Alumni Opportunities

Most of our alumni work as practising fine artists who regularly show and sell work or undertake commissions and have gallery representation. Other students have gone on to professional practice in areas including illustration, animation, architecture, film and theatre design, textile design, book illustration and writing.

Past students have won high-profile awards including the John Moores Painting Prize, BP Portrait Award prizes, Jerwood Drawing Prize, ING Discerning Eye Drawing Bursary, Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, Marmite Prize for Painting, Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize and the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award.

Our alumni have been selected for prestigious exhibitions such as Tate’s ‘Painting Now’ and Flowers Gallery Artist of the Day, and have frequently exhibited in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries, the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, Sky Portrait Artist of the Year, Great Women Artists x Palazzo Monti Residency, Whitechapel Open, Royal Academy Summer Show, Threadneedle Prize, Frieze, the Wellcome Collection, the Royal Collection, the National Portrait Gallery, and The British Council.

Alumni network

The School has a vibrant network of alumni who frequently collaborate on projects and exhibitions. We keep in touch regularly via our dedicated Alumni Relations and Projects Coordinator with news of residencies, competitions, exhibitions and paid opportunities and through our blog.

International Residencies

There are many opportunities for alumni to travel and to participate in Royal Drawing School funded national and international residencies: 

Dumfries House, Ayrshire, Scotland; fully-funded residencies for students from the Royal Drawing School with use of the artist studios and accommodation on the estate. 

The Hafod Estate, Aberystwyth, Wales; a unique opportunity for artists who are interested in working in a rural location, drawing inspiration from the landscape and the natural surroundings of the Welsh countryside. 

The Moritz-Heyman Residency at Pignano in Tuscany; is open exclusively to Royal Drawing School alumni and tutors offering fully funded residencies on the Borgo Pignano estate. 

ESMoA, California, USA; a fully funded three-month residency in the USA at El Segundo Museum of Art (ESMoA) in California. In addition to working on their own practice, the recipient has the opportunity to teach alongside ESMoA staff and the El Segundo community on innovative artistic projects and programmes. 

To find out more about the School's International Residencies Programme click here


Tutor training

After graduating, students can apply to the Tutor Training Programme on the School’s Young Artist Programme for 10–18 year olds. These drawing courses run in London, Oxford, Norwich and New Cumnock, offering financial support and professional development to alumni as they continue to cultivate their practice. 

Paid commissions

We regularly offer our alumni the chance to undertake paid commissions, examples include drawing trips to Doha, Maastricht, St Petersburg, Paris and New York.

Alumni exhibitions

Regular exhibitions are held in the Royal Drawing School’s gallery in Shoreditch to showcase new work by Drawing Year alumni.

Anna Ilsley

Discounted and free courses

All alumni receive a discount of 50% on all courses at the Royal Drawing School to enable them to continue their observational drawing practice and each term a selection of free course places are offered to alumni. We also run free drawing classes designed specifically for alumni as well as offering free admission to the Wednesday evening Lecture Series.

Drawing has now become a daily activity. The versatility and unpredictability of drawing in its different forms continues to lead my studio practice in ways I could not have foreseen. Tom Sander, Alumnus Drawing Year 2011