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The life-drawing class you can take from home


Published 13 February 2018

We believe in the vital importance of creativity – for everyone. Join the community of over 50,000 people who have come together online to take the world’s first ever live-streamed life drawing class. Take the free class below.

  • What is #LifeDrawingLive?

    It’s a free online life drawing class you can take from anywhere! Life drawing is the artistic tradition of drawing the human body from a live model – something that the likes of Turner and Constable would have studied at the Royal Academy, and which still takes part in our Life Room today. Life drawing can be an important way for artists to hone their skills – but it can have a much wider impact too. It can contribute to a mindful and relaxed state, reduce anxiety, improve problem-solving and encourage new perspectives. It’s also really fun.

    On 25 January 2018, with From Life, an exhibition about life drawing, on show in our galleries, we broadcast the world’s first live-streamed, mass participatory life drawing class, led by renowned artist Jonathan Yeo. Featured on BBC Radio 2 for its innovative approach, the class saw artists aged six to 92 – many of whom had never tried life drawing before – tuning in from around the world and picking up their pens, pastels and pencils to sketch the poses of our model, Andrew Crayford. Over 700 drawings from participants have been shared across social media, and they’re still coming. Now it’s your turn. #LifeDrawingLive is of course no longer “live” but you can take the class below, just as it happened on the night.

    What happens in the class

    The full session is 90 minutes long – but you can of course stop and start, or join in for as much or as little of it as you want to. Jonathan Yeo will introduce the class and instruct you throughout: we start with some quick poses for you to draw to warm up, then try some longer poses so you have more time to fine-tune your drawings. Please note: due to social media community standards, this event did not feature full nudity.

    What you need

    Some paper and a pen or pencil is all you really need to take part – if all you’ve got is a napkin and a biro, that’s just fine – although you could also work with pastels, charcoal or any other materials you want to try. We recommend you watch on a desktop and go full-screen if you can, to get the best possible view of the model.

    Share your work

    We’d love to see your sketches. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to share photos of your drawing with the hashtag #LifeDrawingLive. You can see some examples of other participants’ work below. Enjoy the class!

  • Watch and join #LifeDrawingLive

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    A tip from Jonathan

    Don’t worry about getting it perfect! Work instinctively – that’s when the magic happens.

  • How was the class? Don’t forget to share your thoughts and drawings with us on Twitter and Instagram using #LifeDrawingLive.

  • What a night! #LifeDrawingLive was a bit of a first for everybody on many levels... everyone involved was doing something for the first time tonight.

    Anneka Rice, BBC Radio 2

  • Your #LifeDrawingLive sketches

  • I love the fact that there's an intense, concentrated atmosphere coming from the studio. Haven't drawn for years and it feels very liberating. Thank you.

    Helen Urquhart, Facebook

  • Amazing. Loved that I could sit in the kitchen with my children milling around while indulging in some life drawing.

    Olivia Harmer, Instagram

    • From antique to life: drawing and painting in the historic art school

      Courses and classes

      Courses and classes at the RA

      The RA’s extensive academic programme invites you to develop your skills and expand your knowledge of the practice of art, its history and its theory. Our courses and classes are available for all levels, whether you have a general enthusiasm or a long-standing personal and professional interest. You can see some of our upcoming courses and classes below, or look through the whole programme by following the link to find out more.

    • About the space

      The Life Room

      The video of #LifeDrawingLive was filmed in the Academy’s historic Life Room, nestled deep in the heart of the contemporary RA Schools. Usually closed to the public, this unique and significant space was designed in the 1860s, when the galleries and art school first moved to Burlington Gardens.

      The semi-circular seating arrangement, based on an ancient design, traces its British history back to Hogarth’s Academy in St Martin’s Lane, c.1730. Directional light is used to enhance the delineation of the model’s musculature and aid life drawing, which has been practised in this room by generations of Royal Academy artists and students.

      About the space – The Life Room