Letter from the Founding Artistic Director

The Royal Drawing School started The Drawing Year, its postgraduate programme dedicated to drawing from life, over twenty years ago. It is unique in the spectrum of tertiary level art education in the UK.

The Drawing Year is a course of study at postgraduate level which provides an opportunity for intensive practice in drawing from observation. It sees drawing both as an end in itself and in relation to other areas of practice. Drawing can be direct, incisive, intimate, surprising, funny or confrontational. Using the most limited of means, it offers some of the most demanding opportunities for growth to a contemporary artist, both visually and intellectually, allowing a free transition between mediums. It is one of the simplest and yet the most endlessly complex of human activities, encompassing a wide scope of practice and interpretation.

The Royal Drawing School provides a supportive and lively environment for sustained exploration in drawing, in the belief that practice strengthens hand and eye, and concentration nourishes the imagination. Drawing Year students benefit from working amongst peers and from the contact with tutors and visiting lecturers, who represent a wide spectrum of artistic practice. Both students and faculty value the freedom of intellectual exchange and the atmosphere of shared commitment.

Drawing is a primary language natural to all human beings. At the Royal Drawing School, it is taught as a way of thinking, seeing and understanding. Fundamental to the course is the assertion of the connection between looking and making images; a belief that conceptual innovation can be generated by an active engagement with the visual world that surrounds us. 

Drawing connects what we see with how we think. It is a crucial meditation between the world and our idea of it. More flexible than language, drawing has the power to express thought in a new way, to communicate with economy and authenticity.

Catherine Goodman, Founding Artistic Director
Royal Drawing School