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Life drawing

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”  – Oscar Wilde

In the 10 week term 6 lessons are with a model and the other 4 are spent on focusing on difficult areas such as hands, feet, head-to-neck, and shoulder relationship.   We also explore drawing outside our environment and extend our perspective to areas like parks, shopping malls or the street.

Because intimate creativity is best fostered in a private environment we do not allow for more than 6 people per class.

For the Beginner

  • Kneaded eraser
  • Pencil
  • Paper towel
  • Sanding block
  • Sketching paper

When we sketch a life drawing we should be looking at splitting our time equally between the model and the sketch pad. Too often we forget to look at our models because we are too busy trying to sketch the perfect picture on our sketch pad.

Holding a Pencil for Sketching and Life Drawing


The Classic Grip

One of the most common ways to hold a pencil for sketching is the classic tripod grip that you would use for writing. In this grip the thumb and forefingers control the pencil and decide how much range of motion you have.

The Overhand Grip

The overhand grip enables you to use the side of the pencil for sketching, by holding the pencil between the fingers and the flat of the thumb. This is often referred to as the technically “correct” way to hold a pencil for sketching.

The overhand grip is also ideal for shading and drawing on an easel. It is even better if you can give yourself enough space to get a full range of motion. To make this grip effective it is important to remember to hold the pencil loosely, in a relaxed way.



Flat shading generally gives a softer, grainier texture to your sketches than point shading but it is useful to experiment with how changing the control and pressure you put on the pencil can influence both techniques.

Sharp point shading gives you more control and allows you to do fine detail whereas flat shading can help you to fill a large area quickly. Experiment with hard and soft pencils to see the different textures you can create and increase the techniques you have at your disposal.