At the very end of Thursday's session, we had a 90-minute pose to work with. Here's my initial sketch:
I struggled through it for half an hour, battling with the proportions and composition. Frustrated, I put down my pencil and just looked at the models for 10 minutes, resisting the urge to go back to the drawing or even look at it.
I studied the models, their poses. What was it pictorially that made them feel like they were sitting there? I made mental notes on the negative space that gave the whole setup clarity and overlapping shapes that gave it depth.
I soon realised there was a hell of a lot of organisation involved, none of which was present in my drawing. I figured that's why the composition lacked impact. Also, the figures were flat and uninteresting because I hadn't paid enough attention to what was there in front of me. I wasn't looking enough at the subject, but rather, defaulting to my preconceptions of how a leg should look or how foreshortening should work.
So I turned the page over and tried again:
Applying and building on what I'd observed resulted in a much stronger drawing. Of course it has plenty of it's own issues but is certainly a step up. There's an overall pyramid shape to the arrangement of the models, which improves the composition. I don't recall that being a conscious decision when drawing, so the 10 minutes of observation must have established that somehow in my mind.