Life drawing has long been a key part of formal art education, and it is a very useful practice for both beginners and expert artists- there is always something new to learn about the human figure. With online life drawing classes being delivered around the world, technology allows you to join a class wherever you are, so long as you have the appropriate technology!
The Advantages of Taking an Online Life Drawing Class
While restrictions prevent artists from attending life drawing classes in person, drawing from a screen might seem like a poor alternative. It is always possible to find a reference image online and draw from it, but there are many reasons why joining online sessions can be far more enriching.
- When the online classes are led by a tutor, they can give helpful guidance and tips throughout the session. It might be less hands-on than a session in real life, but some artists might prefer it to having a tutor looking over their shoulder! Not all classes are guided, and these can feel more informal, allowing you to take your drawing in your own direction.
- Virtual classes provide an opportunity to meet other artists, and share artwork and encouragement.
- Time limits can be difficult to self-impose, but online classes can provide structure to a drawing session. They often include a mixture of short and long poses which encourage you to be either fast and decisive with your mark-making, or more considered and detailed, depending on the length of each pose.
- Some virtual life drawing classes are recorded, so you to take them at a time that suits you.
Here are a selection of some of our favourite online life drawing facilitators. Where possible we have ensured that models are paid fairly and the collectives listed offer classes that celebrate diversity and are inclusive and safe for all. Please suggest your favourites in the comments for others to explore, and you may find your favourite class added to the main list.
2B or not 2B Collective (London, UK)
2B or not 2B are a BIPOC collective that focuses on inclusivity and diversity. This is largely reflected in the roster of models that work with the group, who in the past have included every kind of model, including BIPOC, models with disabilities, acrobats, LGBTQ+ models, night performers, plus many more – thus celebrating the true beauty of the human form in its many colours, characters and sizes.
‘We are a group of artists who met back in 2012 at a regular life drawing class in East London, before starting our own in 2017, launching at a pub called The Macbeth hence our Shakespeare inspired name.
Fast forward to a post-Covid world, our life drawing class has found a home online after the pandemic struck, we’re now running several classes a week to serve hundreds of artists around the world stretching from continents as far as Australia, Asia and Southern America. It has provided a safe, affordable and accessible creative outlet for artists all around the world. We have been touted as a stable source of good mental health upkeep by many of our artists.
Our aim is to provide a fresh take on what life drawing can be, so that our artists can switch off from the world for a couple of hours, practise their drawing, and socialise within an informal environment (we play the best tunes!).
Come join our next session and tap into an international network of talented, friendly and open artists, we’d love to have you along!’
Sessions are on Tuesdays and Fridays, 7-9pm and Sundays, 2 – 4pm.
Drawing Life (Glasgow, Scotland)
A selection of live via Zoom and pre-recorded life drawing classes from Drawing Life Glasgow, founded by artist Hugo Wijngaard. With the aim to reach a wider audience beyond those already affiliated with traditional life drawing practices, Drawing Life keeps prices affordable and accessible to everyone.
As one of the first groups to make the move to virtual platforms, they will be celebrating their Zoom anniversary next week. They have worked hard to ensure that classes remain safe and ethical for models, including the model in every stage of the process and sharing 50% of the income. They collaborate with local and international models to curate a unique life drawing experience that celebrates both the model’s artistic identity and mutually shared interests.
The shift online has inspired exploration into ideas that were once unachievable in real life; they push the boundaries of what life drawing can be and provide surprising and innovative classes derived from historical material and concept-driven narratives.
You can also find a wide range of high-quality photo references from previous sessions that can be purchased and painted from in your own time.
Henley School of Art Life Drawing (Oxford, UK)
Henley School of Art offer bi-weekly unguided Life Drawing Sessions, enthusiastically and meticulously run and curated by experienced tutor & HSA co-director Jo Harris. Using a diverse range of world-class models, HSA life drawing sessions are ‘real show-stoppers with enormous feel-good factor’. More focussed, instructed online classes are available on their website.
HSA also run online animal life drawing sessions once a week with tutor and HSA co-director Holly Surplice. Sessions are sometimes live with animal models, or created with moving footage and still photography from some of the world’s leading wildlife filmakers. These classes are much anticipated each week by regulars and are a friendly & inspiring place to feel connected with nature and art.
LiveArt Online (London, UK)
Following the success of regular live life drawing sessions online via Facebook, Life Arts Stockwell has now compiled a library of pre-recorded life drawing session, so you are able to pay and play at your convenience.
Limassol Life Drawing Club (Limassol, Cyprus)
Join Limassol Life Drawing Club (the only online life drawing class in Cyprus!) for classes to suit all levels of experience. Follow the club on Instagram or Facebook and you will find details of all the different classes that they run throughout the week, and when the next class is in their highlights. All classes are delivered on Zoom.
London Drawing (London, UK)
London Drawing originally built their reputation through running a successful regular life drawing class within the Tate Modern galleries from 2006 – 11. Since then they have been running drop in sessions around London as well as one off workshops. They are experienced in bringing their life drawing sessions to an online audience, accessible via their website, where you will also find recordings of previous events, including the ever colourful ‘Drawing Theatre’. Two hour sessions via Zoom, from £8 plus booking fee (£1.37).
Purdie Life Drawing (Bristol, UK)
Antonia Purdie is a multi-skilled performer, who specialises in aerial hoop and fire fans, and provides online life modelling sessions, as well as photo references to artists. Sessions are informal yet structured into 20 minute and longer poses via Zoom. A two hour session is usually £6. For further information visit Purdie Life Drawing on Facebook or Instagram.
Raw Umber Studios (Somerset, UK)
Raw Umber Studios are a Stroud-based artist studio who specialise in a classical approach to painting and drawing the figure. During the pandemic the studio has brought their expertise online, and offer regular figure and portrait sessions via their website, with professional guidance throughout each session. Click here to read an interview with the founder of Raw Umber Studios, Neil Davidson. From £5 per session for pre-recorded sessions on their website.
Reconfigure Life Drawing (Edinburgh, Scotland)
The homepage of the Reconfigure website is so welcoming and full of positive words that it immediately makes you want to be part of this community. Organiser Topaz places the highest importance on fairness – and offers sessions at rates for those on a regular wage, and a separate rate for those ‘on generous salaries’. Profits are split equally among the models and the organiser, with the option to tip the model should you wish to. Reconfigure also offer photo bundles of previous sessions. Topaz says, ‘Sessions are a collaboration between myself and the models, and a platform for their artistic interests, experimental ideas, and aesthetic. Also, I myself have the double perspective of being a life model and an artist, and so as the organiser use my own experience to create an environment which best allows everyone to flourish. Participants are also encouraged to hold up their work in the break, and after the session. Far from being intimidating, we find this encourages one another to try new ideas out, admire the diversity of approaches, and support each other’s progress’.
Life drawing with Reconfigure happens on Wednesdays, 7-9pm, and is accompanied by a specially curated playlist which you can listen to while you draw, or otherwise you can mute it! All sessions are on Zoom.
The Renaissance Workshop (London, UK)
The Renaissance Workshop was set up by History and Philosophy graduate Jonathan Long in order to realise his vision of society having a real connection to the cultural roots of Western Civilisation. The Renaissance Workshop is underpinned by a passionate and robust affirmation of Western culture and its remarkable artistic and intellectual legacy. The Renaissance Workshop offers a variety of online content, from 6 week drawing courses to weekly life drawing via Zoom. £6.99 for a 2 hour life drawing session.
That Bare Life (London, UK)
‘Bare is a Life Drawing collective with its origins in, and a strong focus on, body positivity and self-love.
We aim to empower POC & Queer bodies by catering to the Nude Arts through safe spaces.
We provide ethical pay to all our models with 50% going directly to them.
Come and create with us at our weekly Virtual Life drawing sessions via Zoom every Monday/Thursday 7PM GMT.’
United Models Life Drawing (Bristol, UK)
United Models are a collective of life models that have been organising online Zoom life drawing sessions throughout lockdown, and organise real-life events when possible. Sessions usually run on Tuesdays, 7-9pm via Zoom, and portrait sessions run on Sundays 6-7pm. In addition to this the group run special events most months. This month’s special event runs this Friday 12th March, and is a celebration of People and Poetry, as the group in vite poets and musicians to perform as an accompaniment to poses. (click here for details). Follow the group on Facebook or Instagram for further information on all sessions.
Winchester Life Drawing Club (Hampshire, UK)
Winchester Life Drawing Club congregate over on Zoom every Wednesday and Thursday evening for hour long sessions, 7-8pm. Sessions cost £6, and models are beamed in from wherever they happen to reside, and represent a diversity of colours, shapes and sizes. Follow Winchester Life drawing Club on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date on which models will be working with the club next.
Need supplies for your next life drawing class?
For a general directory of online art classes click here