More on learning to draw

Last month I wrote about learning to draw using Betty Edwards’ book on the subject. This post is about what I’ve done since I worked my way through that book.

It’s a bit lonely working away on your own, and my next move was to try to find a class. Blackburn College, not far from here, had at the time a good range of part-time courses (these days there’s not so much available). I started on a life-drawing course; three hours every Thursday evening of drawing and sometimes painting from a real live model. It was fabulous. I did the same course two or three times, interspersed with something called ‘Open College of the North West’ which is a kind of A Level equivalent, but for adults, and then moved on to City & Guilds Level 2 painting. The formal titles of the courses didn’t matter too much to me; I went for the experience and the outstanding tuition. Blackburn College is an old-fashioned place, and I mean this in a very good way, in that it never abandoned life drawing, even when almost every other college ditched it. So they have a long tradition of teaching drawing. The tutors are excellent: take a bow, Mark Edmundson and Richard Cross. I learned lots from them both. The painting below is one of Richard’s.Richard Cross - Two Mirrors

My other main experience of going on courses has been taking life-drawing classes in London with Rachel Clark. She is another brilliant teacher: critical, encouraging, rigorous and dedicated. She has been running courses for many long years, and I went to several. I’ve not been for a while, although Rachel assiduously keeps me up to date with the details. The courses are relatively expensive (although definitely worth it) but the problem if you live outside London is that you have to add in the cost of staying in London for up to four days, plus the cost of travel, in my case from the North-West of England to London. (Note to readers outside the UK who haven’t visited: the inter-city train fares here are larcenous). So it all adds up.

The other thing I’ve done that everyone should do, if they want to draw and improve their drawing, is to, well, just draw. But I know that I haven’t done enough of it. Life and, especially, work just keep getting in the way. A daily commitment to drawing would be the way forward, if I could just bump it up my list of priorities. Ah, well, tomorrow is another day.

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