A bumper gallery of pictures

We’ve got a bumper gallery of pictures to share this time, from the last three classes in June in July. A big thanks to everyone who joined us on a series of balmy evenings over the last few weeks. In June we moved for one week to Studio 2, where the more intimate setting allowed the artists to get to grips with some of the finer details of form. We’re now back in the big room, with the much-beloved theatre lighting.

Don’t forget to register for the Manchester Contemporary art fair, taking place on 26 – 28 September at its new home in the Old Granada Studios. Tickets are free and it’s a great chance to see the work of some of the UK’s best emerging galleries and their artists.


Summer’s here

We hope everyone’s had a chance to visit the MMU School of Art Degree Show – it really is worth a look, as there’s so much going on there. The end of year degree show also marks the start of the summer holidays for students everywhere – if you’ve just finished studying then we hope you’re enjoying a well-deserved break! There’s plenty of art things going on this summer, from the Manchester International Festival in July to the Cornerhouse’s Clifford Owens exhibition, running from May to September. There’s no excuse not to get a bit of culture this summer, come rain or shine!

As ever, here’s a selection of sketches from our last class for you to enjoy, and we’re also delighted to announce that our exhibition of your work is back up on display at the Edge Theatre & Arts Centre! Hope to see you next time 🙂

Upcoming events: MMU Degree Show & Drawn Together, Drawn Apart

MMU Degree ShowIt’s that time of year again – the Manchester Metropolitan School of Art Degree Show kicks off this Friday from 5:30pm! For those of you who haven’t attended in previous years, the MMU Degree Show is probably the biggest event in the North West arts calendar, with hundreds of exhibits covering a huge range of media and disciplines, from fine art, sculpture, textiles and photography to fashion, graphic design, illustration and much much more. More information on this year’s show can be found on the MMU website. The exhibition runs from 14th – 25th June and is well worth a visit.

We’re also excited to announce the return of Drawn Together, Drawn Apart! You can get involved in this unique event, where you’ll have the opportunity to draw dancers as they perform. The show is taking place as part of Create Salford on Saturday 14th June at Digital Performance Lab – the show starts at 3.30pm and is free to attend. We’ve even had a mention on the Manchester Evening News website!

Drawn Together Drawn Apart
Digital Performance Lab
Salford University
Salford Quays

Saturday 14th June 3:30pm

Details of Create Salford can be found on their Facebook page and their website.

And as ever, here’s a selection of sketches from our last class for you to enjoy!

Your sketches from 28th May

Kelly was the model for this week’s class, and we tried a few new exercises to stretch your drawing skills – one such exercise involved a pose where she turned through 360 degrees in 5 minutes. Another exercise involved a pose where she posed for 10 minutes with a robe, then the same pose without one.

As ever, if you have any suggestions for approaches or exercises we can undertake in future classes, please do get in touch via the usual channels. We continue weekly throughout summer, and are excited to say that we are continuing to use the large upstairs space for the class, where we can make use of the theatre lighting to highlight form and shadow during each class.

As usual, here’s a selection of your sketches from the class, hope you enjoy them!

Exhibition news

Manchester life drawing exhibition

Thanks to everyone who made it down over the course of the Chorlton Arts Festival to see our exhibition at the Edge Theatre & Arts Centre – we had a fair few people through the doors over the course of the exhibition, and even managed to sell one of the pieces (well done, Dan!)

The good news is that because the length of the exhibition had to be cut short in order to allow the Edge’s other art class to display their works, we’ve been allowed the chance to put the pictures up again in the canteen for a second exhibition run. Everyone who exhibited is of course welcome to collect their work and frame any time, but if you’d like to be featured in our second exhibition run then you don’t need to do anything. We’ll arrange to re-hang the pictures in the near future – watch this space for updates!

In the meantime, here’s a selection of photos from our Saturday viewing event as part of the Chorlton Arts Festival for you to enjoy! See you next time.

Your sketches from 21st May

Thanks as ever to everyone for coming along to class, where we once again made use of the great theatre lighting rig to bring out shadows and contours in the subject. We also hope you enjoyed our exhibition as part of the Chorlton Arts Festival – watch this space for photos from our launch event!

As ever, here is a selection of your work from the class, hope you enjoy the gallery and see you next time!

Exhibition time!

Well, the Chorlton Arts Festival is almost upon us, bringing with it the launch of our exhibition, which is due to take place from 1pm on Saturday 17th May! We hope you can join us to see the fruits of your labour proudly displayed in the Edge Theatre & Arts Centre. A few of us will be heading to the pub afterwards for a well-deserved pint if anyone fancies joining us. The exhibition will run from 16th – 20th May, so please tell your friends to stop by and see it!

On a related note, due to the Arts Festival, the Edge is engaged in theatre rehearsals and performances throughout May, which means that over the next few weeks we will have to work around the requirements of the theatre. Last week we staged our life drawing class in the middle of a theatre set, which allowed us to set our model in some more interesting surroundings than usual! We will need to continue to accommodate the theatre activity over the coming weeks, so please be aware that some of our classes may take place in our old room on the ground floor. The Edge staff will be able to direct you to the class each week.

Without further ado, here is a selection of your pictures from the last class! Hope to see you next time.

Contrapposto – The classic pose

It’s not long to go now until our exhibition for the Chorlton Arts Festival! A big thank you to everyone who entered work to be exhibited – we’ll be in touch shortly with more details and to arrange payment for the frames from anyone who hasn’t already done so. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy another mini art tutorial – this week, we’re looking at the role the pose plays in composition.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that all of the skill of a well-executed portrait is in the hands of the artist. However, the posture and stance of the model plays a key role in creating a balanced and pleasing piece. One of the most widely used poses in classical art is known as Contrapposto.

Manchester drawing lesson - DavidContrapposto is an Italian term meaning ‘counterpose’. It’s used in the visual arts to describe a human figure standing with most of its weight on one foot so that the shoulders and arms twist off-axis from the hips and legs. This gives the figure a more dynamic, or alternatively relaxed appearance. It can also be used to refer to multiple figures which are in counter-pose (or opposite pose) to one another. The leg that carries the weight of the body is known as the engaged leg, the relaxed leg is known as the free leg.

Contrapposto can be seen in a number of classical paintings and sculptures, most famously in Michelangelo’s David. The first known usage was c. 480 BC in an ancient Greek statue from the early classical period. The pose was revived during the Renaissance by Italian artists including Da Vinci, Donatello and Raphael.

From this basis, artists began to explore how poses can communicate a variety of emotions and attitudes. The next time you sketch a model, have a think about what their pose may be expressing and how you can capture that with your treatment of the scene.

As ever, here is a selection of your sketches from last class for you to enjoy; hope to see you next time!

Last chance to enter our exhibition

As if you needed reminding, it’s your last chance to enter your work in our exhibition for the Chorlton Arts Festival! Simply bring your piece in to the class on 30th April to enter it, either framed or unframed. If you bring it unframed, we can supply the frame – please ask for prices of frames.

If you can’t make it to the class on 30th April, you can still enter your work by emailing chrisbartram@gmail.com, while90@gmail.com or j.p.lynch@ntlworld.com to make alternative arrangements. We do need to collate all the work this week though so please get in touch sooner rather than later!

As ever, here’s a selection of your work from the last class, with some great sketches captured, particularly of the notoriously difficult reclining poses – enjoy!

Light & shadow

Well, the sun has finally shown its face in Manchester, hope you’re all making the most of the rays! In fact, we’ve been inspired by the weather to post a quick tutorial on light and shadow – hope you find this useful.

Understanding how forms behave in different light conditions can help you achieve added realism in your work. Light striking a geometric solid such as a sphere or a cube creates an orderly and predictable series of tones. Learning to identify these tones and to place them in their proper relationship is one of the keys to achieving a look of solidity. The ‘form principle’ is the analysis of nature in terms of geometrical solids, which can be rendered according to laws of tonal contrast.



The two photographs of the sphere show two classic lighting conditions: direct sunlight and overcast light. Each has a different set of tonal steps from light to shadow, known as modelling factors. In the direct sunlight, there’s a strong division of light and shade. The light side includes the light and dark halftones, the centre light, and the highlight.

The terminator, or ‘bedbug line’, is the area where the form transitions from light into shadow. It occurs where the light rays from the source are tangent to the edge of the form. If it’s a soft, indirect light, the transition from light to shadow at the terminator will be more gradual. The form shadow begins just beyond the terminator.

And as always, here is a selection of sketches from recent classes for your viewing pleasure! Don’t forget to bring your in to the next class to enter in the exhibition – all details can be found here.