Mindfulness and Drawing

Dec. 18, 2019

Spring Term 2020 sees the return of one of our newest courses, Mindfulness and Drawing. This 5-week course aims to slow things down and focus attention inward.

Arjuna Gunarathne

Drawing by Arjuna Gunarathne 

In our fast paced world full of distraction, mindfulness offers tools to enrich and unify our day-to-day experience, giving us a chance to make clearer and more creative choices as well as improving concentration and reducing stress. Mindfulness is known to help people become more active, clear, imaginative and less resistant to change. Through combining these simple yet infinitely complex practices of drawing and mindfulness, the course opens up a space for focused attention.

On this course, students will be encouraged to explore with a 'beginner's mind'. The days will involve stillness (meditation), activity (life-drawing), periods of sharing and periods of silence as we enter the present moment together, allowing drawings to emerge from here. It is an opportunity to get to know ourselves a little better, both as artists and as human beings. Mathew Cunningham, tutor


Working mainly from the life model, you will explore different ways of using your attention during the act of looking and drawing, with the aim of developing a more intimate relationship with the subject, drawing and yourself. We will see how drawing helps to focus our awareness, and likewise the way in which we direct our minds, will have an effect on our drawings. Rather than having an ‘end result’ in mind, emphasis will be placed on the experience of drawing, as well as considering each other’s work without judgement.

I very much enjoyed the Mindfulness and Drawing course, which was my first experience at the RDS. It was unlike any other drawing class I have ever taken. The focus was less on technique, and more on the sensation of drawing. It was a very focused and calm space. My biggest take away has been to consider how I am feeling while drawing and how that energy can effect my drawing. For anyone interested in slowing down and investigating the human experience through drawing, this is a great course. Bianca, student 


Students will explore diverse examples of mark making and the different emotions each express, to avoid limitations and preconceptions of what our drawings should look like. Each class will emphasise a different aspect of mindfulness practice, and include short guided meditations throughout the day.

This course will help artists begin to understand themselves as part of the creative process. How do we function as instruments which receive impressions and translate them into marks on paper? When we widen our gaze to include our own inner processes we start to see where blockages occur and how to 'tune ourselves' so our creativity can naturally flow. Ethan Pollock, tutor

The tutors were all wonderfully engaging and listened intently. They would share great knowledge of both drawing and mindfulness with the group and with obvious love of both subjects. I enjoyed meeting them greatly and the other participants in the school. I am very grateful to the Royal Drawing School and staff for helping me return to drawing . Will, student

Mindfulness and Drawing takes place every Thursday (10am – 5pm) from 23 January – 20 February 2020 in the School’s Shoreditch studios. 

Taught by Mathew Cunningham, Ethan Pollock and Helen Burgess