Curate your own learning on our School Leavers Programme

March 23, 2022

As a new student on our School Leavers Programme, you will have the autonomy to curate your own selection of courses alongside your core group programme, so you can concentrate on the aspects of drawing that stretch, inspire and excite you the most. 

Here are a few examples of the types of courses you can choose to build into your learning...

Life Drawing: Observation and Imagination

Trishna Rehan

This course will teach you how to access that key moment of  transformation, where the reliance on the  primary source to make a drawing is superseded  by an ability to take inspiration from  it. Elizabeth McCarten, our tutor on this course says, “the life model will be a key starting point each week and we will use a variety of artist references such as Lubaina Himid, Lisa Brice, Edward Munch to name a few, who will help propel us into an imaginative world."

"Each student will be encouraged to direct their drawings in an individual and playful way, exploring materials and experimenting with composition, creating a great opportunity to develop new and build on existing drawing skills, or create new ideas and incorporate them into the life studio. Supportive group crits and lively discussions will take place during the course, building your confidence as a collective group of artists. Come with an open mind and see where your drawing takes you!”

Drawing London’s River: A Dynamic Ecosystem

Drawing the river

Whether you already live in London, or you come to to live here during your time on the School Leavers Programme - you will discover new and intriguing aspects of the city that you didn't know existed. We have many out-of-house courses that might have you drawing in a London park, in busy interior spaces such as train stations, or around the local urban landscape in Shoreditch. London is a city built on a river, so this course in particular will follow the Thames, walking and drawing along its banks to discover beaches, old quays and bridges. T.S Eliot described the Thames as a ‘brown, forgotten god’, and putting it at the heart of this course will offer a way of thinking through the complexity of our relationship to the natural world. 

We will consider the ways it is inhabited by people and animals today, the tugs and houseboats that chart its course to the wading birds and insects on its mudflats. We will also think about how the river links us to the city's past and how each tide change uncovers material fragments, each with their own stories. We will draw how the weather and reflections plays across its surface, and imagine what is submerged in its depths, from marine life, to shipwrecks and Brunnels’ uncompleted tunnel. 

Drawing the river

We will work with a range of exercises, from fast studies of changing weathers to sustained, close surface observations. Students will find strategies for making work in situ as well as finding ways to work from these directly observed drawings, using the river as a source for imaginative worlds. You will sometimes use the river itself as a means to draw with - diluting your ink or watercolours to leave a trace of your subject within your artwork. The drawings made will hopefully question different ways of representing the movement of the river in relation to the passing people, the boats, the sky. Quick drawings, sustained drawings, large and small are all made, each with a purpose. Drawing in public can sometimes be a daunting thing, but once mastered, opens up a whole new world of subject matter and inspiration that you can use for your future art practice. Just don't forget to bring a waterproof coat! 

Life Drawing

Nathalie Hollis

Don’t be fooled by the title of this course - this is not Life Drawing as you know it. Dilip Sur, our Life Drawing tutor on a Monday afternoon explains, “Drawing and painting – it’s like writing. It’s a language. And we must learn this language. Everybody underestimates themselves – they think they cannot draw. I say that if everybody can write, then everybody can draw."

Drawing is to inquire, to explore and to discover a higher new existence within oneself. It is to concentrate, to contemplate, to identify oneself with the subject with which one is engaged. It is to have the courage to take risks, make mistakes, to journey further without fear. We begin our journey with an inquiry into the subject in front of us, which is always seen anew; a study to understand the phenomenon from inside, to examine the reason of how it originated, was formed and is constructed. To acquire knowledge and to know the process, the truth, that creation has to go through in itself, by itself and for itself. There begins a relationship with the subject with which one is engaged, and it is in there that imagination and ideas take their root – a contemplation, an interpretation of the world in a creative exploration.

Catarina Cardoso, one of our current students on The Drawing Year told us, “Dilip’s class opened up a world of drawing the feeling of a figure, considering emotion as part of the figure’s landscape as well as movement. The considerably shorter poses in his class cut the amount of time I spent agonising over proportion, and instead instilled in me a practice of letting go. This completely freed up my drawing, building a huge interest in drawing and transcribing movement, much like transcribing music onto paper.” 

"Drawing is the meditation into the Life itself; the Life – that is in front of us and the One that is within. It is through this process we concentrate ourselves on that ‘One’. That enables us to point our full energy and to bring our whole existence to focus and really to penetrate through the subject. Beginning there is – an opening of a new visual world of infinite possibilities and a path for realising one’s own journey – in discovering the creative self. Everybody is welcome!” Hear more from Dilip about his process of making art and teaching below:

Are you feeling inspired? Read more about our new School Leavers Programme and how to apply.