Online life drawing classes to help you stay creative (and sane) at home
Published on 28 January 2021
Grab your putty rubber and pencil, because here are 10 of our favourite virtual life drawing classes to see you through lockdown 3.0, with appearances from suspension artists, wild animals, strippers, and fat, queer or disabled models.
There are loads of reasons to pick up life drawing. Skills aside, it can contribute to a mindful and relaxed state, reduce anxiety, improve problem-solving and encourage new perspectives. It’s also really fun.
The RA has always been a hub for life drawing and (until coronavirus transformed everything around us) we regularly held classes in our famous Life Room (notable attendees include Turner, Constable, John Everett Millais and... TV presenter Anneka Rice).
So whether you’re a first-timer or seasoned artist, here are 10 classes that will have you reaching for your pencils and admiring your rapid sketches, detailed drawings (and let’s be honest, shaking your head at some questionable foreshortening).
Henley on Thames School of Art (animal life drawing)
Alongside traditional life drawing classes, Henley on Thames School of Art have teamed up with wildlife photographers, videographers and conservationists to bring some of the world's most exotic animals straight to your living room.
Take a two-hour safari through the Galapagos Islands, journey through the American outback or swim with seals, eagle rays and whalesharks – and all without leaving your table.
Animal life drawing takes place 7–9pm on Friday and costs £10.
Art Makes Sense (sensual life drawing)
If you’re looking to practice sensual and erotic poses in the vein of Egon Schiele, then @artmakessense (and their sister account: @artmakessenselife) could be the ticket. With poses inspired by Schiele, Gustave Klimt, Maria Lassnig, Paul Gauguin and Alice Neel, these classes focus on promoting body positivity as well as bringing some of art history's most popular images to life.
Art Makes Sense life drawing classes takes every Wednesday on Zoom at 8pm Amsterdam time (so 9pm if you’re in the UK), and cost €8.
Henley on Thames School of Art (traditional life drawing)
If you or someone you know has always wanted to try out life drawing, then Henley on Thames School of Art offers beginner’s classes alongside biweekly drop-in sessions on Zoom. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take their animal life drawing sessions (more on that later).
Classes are two hours and typically follow the same pattern: short warm ups to get you started followed by longer poses with a break in between. In spite of the pandemic, models regularly transform their spaces using interesting backdrops, dramatic lighting and striking poses.
Unguided life drawing takes place 7–9pm on Monday and Thursday, and costs £10.
Fat Life Drawing
@FatLifeDrawing was founded earlier this year by two sisters who felt dismayed by the lack of diversity and inclusion in many online life drawing classes. Rather than grumbling, the pair set up their own life drawing sessions instead, featuring fat, queer, non-binary and disabled models – with all proceeds going to charity.
As Fat Life Drawing's founders put it: "The goal for these classes is not to create proportion-perfect artwork that could be hung in the Tate: it is to get mindful, be present, put our phones down for an hour, let go of any stress from the day, and be creative.”
Fat Life Drawing takes place 7pm on Sunday and costs £5.
London Drawing (suspension artist tied with knots and ropes)
London Drawing have moved their weekly drop-in sessions at Waterloo and Liverpool Street to Zoom. While some classes focus on portraiture or specific areas of the body, others are more specialist (one of their upcoming sessions features a suspension artist who will be creating geometric shapes by rigging herself with knots and ropes).
Can't make the class? Many of London Drawing's classes are recorded online and can be bought and watched as often as you like.
London Drawing offers drop-in sessions throughout the week. Dates and prices can vary.
ELSC call themselves a “bunch of feisty, feminist, fiercely independent women, who also happen to be strippers.” They’ve been posing for artists since 2013 at London strip clubs and old boozers (not to mention the Royal Academy), before taking their classes online.
Join them if you want to practice pole poses and capture the models' powerful physicality and expressive forms.
7. @soho_life_drawingView this post on Instagram
8. LONDON SHOAL OF ART MEETUP
LONDON SHOAL OF ART MEETUP runs regular weekly drawing and painting sessions, online and in person. All abilities Welcome. Tuition available is desired.
We are online during the lockdown but have been getting together in London for over 10 years.
We allow time for people to share their work and chat as well as to learn and to make art together.
Subjects include portraits, landscape and still life. We also look at art in museums and galleries for inspiration.
London Shoal of Art Meetup
4,663 Artists and Art Lovers
Sunday, Jan 10, 2021, 2:00 PM