Why create drawings from life, rather than from photographs? With photographs, we translate an already 2-D picture into another 2-D picture. It's not that there's anything genuinely "wrong" with working that way. Sometimes it's unavoidable, such as when doing a portrait of a young child. They just plain can't sit still!
However, working from life is so much more rewarding. The camera has one eye. We have two. Working from life, we see the whole person. We see dimensionality, volume, shadow, in a way don't in a photograph. In addition, with the model in front of us, we have, as it were, the "raw data," unmediated. A photo may already have been manipulated by the photographer in an editing process. Photoshop has become an art in itself.
Perhaps more importantly, the artist and the model form a connection. Drawing a person is an act of profound intimacy. In normal life, staring intently at someone else is rude, violating that person's sense of personal space, of safety. But when drawing, the artist has that permission. To be an artist's model is to make oneself vulnerable to the artist's interpretation, to truly be seen in a way that even a lover misses. The old joke: a man reports his wife missing. The officer asks what color are her eyes? The man answers, "Uh..... "
Some models inspire the artist to produce drawings of much greater quality than usual. How? Through that mysterious, intimate connection. Only once have I drawn a model with whom I felt no connection at all. Drawing him was like drawing a block of wood. At the first break, a couple of members of our artist group packed up and left. At the next break, three left. At the next, four. By the end, one other artist and I remained. I never asked that man to model again. He presented a total flat affect, a complete poker face. Extremely uncomfortable for us all. So, I offer a small selection of portraits for you, of some of my favorite models.