A Drop In Class

As most people who read this are aware. We are a ‘Drop In’ class. That means you don’t have to book, or attend every week. or make any form of commitment. It also means we can’t predict numbers. A week or two back there were only a handful of people. This week lots of people turned up. Lots of people that had never been before, and you can tell by the variety of styles, and different medium used….examples below…

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!

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.

How to enter your work for Chorlton Arts Festival

chorlton-artsThanks as ever to everyone who came down to our class to sketch our model Jo – a selection of your pictures are posted below. A reminder that we are putting on an exhibition as part of Chorlton Arts Festival and we need YOUR pictures to make it wonderful! Here’s how to enter:

Bring the picture you want to exhibit to any of our classes in April – dates are 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th April. Speak to John, Joe or Chris at the class to enter.

Rules for submission

1. Your submission must be your own work.
2. The submission must be an example of life drawing, either completed in the class or based on sketches made during the class.
3. We must be allowed to exhibit the work for the duration of the festival. Your work will be returned to you once the festival is over.
4. You agree to cover the cost of a plain frame – we can supply the frame, which you will be able to keep after the exhibition. Frames cost around £6 for A4, £14 for A3 – for exact prices, please speak to us at class.
5. The deadline for submissions is 30th April 2014 – work submitted after this time cannot be accepted.

The exhibition will be staged in the Edge Theatre & Arts Centre for the duration of the festival.

For more information, email chrisbartram@gmail.comj.p.lynch@ntlworld.com or while90@gmail.com.

Enter your work in our exhibition!

Manchester Life Drawing Class DSC_0020

Chorlton Arts FestivalChorlton Arts Festival approaches – the annual celebration of all things creative is due to take place this year from 16th – 25th May, and we’re excited to announce that we have an exhibition to put on at the Edge Theatre and Arts Centre! We’d love to exhibit some of the pieces created during our classes, so if you want to be involved, don’t hesitate to contact John, Chris or Joe to find out more. We only have a few weeks to assemble the exhibition so time is of the essence!

There was plenty to put the attendees through their paces at last week’s class, with a number of very short poses, interspersed with longer poses, some experimentation with different light sources, and another challenging walkaround by the model. As ever, here is a selection of your work from the class, hope to see you next time!

Join us at Chorlton Arts Festival in May!

Hi folks! A big thanks to everyone who made it to our class on 1st May, and special thanks to those of you who volunteered to lend a hand over the summer. Tonight’s class will be the last one with Joe at the helm for a while but we plan to continue throughout summer, with maybe a short break for holidays – all updates will be posted on here so keep checking in for the latest information.

There will also be one last chance to see Drawn Together, Drawn Apart, the drawing and dance collaboration featuring some of the art class artists, conceived by Joe along with dancers Joseph Lau and Shona Roberts – it will be taking place at the Edge Theatre and Arts Centre on Monday 20th May from 7.30pm, sharing the bill with Visions of Grandeur, a fantastical dance-theatre work by New York based performer Simone Sobers. This performance will be part of the Chorlton Arts Festival programme of events – more information can be found on their website.

And of course, as always, here is a selection of your pictures from last week’s class – hope to see you at tonight’s class!