articles or join me for MODEL DRAWING MAGIC!)

Drawing with Two hands: a fashion model drawing drawing exercise with Laura Volpintesta
Drawing with two hands exercise with water soluble oil pastel by Laura Volpintesta

something lost, something gained in drawing with two hands:

If you look at the sketch above, the model’s proportion has become flattened a bit. But the expression of the pose and some key elements of the garment silhouettes , textures, and shadows have been captured! 

Often when we engage in experimental and transformational exercises, we zoom in on one skill and filter out the others- which can result in some really surprising effects on the page.

I call this “isolation exercises”, like in dance classes, where you focus on one thing and leave everything else aside. This is powerful because it strengthens you in a single area. It is more honest, in one way, while maybe distorted in another way.

And we feel the benefit of that experience and that moscle when we “go back into” the world of drawing more “carefully” in a way that we expect to be “pretty” or “refined” somehow. (if we do).

I invite you to journal, reflect and consider what “perfectionism” means to you and where it helps you and where it hinders you in your creative process!

Join me on a journey into your creative expression!

Love, Laura


For more experimental drawing exercises, join a course or program, or a mini workshop like

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