Life drawing & portraiture

Life Drawing & Portraiture Courses in London

Life drawing shows you how to see and interpret the structure and proportions of the human form through observation of the unclothed live model. It’s a fantastic discipline that can underpin all other drawing practices.

Whether you’re interested in the technical and analytical aspects of scale, volume and methods of measurement or a more intuitive, expressive approach, there are classes to suit all levels and approaches. Beginners are introduced to simple, user-friendly exercises to make the complexities of figure drawing fun and accessible to all.

If you’re a more experienced student, you can explore a more personal approach, experiment with materials and work with dynamic and challenging poses. A fascinating aspect of life drawing is the portrait, using the same skills to develop character and likeness of the individual face through focusing on structure, volume and expression.

For more information about courses available, please contact our Visual Arts team at visualarts@citylit.ac.uk

Courses available both in-person and online

We offer a range of long and short courses allowing you to choose between in-person and online learning.

Learn in the centre of London with our in-person courses. Our purpose-built facilities in Covent Garden mean we are ideally located and easy to get to. 

See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

All our courses are live, interactive, and taught by expert tutors. No matter how you prefer to learn, we've got the class for you.

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  1. Portraits 1
    Course start date:  Mon 9 Sep 2024 (and 3 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Brian Sayers
    This course aims to introduce you to this fascinating genre in both drawing and painting portraits through practical experience of the basic skills and concepts involved, including structure and proportion of the head and features, tone, colour, pose and expression. Working from direct observation of the live model.
    Full fee £439.00 Senior fee £359.00 Concession £292.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  2. Life drawing: focus on hands and feet
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 18 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    This short course is aimed at those with some previous life drawing experience who would like to meet the unique challenge of drawing hands and feet. Explore how to make sense of their complex structure and form and to draw these parts of the anatomy convincingly. You'll never leave hands and feet out of your life drawings again!
    Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £149.00 Concession £149.00
  3. City Lit year of the figure and portrait
    Course start date:  Mon 7 Oct 2024 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Rebecca Allen, Desmond Haughton, Joe Richardson, Kim Scouller
    This is a year-long course that explores the endlessly fascinating subject of the human form through various aspects of drawing and painting the figure and portrait. For those interested in building real progress and confidence in practical skills and taught by a team of specialist tutors, you will be inspired by stimulating projects that explore historical and contemporary artists' contexts to support your creative work.
    Full fee £1,199.00 Senior fee £2,239.00 Concession £1,819.00
    Rating:
    80% of 100
  4. Portraits 2
    Evening
    Course start date:  Fri 11 Oct 2024 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Luke Jones, Andrea Voisey
    Develop your knowledge of the technical aspects of portraiture further and expore your understanding of what makes a convincing portrait. Undertake practical projects which enable you to develop a personal approach to the subject as the course progresses.
    Full fee £449.00 Senior fee £359.00 Concession £292.00
  5. Portrait drawing: expression in the face
    Course start date:  Thu 21 Nov 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    This short course will develop your existing knowledge and skills in drawing portraits to meet the challenge of creating expression. Bring your portrat drawing to life by exploring character, personality and emotion in the face of your subject.
    Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £149.00 Concession £149.00
  6. Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £191.00 Concession £155.00
  7. Portraits 3
    Evening
    Course start date:  Fri 7 Feb 2025 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Aimed at more experienced students: take your existing knowledge of poraiture further and build your understanding of the genre. Undertake practical projects which enable you to develop a more personal approach to the character and identity of your subject. This course ideally follows Portrait 2.
    Full fee £449.00 Senior fee £359.00 Concession £292.00
  8. Life drawing: a contemporary approach
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 29 Jun 2025

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Annie Attridge
    This course introduces exciting contemporary approaches to life drawing using a variety of processes including using wire to draw with, clayslip for mark-making and plaster. You will be encouraged to explore creative and imaginative approaches in your response to the life model. Suitable for all levels but some previous drawing experience an advantage.
    Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £191.00 Concession £155.00
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