The life-drawing class you can take from home


Published 13 February 2018

Led by Jonathan Yeo to coincide with our From Life exhibition, our first ever live-streamed life drawing class has been watched by over 50,000 people. Take the class here.

  • On Thursday 25 January, we broadcast a life-drawing class live from the RA’s historic Life Room. In connection with our From Life exhibition, we wanted to try something new with this traditional aspect of art practice, and share it with new audiences – perhaps those who’d never been to a life class before or those aren’t able to attend a class in person. It was led by artist Jonathan Yeo, and as far as know, it was the world’s first live-streamed life drawing class. We didn’t know quite how the experience of drawing from life would translate to the screen – but artists aged six to 92 tuned in from and picked up their pens, pastels and pencils to sketch the poses of our model, Andrew. Over 700 drawings have flooded in across social media, and they’re still coming. #LifeDrawingLive is of course no longer “live” but you can catch up here, taking the class just as it happened on the night.

    Following the class

    A few sheets of paper and a pen or pencil is all you really need, although you could also work with pastels, charcoal or any other medium you want to try. The full class is 90 minutes long. 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. We’d recommend you watch on a desktop and full-screen if you can to get the best possible view. Please note: due to social media community standards, this event did not feature full nudity. Enjoy the class!

  • Watch and join now

    Become part of our online community of artists as you follow this life-drawing class from home. If you can, we recommend you watch on a desktop and go full screen for the best experience.

    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 users’ work below.

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

  • 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 Life: special exhibition project

      Until 11 March 2018

      Looking to the past, present and future of one of the cornerstones of artistic process, this exhibition asks what it means to make art from life, and how the practice is evolving as technology opens up new ways of making and seeing.

      Drawing from casts and life models was long considered essential training for any aspiring artist, and was once a staple of the Royal Academy’s own art school. Now, on the cusp of the RA’s 250th anniversary, this special exhibition project takes an inquisitive look at the tradition and its ongoing relationship with artists today.

      Installation view of 'From Life'
    • 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


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