Observational Drawing: Focus on the Figure 

‘The most informative and absorbing week of drawing exploration – loved it!’ Reuben Hart

‘I wanted to be constructively criticised in my drawing, and I was. I wanted to learn techniques and ideas that I could take away as a mental toolbox to help me draw in the future, and I did.’ Steven Rooke


Level: Beginners / Some experience

This course will be part of our Summer School portfolio, running in July 2019, and you’ll be able to book your place very soon. To be the first to hear when booking opens, please leave your details here.


Is observational drawing a disappearing skill? Discover this intensely investigative process which underpins all aspects of practical work at the Art School, and develop techniques and strategies to help you draw the human figure. We use a variety of media which might include brush and ink, conté, charcoal, pencils and ink and twig, to explore the structure, volume, movement and anatomy of the human figure.



There is a long tradition of summer life drawing at City & Guilds of London Art School, and our experienced tutor has helped a broad range of artists and makers to engage with their drawing practice through observational drawing. This year we are opening up the classes to those of you with less experience, and beginners especially will benefit from our focus on the figure, and the small class size and highly personalised attention we’re able to provide.

We first introduce you to line through constructive drawing methods – exploring measurement, absolute points of reference, proportion and scale. With these skills, you can start developing approaches to drawing that allow a fluid, ‘felt’ response to the observation of our model’s dynamic poses. These rapid drawings encourage you to respond with your first thoughts and ideas, which are later built on and developed in more sustained sketches.

As you gain in confidence, we place an increasing emphasis on activating the human figure as a whole, developing an awareness of the major structures, focusing on movement and weight by observing the changing axes of the body. As the week progresses, and momentum builds, more focus is given to developing three-dimensional form by investigating structure, planes, volume and superficial anatomy – using the skeleton as well as the model.

With each new approach, we show you relevant and extraordinary drawings to provide context, and to support and stimulate.

Our final day is spent on long poses and sustained drawings, consolidating and developing all that we have learned. You’ll leave the Art School with a range of very personal drawings which evidence your evolving drawing practice, and reflect your interests and approach. You’ll have gained in confidence, and have the tools to develop your drawing further in the future. A very challenging but satisfying week!


What’s included: all teaching, and most materials including drawing materials.

What isn’t included: your meals, and please bring a notebook and pen from home if you like to make notes.




If the page is not loading correctly, please update your browser to the latest version.