Experimental class aims to reinvent life drawing

Anne Noble-Partridge explains how London Drawing successfully tore up the rulebook and reinvented the life drawing art class.

london drawing main

London Drawing took a residency at the Tate Modern, with the lofty aim of reinventing life drawing. Events held at the gallery took the traditionally static discipline and turned 
it into something more dynamic: workshops in which attendees used methods and materials inspired by the art and artists on display, with classes using music, props and performance to bridge the gap between attendee and exhibit.

london drawing

London Drawing's events use methods and materials inspired by the art and artists on display

"The workshops encouraged direct engagement, insight and understanding of the collections on display," says 
co-director Anne Noble-Partridge. "We ripped up the life-drawing rulebook and rewrote it in our own way."

The Orpheus Edition of Drawing Theatre. London Drawing's event with the Little Bulb Theatre was a class mixing art and performance

Drawing events with music and performers are common now, but were unique at the time of the residency, which was between 2006 and 2011. London Drawing continues to experiment with its classes, while also being committed to teaching the basics to artists of all levels.

tate modern london drawing

The organisation’s Drawing from Digital event at the Tate Modern, where London Drawing had a three-year residency

The organisation offers life drawing, life painting and still life, among others, each tailored to the abilities of attendees. Classes give technical advice and demonstrations in key areas such as perspective, anatomy, colour and line. Drawing Theatre showcases London Drawing's more experimental side.

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The Drawing Theatre with performance artists Coffee+Sponge, hosted at Battersea Arts Centre

"The basic premise is to distil theatre down to interesting and immersive scenes," explains Anne, "then draw them. It also breaks down the barrier between passive audience and performer. The performer becomes a conduit through which to explore ideas, concepts and materials – rewriting the traditional concept of working from the life model."

knee highs london drawing

The Red Shoes Edition of Drawing Theatre, in which London Drawing teamed up with Kneehigh Theatre

Anne says they're in talks with English National Opera, planning new events at unique locations. "The Drawing Theatre involves the audience in an immersive experience, where they are a participant in the creative process. This encourages engagement and genuine creativity."

london drawing museum

Every London Drawing class is a unqiue experience, pushing artists' skills to their limits

London Drawing is a collaboration between professional artists, tutors and performers.

This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine issue 117.

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