When I still lived in NYC I was an active sketcher. I sketched in books, at life drawing/fashion illustration events and of course in my MFA program at FIT. When I was leaving that program and moving across the world, our chairperson, Melanie Reim, offered the advice, "Make sure to keep drawing and sketching."
For me, it's so important to keep that eye hand coordination going and to constantly view the world with experimental eyes. As an illustrator I often feel that pressure for style and consistency. Being an active sketcher provides the opportunity to play and grow, to make sure I don't always stay within my square of aesthetic. It might even inspire growth for my illustration styles!
Since moving to Hobart I have found a fabulous group of life drawing enthusiasts! Life and Line (formerly Frankie's Modern Life) meets every fortnight for 2 hours of life drawing. They alternate male & female every session and there is no formal instruction involved.
Since joining them (as often as I can) I have started styling my drawings by tinting the paper mint green first with acrylic paint. I usually use light pencils and finally ink to add contrast.
I find that my mint green and ink approach works best for the female models, so when there is a male model I use black pencils instead.
I've also sold several of these drawings along the way and if you're interested in any other ones, I have them in my shop. :)