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I Draw Naked People

Every Sunday morning, I take a brisk walk to Georgetown and draw naked people for three hours.

You’re weirder than we thought, CL.

Well, I generally don’t blog about myself. On weekends, I’m usually wading through my inbox and trying to get columns together for the week. But my CL email got hacked (fucking hell!) and I spent my catch up time on the phone with tech support (fucking hell!) and I won’t have proper email for days (fucking hell!) and while I can still blog (sigh of relief), I cannot access my inbox (fucking hell!).

What’s this have to do with drawing naked people, Tracy?

My sanity. I draw to stay sane. And as I was walking home, I was thinking of how much I really, really, really love to draw. And how guilty I often feel taking those three hours each week to do this thing I love.

And yet, how calm and happy it makes me. Like, calm enough to spend an hour on hold with GoDaddy. (And before you tech people berate me, I KNOW THEY SUCK. Look, I registered my domain name with them in 2012 and route my email through them and they fucking OWN me. If you can solve this, email me… oh wait…)

Back to drawing — when I draw, I lose myself. I’m in “the zone” — that creative place where the self dissolves, but then is rudely awaken by Natasha, my instructor saying, “Tracy! Stop! What are you doing?” taking my pencil in hand and pointing out some obvious bit of anatomy that I flubbed.

Like knees. I hate drawing knees. They’re so complicated. Knees are positively treacherous.

But I stick with it.

Which might be a metaphor for something, but I’m too lazy to complete that thought into a proper blog essay, but I will share some knees.

If you’re offended by naked people, look away! I’ll be back to writing about betrayal and mindfuckery tomorrow.

Meanwhile, some social media love for Winter Palace Studio. If you’re in the DMV and you want a challenging art class — check it out.

(If you’re the sort of person who needs a lot of warm fuzzies and just wants to express themselves — go paint a mug. This is NOT the studio for you. If you’re the sort of sadomasochist who wants to spend three years perfecting your knee anatomy — sign up.)

Without further ado… my figure drawings.


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  • Hey, your knees look pretty good to me! (The bee’s knees?). Thanks for sharing a bit of your passion with us, Tracy.

  • WOW!!! so impressed I am with your mega talent. You can write, draw, and I am sure so much more.
    Thank you for sharing

  • Super fantastic nakedness in my opinion. For what my opinion is worth. Thank you for sharing!

  • Those are good Tracy :). The models one and all look pretty unhappy though. Was that their expression throughout or just by the time you did the faces? Curious cos when I’ve done nude classes our models were pretty happy during sessions.

    • I think it’s hard to rest your face muscles that long. But one of them really did look pissed off. I don’t know what that was about.

      • It’s almost like you can see their emotions in your work.
        You have an amazing gift and am glad you do something to make yourself that happy every week. Your progress is astonishing.
        Thank you for sharing.

      • I used to model for art class and you have no idea how hard it is to sit still that long. Something always itches.

        • Yes, especially must have been tough for the first male in this list. Even if sitting and leaning on his back hand, that pose looks like it must have been very tough!

  • Bodies are a thing of beauty and I love these, you bring the person out Tracy, I should have known, with your cartoons that you’d be good, but damn. As for knees, they are the devil’s hinge joint. Thanks for sharing and hope you’re back in business soon (until then, enjoy the peace).

  • Thank you for blogging about yourself, Tracy, and for sharing with us that full life you’ve gained. That’s beautiful work. Xx

  • Wow. As a person with no creative ability whatsoever I can’t imagine trying to draw a knee, a nose or anything in between. Your talent is impressive! You’re as handy with chalk as you are with a pen (or more realistically, a keyboard). Thanks for sharing with us. And sorry about the email situation.

  • Amazing. Beautiful. Thanks for a window into your world.

    My daughter took figure drawing as a college freshman. Once she got over the whole naked people thing she enjoyed it and learned a lot.

  • Oh My God, Lady. You are a triple threat!

    Funny, smart and talented!

    I love these a lot! You can capture faces – and eyes! I’ve heard eyes are especially hard.

    Now I’ve got a whole new admiration for you, as if it could have been any more.

  • This is excellent work Tracy. Well done you. As an artist and teacher myself l totally understand the importance of being in the zone and for me it is the only sanity from home and living with Mr Entitled. Off the subject but is your teacher Russian?

    • Yes, but she immigrated here many years ago. Studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg.

  • Wow! Superb!
    Well, you might as well let Natasha help you improve what ever needs improvement, but it looks like you are in the company of Michelangelo and his David.

    I would ask the same as Datdamwuf: are the models unhappy?

    Good luck with your e-mail!

  • Wow Tracy that’s a lot of work! You do one of those in 3 hours? Very good ! Good on you, you are awesome!

  • Stunning!! Exquisite!

    You practice what you preach—-LACGAL—-and the results are incredible

  • Thank you for reminding me that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. That reframing a frustration into creativity is always possible. That to pursue meh you need to embrace what frustrates you. And that there is a world beyond the divorce rainbow.

    You are an amazing artist, with drawing AND words. Thanks.

  • WOW you’re so talented, Tracy!!! I LOVE your drawings!!!! Do you have live models posing for you? I’m so impressed! Makes me want to drag out my water colors!! I’m not good, but I try!! Something to do on my layovers!! Thank you for sharing and thank you for this column!! It has TRULY saved my life!!!

  • The faces are absolutely fantastic. Definitely not ass face cartoon. I would love to have a fraction of your artistic talent.

  • Wow I’m surprised how much this post affected me!
    My STBX’s AP sent me a friend request and on her fb page their were sketches she had done of her and my husband kissing. It reminded me of how much damage affairs do to people and how much more healing I need to do!

      • No I didn’t accept and blocked her – thanks for asking! My husbands reaction “well I didn’t make her do it so it’s got nothing to do with me”!!!! I tried to calmly explain that he was responsible by bringing her into our lives….fell on deaf ears ????

    • What an idiot! Well, at least it removed any doubt that kicking him to the curb wasn’t the best move you could have made.

  • I was just thinking about what you said about feeling guilty and also how much you love drawing. It reminded me of when my children were little and their preschool teacher once said, “play is their work. This is how they grow.” You’re still growing, Tracy. We all are. If it grows you to draw, if you’re enjoying playing and sometimes you’re suffering (damn knees) then you’re exactly where you need to be. And from the looks of it, blooming too.

  • These are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing them — and for reminding me (all of us?) that it’s good to take time to do something you love.

  • Fabulous work Tracy! Let us help link this back to the healing process & the gain a life factor.

    I attend a weekly art class and I paint for 2 hours a week. It is a brilliant outlet for me, and my class mates have been amazing during this hell. It is part of my gain a life tool box. I too felt guilty for taking this time out for something which was entirely about me. Without it, I think my sanity would’ve suffered.

    I love that you life draw! I feel less alone. We do love how real you are. Inspired!

    Hopefully your IT stuff works itself out cleanly & with less drama!

  • Tracy,

    After reading your own comments in this post about your artistic abilities, you may think I’m crazy when I say this, but boy do I wish I could draw like you. I can only draw stick people now. I aspire to get better one day. Thanks for sharing this w/us all.

    I understand being tough on yourself. I do that w/myself all the time. But don’t forget to tell yourself you’re not too shabby, too. Especially when all of us are telling you that. You’re talented, Tracy.

    Lastly, you’re bringing up the good point that it’s very healthy to have a hobby or passion in your life (or more than one of them). You’ve gotta do what you can to make yourself happy, and try to balance it as best you can w/the rest of your life (a partner, kids, work, etc). You go, Tracy! [Sorry about the email hack. That really does suck.]

    • Take a class on Perspective Drawing; that helps you to see things as they are. Then begin to expand your classes and eventually do life drawing. I still can’t do recognizable faces, and the human body is a wonderful challenge, but it is absorbing. Keep trying!!

  • WOW! Great work! While I love to draw, I can only get into my zone with sewing patchwork! Been doing crazy patchwork every spare moment for the past two weeks even at night before I go to bed. I call it addiction! Hey anything that helps maintain my sanity among the shitstorm…! And then I feel guilty about not having time to clean. lol. Hugs to all ya wonderful struggling souls.

  • ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️???????? how talented you are Tracy – I used to do life drawing regularly – must get my charcoal stick out again – the models would also wear funky hats and other accessories to jazz it up occasionally ????❤️ it was only £5 a drop in session ( UK) can’t find similar here ( not local anyway) big sigh ????

  • Wow – maybe you are unhappy with the way you draw knees, but they look great to me!

    Sorry about the hack and all the attendant bull shit. I hope they get that fixed soon and behind a firewall that is impervious to attack.

  • Your art really is lovely. I have a personal brand of awesome which is no where near this realm so I have a great deal of appreciation for people refining the ability to create art like this. Bravo !

  • holy moly Tracy, those are BEAUTIFUL. You are so talented. Thank you for sharing your art with us.

  • Hey Chump Lady I paint naked people! MCAD. In MN once you reach 62 you can take classes in the state system for $30 a credit. It’s my new life now. Since fuckwit blew up my life after 30 years of marriage I found my way back to painting. I still have my day job. Art is my new boyfriend.He frustrates and pisses me off sometimes but he never cheats or lies. He can be spendy at times.

  • Dear CL,
    I just saw this Archive title now and have not read all the replies.

    In my mind I can see such beautiful images,but I cannot get my brain and my hand to put these thoughts, these pictures, on paper. What an amazing gift you possess.
    You are a bundle of many many beautiful things, of many many talents.
    Your work leaves me speechless really. I don’t know what more to say.
    Except, I also love your use of the word “fuck”. There is a time and a place for that word!
    ( my friends and family roar when I say that word. I look so innocent, but boy, don’t piss me off because I carry that word with me everywhere. It is my outlet,my defence!

    You Rock!
    Thank you for being you, my daily dose of sunshine, my go to person to be lifted up!
    CN is blessed!

  • Amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your private life. 🙂 And good luck with your email!

  • Please let me add:
    A human being comes into this world naked, and when placed in a body wrap or bag, is naked.
    ( in my profession I assisted many newborns into life and prepared many souls on leaving this world)
    No matter if we were dressed in rags or riches during our life , we all enter and exit the same way.

    Your art is absolutely beautiful!

  • Take a class on Perspective Drawing; that helps you to see things as they are. Then begin to expand your classes and eventually do life drawing. I still can’t do recognizable faces, and the human body is a wonderful challenge, but it is absorbing. Keep trying!!

  • Wow! You are the real deal! So many gifts for one person; in awe of your abilities.
    And sorry for your technical issues. You must be so frustrated right now. Sure hope you are able to resolve the problem.

  • I also draw naked people on weekends during the school year. We have a community group, folks show up, contribute to pay the model, a local college lets us meet there for free and their students can come and draw for free. It’s been going for over 20 years. It’s an exercise to shift my mind to the moment, to see what is, to quiet and as you say, be in the creative zone. There are several of us who hold the group together. We don’t do crits. We “hung” a show of several drawings of each our members who wanted to participate in the art building foyer. Thanks for sharing a grouping.

  • When I was young, I learned to leave my physical and mental problems behind by reading a book. I became a lifelong reader because it brought me joy, reduced stress, and allowed me to view the world from other perspectives. It still brings me joy. I also find joy in music. It amazes me that these two habits are so transformative, and both are relatively inexpensive. It is not selfish to find the time to feel your joy. Not only does it keep you sane, but it also helps you relate to other people in a kinder, more accepting way.

    I think if more people connected with their joy the world would be a much better place. I think your art is wonderful, thanks for sharing. That, in itself, helps make the world a better place.

  • These are fantastic!! I’ve done figure work before. As both the artist and the model.

    I love figure classes because it’s so helpful to learn how to draw anatomy from the real subject rather than a photo or doll or cartoon. Real human bodies have angles and folds and flesh and shadows.

    Plus when you’re in a class like that you’re too damn busy drawing their feckin knees to worry about the fact they’re naked XD

    Seriously though I hate drawing knees too. And feet.

  • Loved these! More than two and half decades ago, I had a gig as an artist’s model. I was good at long poses, during which I’d zone out and think about all sorts of things. One day, I noticed that the gentleman working to my right was muttering to himself. Muttering and muttering, and finally I was able to hear that he was cursing elbows. Not just my elbows, but global elbows, basically. Later I asked the instructor about it, and she laughed and said that many life artists find one body part that never ceases to challenge and thwart their efforts.

  • You capture the essence of the models, in the same way that you’ve captured the essence of infidelity and chumpdom. Amazing drawings!

  • The lady with the necklace must be modeling for the community service hours.

    But seriously, your work is lovely.

  • Thank you Tracy , you have a passion turned to talent.
    I too have a passion , I play guitar I also lose myself in the pursuit of excellence. But it comes easier to some than others , I’d be with the others. I work at it quite hard it it takes many hours. Unfortunately this passion was what my ex said contributed to our demise. But that was long , long ago. It was just an excuse for her infidelity. Bottom line is she was one of those people who married out of convenience. There was really no love involved , to my chagrin. I was sincere , she wasn’t , and it took me over 4 years to uncover the truth. I was young and never realized there were people like that. But I recovered after several months . I’m a bit of an empath and she was a narcissist , and it left a scar that I’ll carry to my grave. I remarried to the most caring , giving , loving , supportive woman I’ve ever met. And she is my security blanket when memories haunt me. Don’t mean to sound all beta , but acting isn’t one of my fortes .
    Keep up the good work!!

  • I am not an artist. Tried it but couldn’t pull it off no matter how I tried so I became an artist appreciator.

    I do appreciate you sharing your drawings here. Exquisite in my opinion. The detail and the expressions on their faces – The knees looked just fine to me 🙂

  • My 25 yr old daughter is an artist… She’ll understand the knees!

    These are beautiful!

  • Tracy,
    Seriously! ! You draw nude people too! My favorite drawing of yours here is the beautiful African-American woman at the top. The first drawing. The energy she exudes is so complex. You capture her essence perfectly.

    You and I have more in common. Let’s go down the list:

    -Both have springy, curly hair and the same glasses
    -Both went to England for graduate school
    -Both have been chumped
    -Both have attorneys in the family
    -Both write about infidelity (But your writing is only like a trillion times better than mine and I don’t own a site).
    -Both draw nude people
    -Both use snark and satire to deal with crummy things in life.

    I dunno. Your nudes sealed the deal. Are you my long-lost relative?

    But seriously, you are OH MY GOD an exceptional artist. Those nudes need to be in a gallery. I know what you mean about being in the zone while drawing. I have been there. It’s a freeing place, isn’t it?

    I don’t have time these days. I had started out as an art major in undergrad. They threw us into the deep end. Nude models 5 days a week. I loved it but was too scared to be a starving artist so I dropped the major. Oh and one of my female nudes actually won an award among the student art show. I waited 2 weeks to pick it up because I figured it would be locked somewhere securely. Someone stole it. (Or maybe the nude just got up and left on its own.) But I suspect some pervert has it in his bathroom and that it’s in really bad condition. I won’t be attempting to retrieve it. Hazmat suits are too expensive and unflattering. This was in ye goode old daze before internet porn and people had to look at drawings and actually use their imagination.

    So here is a fun one. Everyone draw their ex naked. But make it super unflattering. Exaggerate all the worst parts. That would be so funny. I don’t think a sketch of a cheating ex counts as revenge porn. Could be legit.

    Could be Super funny!!!

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