Drawing London's River: A Dynamic Ecosystem

London is a city built on a river. This course 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. 

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. Over the course of the term students will be able to develop their own direction and grow their confidence drawing in public and outdoors.

NHS staff receive a 20% discount; to apply participants must submit proof by emailing a photograph of their NHS staff badge to admin@royaldrawingschool.org before booking a course. 

Full-time BA students studying for a degree in Fine Art receive up to a 75% discount. Those studying on design or applied arts degrees may also be eligible on a case-by-case basis. Student ID and proof of enrolment must be submitted. Please email a picture of your student ID to admin@royaldrawingschool.org.

Primary and secondary school teachers who teach art receive a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof in the form of a letter from their head teacher or the head of the art department. Please e-mail a scan of this letter to admin@royaldrawingschool.org.

Individuals on job seekers allowance receive a 50% discount; to apply participants must provide evidence that you're receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance. Just provide a recent letter from JobCentre Plus/DWP confirming you're in receipt of this benefit. Unfortunately, we cannot accept Jobseeker’s Allowance appointment booklets as valid evidence. You may also apply if you receive Universal Credit under the conditions of being out of work. Please send a copy of your proof/official letter to admin@royaldrawingschool.org.

Postgraduate and Foundation Year alumni of the Royal Drawing School receive a 50% discount. 

Individuals who receive disability support are eligible for a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof that they are currently receiving this allowance. Please email a scan of your letter to admin@royaldrawingschool.org.

Tower Hamlet and Hackney residents are eligible for a 25% discount on courses at Shoreditch; to apply participants must show proof of living in these boroughs in the form of your most recent council tax bill. Please email a scan of your letter to admin@royaldrawingschool.org.

Tower Hamlet and Hackney businesses are eligible for a 25% discount on courses at Shoreditch during the Summer Term; to apply participants must show proof of working in these boroughs in the form a staff ID, business card, or headed letter from your line manager. Please email a scan of your proof to admin@royaldrawingschool.org.

Individuals over the age of 60 may apply for a 10% discount on courses at Shoreditch; to apply participants must show proof of being over 60. Please email a picture of your ID to admin@royaldrawingschool.org.

To apply for a concession:

  • first submit any documents/proof pertaining to the concession you are applying for, to admin@royaldrawingschool.org. 
  • wait for an email confirming your concession has been approved before booking and paying for your course.

Please check that your evidence:

  • is dated within the last 6 months from the start date of your course, or within the last year if pertaining to council tax. 
  • shows your name as a claimant
  • is presented to us in one of the following formats: PDF, JPG, .DOC or .DOCX


All of our course rates are subsidised and we also offer a comprehensive concessions scheme. View all course fees and concessions.