Life drawing in London

How to find creative and inspiring drawing sessions

As artists we all understand the value of “life” or “figure” drawing. Regularly drawing from the figure will enhance all of your drawings, whatever the subject matter. The human figure challenges the artist’s understanding of form, light, mass, foreshortening, colour and so much more.

Finding a good figure drawing class can be difficult. There are innumerable classes where a model will pose in the nude and artists can practise their skills. But before you join up as a member of a class think carefully before you part with your money. Below are a few pointers to consider:

  • Lighting – has the organiser thought about creating drama through lighting? I have attended many classes where a model has sat under poor strip lighting where shade and light are flattened and I’ve struggled to bring form to my drawing.
  • Models – are there a range of models to draw? Drawing a range of sizes and shapes is essential to an artist. Always drawing slim, young people or always drawing women, can restrict your understanding of the human contours. A class that provides a range of ages, sizes and genders will quickly extend and develop your abilities.
  • Props and materials – I once attended a class with a fabulous model who lay on a dull grey cloth. Whilst it was exciting and inspiring to draw the model, the grey cloth did nothing to create a sense of interest to the scene. A range materials and props can add interest and a story to your drawing.

Themed drawing classes

Last week I attended a themed drawing class run by Art Macabre. They provide drawing sessions at some of London’s top cultural venues, including museums and art galleries.

I attended the session called Lunar Legends at The Book Club in Shoreditch. The sessions held here, take place in the basement bar. The bar is brick and wood and redolent of London’s bleak East End history and sets a wonderfully eerie scene for sketching.

The images at the top of this blog post are a small selection of the poses by the Moon Goddess model. The poses range from 2 minutes to half an hour. The organiser Nikki understands how to inspire artists and ensures each drawing session, has the following:

  • Music to fit the theme – an eclectic music sound track to support the drawing theme.
  • An introduction to the model and the theme for the session. For example, before we began drawing our Moon Goddess, we were given a short history of Moon Worship and some facts and stories.
  • Beautiful props and clothing.
  • Lighting – dramatic and bold.

I normally attend these sessions with a friend and we always leave the 3hour sessions full of inspiration and creativity, clutching our drawings and looking forward to the next one.