two and five minute sketches

Five minutes late for my first ever Life Drawing class, I wondered if I’d be greeted with drawing class humour “Last one in, you’re today’s model!”

I walked quietly into a very normal room, except for the young naked Danish lad, baring all on a platform in the centre, surrounded by a collection of around 25 people quietly sketching him. No sniggers whatsoever.

To the right of the door was a table with a hand-written sign; ’20p charcoal, 25p paper. Please leave money in basket.’ I took three sheets of paper and a stick of charcoal, added my coins to the kitty and crossed the room to take a seat. I quickly overcame my inclination to whisper ‘Excuse me, your balls are showing’, and got sketching.

The class followed a few 2 minute poses to get one’s eye in, then a 20 minute pose, a short break, then a different 40 minute pose, the latter usually sitting or lying down for obvious reasons. Each lengthening pose gave the opportunity for more detail.

During the session the teacher meanders around the room peering over shoulders and offering words of advice. His friendly way with people expelled any chance of awkwardness and encouraged each individual to improve their current sketch. Having not picked up a pencil in ten years, I was nervous of my abilities but positive praise and encouragement were reassuring.

My 40 minute sketch

I left the class feeling a certain joy to be alive.

Something which hadn’t crossed my mind with this blog was the chance I’d stumble across a terrific hobby I’d want to continue with. I loved this class, and have no qualms in recommending it. I will return. Most definitely. But I’m sticking to the cause and next week will be a new hobby.

The class was held in the inspiring surrounds of the Battersea Art Centre by London Drawing who, among other courses, offer a two-hour ‘drop in’ Thursday class open to all with no booking needed. Just show up, pay £9 and spare change for supplies and get drawing.


  • Cost – £
  • Energy level – Little-to-none.
  • Accessibility – Good. this particular class was south of the river, but there are quite a few options dotted around London.
  • Sociability – Not massive, but there is the opportunity to chat to a few people in the break and afterward. This particular venue has a bar for a cheeky glass of wine.
  • Equipment needed – none. Bring a tenner and you’re set.
  • Experience needed – none. No one’s grading your work, and you can pick up some pointers from art teachers to improve.

3 thoughts on “Free Willy – Life Drawing

  1. Great blog idea. Good luck with it … there are several places on the internet where you don’t have to pay ten quid to see a man naked (just saying).

    Oh and … hobby ideas: interactive theatre. Like a dinner event that you attend where you are given a character and there is a basic plot that the group are briefed about beforehand. I know it sounds eccentric, but I read about it and am interested…

  2. Just how many naked pictures have you put up of yourself now?! Thanks for the encouragement, I think it’ll be fun.
    Sounds a little like Dungeons and Dragons, and those curious fellows who dress up as animals and play sword fighting in forests. But I’ll look into it and let you know!

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