Course Code E2302DR002
Tutor Zoe Toolan
Course Dates Thursdays: 11th January to 21st March 2024
Times 10:30AM - 4:30PM
Experience Level Ages 18+, All Levels
Fee £630

This course is part of our Elective Skills Workshop series. You will be studying alongside students from our pre-degree and degree programmes.

Traditional, skill based life drawing is complemented with contemporary drawing approaches in this exciting and multifaceted drawing course.

Working with life models throughout, students will begin the course by learning fundamental observational drawing skills in relation to the human form. This grounding will instill practical knowledge and confidence, which will then be used as a springboard for contemporary ways of thinking and working. As well as creating finished pieces, the drawing process will be firmly acknowledged as an art form in itself. Through innovative practical exercises, formal experimentation and group discussion, you will receive a holistic approach to drawing.

Your tutor will support you fully throughout the course in both group sessions and one-to-one support, providing very regular feedback, critique and constructive advice.

By the end of the course you will be able to: 

  • Experiment with different approaches to drawing the body
  • Understand and apply measurement techniques
  • Create rapid, intuitive drawing from short poses using a variety of media
  • Create drawings from long poses using a variety of media
  • Use drawing techniques convey the feeling of mass, volume, form and texture
  • Capture the body in motion and draw moving forms using experimental techniques
  • Explore different ways of creating space within drawings through composition
  • Research, plan and complete a self initiated project

This course is suitable for all levels. Students can move at their own pace depending on their experience, with as much support from the Tutor as they wish.

  • Beginner

    Choose a Beginners course if you are looking for a broad introduction to the medium you are studying. Students spend time learning the very basics of the taught medium, for example, how to mix colours, use different tools, set up an easel. Our Beginner courses are suitable for students with no prior experience, they tend to follow a more structured path than our other courses, ensuring each student receives the guidance they need from the tutor.

  • Beginner +

    Choose a Beginner + course if you are looking to hone your skills, focus on a specific subject area and build your confidence. These courses are suitable for those with some basic skills in and knowledge of the taught medium, but still follow a structured path with guidance from the tutor.

  • Intermediate

    Our Intermediate courses are suitable for students who have considerable prior knowledge of the taught medium or have completed a Beginners/Beginners + course with the Art Academy.

    These courses tend to be less structured and instead are tailored to the classes’ needs and the direction they want to advance in. Choose an Intermediate course if you are looking to improve your skills and have more critical discussions around the work you produce.

  • Advanced

    Choose our Advanced courses if you have considerable knowledge in the taught medium. You are expected to be able to work independently and have critical discussions around your work.

     Our Advanced courses include our Masterclasses.

All attendees must be aged 18 or over.

Zoe Toolan is a working class artist educator from Yorkshire now based in Brighton. Her art is live and social with drawing at its core and learning integrated into her practice instead of a separate activity; she often challenges what drawing is with the aim of opening discussion and debate around wider issues. Zoe is passionate about art being an essential part of everyone’s everyday life and has shown work in spaces ranging from traditional galleries to music festivals. She has completed projects for bodies including L.A.D.A. and Axis, and is a contributing author to DK’s The Artist’s Manual. 


You will need to have a good range of drawing materials – including but not limited to – willow and compressed charcoal, range of pencils, eraser and putty rubber, fine line pens.

See the daily breakdown for other preparation requirements each week.

If you do not have your own materials, we recommend you order a Drawing Pack at the time of booking which will be available when you arrive for your first class.

A Drawing Pack (£25.00) contains:

  • One set of lead pencils (2B, 4B, 6B)
  • One box of willow charcoal sticks
  • One box of compressed charcoal sticks
  • One set of conté crayons
  • Putty Rubber
  • Eraser

Mermaid Court

165A Borough High Street
London SE1 1HR
tel: +44 (0) 207407 6969

Nearest Tube/ Rail: London Bridge or Borough (both a 5 minute walk).

Please note that London Bridge has two exits, the most direct route is to follow signs to “Borough High Street”.

Students are welcome to use our Common Room/ The Barn during break times, where you can prepare hot drinks and/or food.

You are also welcome to make tea or coffee.

  • You will need to have paid in full before the first session of your class. Your place is not guaranteed until we have received full payment. Please book early in order to guarantee your place on the course.
  • If you purchased a pack online this will be given to you on the first session of your course upon your arrival. Packs can be purchased on our Materials Page or on the individual course page when you make your booking.
  • Please don’t wear your best clothes as there is always a chance you will get messy. If possible bring an apron or overalls.
  • All artwork MUST be taken home at the end of the course or it will be disposed of. Paintings that need to dry should be collected within a week. For clay sculptures that need hollowing and firing, you will receive a separate email when they can be collected.
  • Please ensure that your mobile phone is switched off or is on silent during the class.
  • Health and Safety Guidelines will be provided to you at the beginning of your class.
  • Sometimes our photographer will pop in to get some images of our classes in progress. We will typically inform you beforehand if photography is taking place during your class; if you do not want to be photographed please let the photographer know!
  • To find out more about what’s going on at the Academy follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you’d like to share images of your course, your progress or your finished work we’d love to see them! Please bear in mind you must have the permission of tutors, other students and models to photograph them.
  • If you would like more information or advice please contact
  • For further details please see our Short Courses: Regulations & Policies page.

From: £630.00

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