Life Drawing exercise

Hilderstone Adult Education Centre Margate Thanet Life DrawingMargate Adult Education Centre Kent Adult Education demonstration Life DrawingSidney Cooper Gallery Canterbury demonstration life drawing




These drawings weren’t made to be works of art; these are demonstration drawings done as part of the Life Drawing classes I teach at Margate Adult Education Centre and at The Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury. These are drawings of people holding a pose for about 15-20 seconds and then moving to a second pose and then repeating the first, and so on, three times over. The students get a minute or 30 seconds for each pose.  Here are a few thoughts about this particular drawing exercise.

Everything changes. This exercise acknowledges that fact that we draw within a continual state of flux and change. The model resumes each of the poses three times but each time there will be subtle and not so subtle changes in the model’s position. the changes in positions are inevitable. Even if it was humanly possible for the model to re-occupy the exact-same position each time, you (the person drawing) will have changed as your time moves on; we are not quite the same person we were a moment ago and drawing can make us more aware of this change.

The drawer gets three goes at drawing each of the two poses. You might notice something different each time and you might want to draw something different each time. Let the drawing have its way: it is ahead of you, see what comes into the drawing. There isn’t time to rub out and start again. There isn’t time to finish a picture of a person. What you are drawing isn’t a picture of a person: what you are drawing is what you notice about someone’s momentary presence (an angle, nearness and distance, an edge, structure, a line etc). You must make your decisions within those short moments that you have to play with.

Your line is the trace of all the little changes of mind that took place as the charcoal in your hand made its nervous way across the surface of the paper. Your line has its own ‘life-story’ of beginning, changing and coming to an end (not a finish or completion but simply an end). As you make your mark you will notice that parts of your lines happen to agree with what you saw or thought and other parts of your line lose or never did make that that connection. Let it be and start a new line. Sometimes you’ll make a good line. This way of drawing is looks forward to the next moment and the next change of mind

Get in touch with the Sidney Cooper Gallery (Canterbury) or the Margate Adult Education Centre  if you’d like to come along to the Life Drawing sessions.


Here’s a link to the Kent Adult Education Life Drawing classes I teach:



4 thoughts on “Life Drawing exercise”

    1. Thanks! I thought it might be interesting to say a few things about some of the things I do in the Life Drawing classes I teach. I’ll post some more in the future.

    1. The next Life Drawing classes will be at the Margate Adult Education Centre, Hawley Square in January. There’ll be a Wednesday morning Life Drawing class (1000-1230, starting 13th January) and a Thursday evening Life Drawing class (1900-2100, starting 14th January). If you go to the Kent Adult Education website and type my name into their search box you’ll find the details there. Or you could telephone the centre (03000414018). There will also be a Tuesday evening Life Drawing class at the Sidney Cooper Gallery Drawing Studios, Canterbury, beginning in March 2016.

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