Courses at the Royal Drawing School are divided into three main areas: Drawing in the Studio, Drawing from Art, and Drawing London. There are also specific courses designed to investigate the role of imagination in drawing from observation. Students are encouraged to explore all of these as they complement each other and contribute towards seeing, drawing and learning in new ways.

With 108 different courses to choose from over the year, students gain a broad range of experience and teaching input from our diverse faculty and their varied approaches to the art of perceptual drawing. As part of their individual programme, all students take Drawing at The National Gallery and an out of house course at some point during the year.

Drawing in the Studio

Drawing is an expression, a physical observation, an exploration,a dissection, a concentration, an obsession, a release. Drawing is a primal universal language. It can be sophisticated and neurotically intricate and it can be beautifully diagrammatic, taken to the simplest of forms to indicate the most complicated of nuances. Everyone can draw and the most fascinating drawings are like fingerprints. Identifiable to the individual. A double sided page. A description of the subject and by being so, an illumination of the draftsman.” Ishbel Myerscough, tutor

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Drawing from Art

“Drawing from paintings is the best way to understand them. Being able to follow the extraordinary rich and complex structure of an image from an earlier time, which is both simple and mysterious, is thrilling. It’s not about producing attractive drawings, rather it’s to learn something and have an exciting experience along the way.”  Paul Gopal-Chowdhury, artist

The School runs courses at major London art galleries and museums, and enjoys special access to private collections and early morning drawing viewings. 

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Drawing London

“Drawing in the street tends to demand a very different language to that of the life room: nothing here is fixed, the world is in flux.”  Timothy Hyman RA, tutor

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Drawing and Imagination 

"Drawing is the very beginning of my practice: it is my first impulse. Drawing relates seeing to making and feeling to language. As I draw, this action translates and pulls together unconscious ideas, with imagery drawn from observation." Sarah Pickstone, tutor

We see the imagination as an essential component of observational drawing. An imaginative approach can help students find focus in a drawing, and respond more purposefully to what is in front of them. 

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Etching is seen as an extension of drawing. Drawing Year students can learn and explore various etching techniques (hard and soft ground, aquatint, sugar lift, white ground) in daytime and evening classes led by a variety of experienced tutors. As well as bringing pre-prepared drawings to work from in the print room, students can take etching plates up to the life room to draw onto directly. 

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It is not just the ‘act’ of drawing that has helped me this year. Many of the teachers have been incredibly thought provoking, helpful, interesting and interested.