This course has concessions available

Life Drawing

A mixed level life drawing course using short and long poses, focusing on line, light, colour and composition. Explore the numerous differing influences from ancient far eastern to western mainstream.

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

With a backdrop of Eastern Taoist philosophies and the use of the Chinese brush: This western life drawing course explores a variety of different medias approaches and influences with the aim of getting a more profound knowledge of drawing. It is open to all levels, beginners to advanced.

What does this course cover

This course has a multidimensional quality in that it combines so many different approaches of life drawing. Also a multi layered course, each topic though seemingly very different in nature to its neighbours, interconnects with previous and later parts of the course plan which often can lead to unexpected results.

In term one we will start with a journey through line, Chinese line, light and shadow. (This more specifically uses the Chinese brush).

In term two this is a journey through colour with pastel working from the earth palette to saturated palette. We will also be exploring the role to the surface along with more traditional techniques such as perspective anatomy and composition.

In term three we will explore ideas with mixed media life drawing and how the media relates to the surface. We will also be tackling the figure in movement with visits to London contemporary dance schools and drawing cellists. Also there will be some oil sketching. During all three terms the Chinese brush will be used in all the warm up sessions.

In term one you should be able to do the following
* Demonstrate a sound understanding of three dimentional Chinese line, tonal line, expressive line and linear scale
* You should have acquired some experience with the Do Bi Chinese brush and how to manipulate the line with the wash
* Assess your tonal values
* To realise and, at times use, negative space to find the form

In term two you should be able to do the following
* Be able to understand some basic facts about proportion and measuring
* Be able to identify the difference between warm and cool colours
* Demonstrate a clear understanding of the importance of blending ratios of at least two colour pastels earth
* Be able to appreciate and evaluate the role of the drawing surface
* Have gained some knowledge of anatomy, perspective and composition

In term three you should be able to do the following
* Have gained some strategies of how to draw the figure in movement
* Have found confidence with media you have not tried before and found some alternative surfaces
* Have at least some theoretical understanding of oil sketching depending on your level

In all these objectives the following will apply
Beginners: Demonstrate a clear understanding theoretically of the above and apply it to some of their projects
Improvers: To both understand and apply these objectives to most of their work with some experience
Advanced: To use the above as a baseline to expand and develop their own ideas at a more profound level and think and work more independently.

What will it be like

The class will often start with the model posing short poses aimed at sharpening your powers of observation activating the vision and getting a more profound way of seeing.

There will then be a break where the tutor will often give a brief slide presentation examining other artists' approaches to chosen topics. There will also be short lively discussions and occasional demonstrations in these periods. There will then be a long pose. Brief informal whole class assessments given just as the model rests

Progress is assessed informally via verbal feedback during your sessions. You will also be assessed at the end of the course in terms of your personal journey from the start of the course. The tutor will give you verbal feedback about your progress. There will be a whole class assessments plus individual assessments.

What else do you need to buy or do

The centre provides cheap sugar paper but you will at times be encouraged to use paper of higher quality and must bring this yourself. There will be some paper available to purchase from your tutor.

Materials are not provided - you should bring charcoal to the first session but also be aware that you will need to buy a range of good quality pastels and other materials. Your tutor will advise you on your first session.

If you do not already have any art materials, you should allow a minimum of £25 for this.

You are also recommended to visit exhibitions.

Returners, intermediate and advanced students to research from exhibitions and internet regarding influencing their work.

What this course could lead to

As this course is developmental by nature, next steps will be varied. You may like to consider the following options:
- Enrolling on courses which prepare you for undertaking an Honours Degree, such as Pre-Foundation or Foundation Course in Art & Design.
- Exploring and developing techniques further by re-enrolling on the same course.
- Furthering your professional development options including exhibiting and selling.
- Setting up a print workshop at home.
- This course can be repeated to develop different techniques or extend existing ones

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre and a library of prospectuses for other London colleges to help you continue your studies.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: tel: 0800 101 901, and from the following websites:;

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

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Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’