The best life-drawing classes in London

Find the best (and most unusual) life-drawing classes in London with our guide to sketching in the city
Drop-in Life Drawing Classes
© Wayne Thomas
By Ellie Broughton and Nick Levine |
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Have you been meaning to try a life-drawing class for months, but don't know where to start? Pencil out your route to artistic exploration with our guide to finding the best (and weirdest) life-drawing classes in London. After all, you might end up creating your finest body of work yet – maybe one day your drawings could end up in our list of London' top ten art exhibitions or even the 100 best paintings in London. And if not, don't worry – just keep on sketchin' those bodies.

The best life-drawing classes in London

Royal Academy

Best for: Improvers

Expert day and evening courses with one-to-one attention from an experienced and practising art tutor justify the prices on these courses, held in a studio inside the Academy. They usually sell out in a flash, though, so hop on the mailing list to get a heads-up before they drop. Check the Royal Academy website for course details and dates.

Royal Drawing School

Best for: Beginners

Beginner-friendly Friday night drink-and-draw classes are the best way to discover this London drawing institution. Tickets include a beer or a glass of wine.

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Adrian Dutton

Best for: Advice

Adrian’s been running life-drawing classes in London for 12 years and prides himself on running sociable and friendly drop-ins. There are regular classes in Clerkenwell, Bethnal Green, Hoxton and De Beauvoir, as well as cheese and wine nights, and special drop-ins on Fridays for long poses.

Holborn Life Drawing

Best for: Variation

Two-, 20- and 45-minute poses with models of both sexes make this untutored class a good place to pack a lot of practice in. The venue’s big enough for up to 50 artists, and the big crowd means the classes are usually rounded off with a trip to the pub.
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Saturday Drop-in Life Drawing and Painting

Best for: Weekends

Long-pose classes run before and after lunch at this untutored south London art class – you can do both morning and afternoon sessions if you’ve got the stamina. There’s tea on offer throughout, plus a modest lunch menu in the break.

London Drawing Group

Best for: Imaginative exercises

The three contemporary artists who run LDG events started the series to get more people drawing. Tours at the National Gallery teach drawing by observation of works on display, and drop-in classes pick unusual topics such as internet porn. Teaching is hands-on and helpful.
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Colourful houses on a Notting Hill street.
© Stephanie Sadler, Flickr

Bobby Gill

Best for: New skills

Notting Hill artist Gill teaches Tuesday classes and drop-ins on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, each class focusing on skills like perspective, line, tone, movement, context and media. Drawing materials are available but bring your own paper.
Pencil and paper
Thomas Eagle/Wikimedia Commons

Candid Arts Drop-In Life Drawing Classes

Best for: Value

This hands-on untutored class is small, beautiful and affordable and happens four times a week in the evenings. Two tutors mill around, offering advice (if you want it), before taking the class to the pub. Materials available to buy on the day.

Alternative life-drawing classes

Naked Brunch

Don’t worry, Naked Brunch isn’t a load of naturists tucking into smashed avocado and scrambled sriracha eggs (though that does sound more interesting than the queue for The Breakfast Club, let’s be honest). Instead, you’ll enjoy a glass of fizz with brunch (which you will need to pre-order) and then get stuck into a 90-minute tutored life model sketching class. There’s no need to be a starving artist when there’s bacon sarnies on the menu. Exhibit B. Streatham Hill rail. Jun 16. £22.50.

Yoga Life Draw

Fancy drawing a downward dog? Illustrator and yogi Kate Philipson hosts this quirky hybrid class where you’ll sketch a fully clothed life model striking classic yoga poses. You don’t need any artistic or yoga experience to take part – simply turn up and experience what Philipson calls the ‘moving meditation’ of drawing. It’s a lot easier than trying to hold a one-handed tree pose. Drink, Shop & Do. Tube: King’s Cross. Jun 12. £20, which includes a small glass of wine or beer.

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pencils
Flickr/John

Life Drawing With The East London Strippers’ Collective

Whether you’re familiar with east London’s strip pubs or not, this life-drawing class – organised and run by a strippers’ collective – welcomes people in for a twist on the average life-drawing class. Materials £2, or bring your own. Crown & Shuttle. Mon Jun 4. £15. Check the website for new dates to be announced. 

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