lifedrawing manchester

Life Drawing at Bar21, January Re-cap

Since starting Bee Creative Studio back in December we’ve continued to grow, with more artists coming to our workshops each week. January when we first began to notice that our hard work and effort to offer the very best in life drawing classes to the artist was paying off. As you may be aware our life drawing workshops are untutored, meaning they are self-directed, informal drawing classes. Although we plan meticulously for each pose, we encourage the artist to experiment as the draw or paint with their own choice of materials at their own pace. In general during breaks or after each session has ended I will talk to the artist about their work, how they felt their approach to the drawing went and if appropriate give some advice on exercises that can help them to improve.

Our January workshops offer a great example of how different techniques can be applied to produce different drawings and how these can be used to improve your skills as an artist.

Here is a brief description of each of our January life drawing workshops. For each of our life drawing sessions we always start with gestural poses, these typically last for 1, 2 or five minutes. They are meant as warm-up poses, they are spontaneous and immediate; the artist will aim to produce rapid sketches of the figure based on careful observation of the model. Gestural drawings are an important exercise for all artists as they enable the artist to quickly assess the form, posture, and composition.

However, due to the short time frame for each pose there is a sense of urgency on the artist to produce a portrait of the nude figure almost in a state of emergency; encouraging him/her to produce a drawing that is both intuitive and accurate. If you are new to life drawing you will find that the gestural poses are not intended for the aesthetic outcome, this is secondary in purpose. The main purpose of the quickfire poses are to enable the artist to express structure, posture, and action. For this reason when we plan for the gestural drawings we aim to provide poses that are challenging and dynamic.


In January we also used other exercises to challenge our artist such as using draping to partially cover aspects of the figure. You can read in full about drapery in life drawing here and how it supports the artist to recognise more easily anatomical regions of the body.

For each of our workshops we aim to use a new model, rotating between male and female, all with very different body shapes and abilities. In January we used three very experienced models; Veronica, Andy and Kim, whom each brought something unique to the workshops. Whether your intention is to draw realistically or abstractly, an understanding of the anatomy can be of immense importance. The body is made of bones, muscles and fat that structure the figure and how we see lines and shapes when drawing. Life drawing classes offer the artist the opportunity to observe anatomy, by enabling them to think about what is underneath the skin.

We hold weekly life drawing sessions at Bar21 in Manchester, check out our upcoming dates or email us directly at : to attend.

Drapery Technique in Life Drawing

We are always looking at how we can present new challenges for the artists that attend our Life Drawing workshops in Manchester, and it was with this in mind that we used draping on our model Andy. If you have never drawn the nude figure while partially covered with drapery, then I would highly recommend giving it a try, this is because it provides opportunities for studying aspects of volume. For anyone unsure, when we talk about volume we are referring to the surface area within a space; the exhibition of height, width and depth, resulting in an implied three-dimensional shape.

Drapery adds so much to life drawing, as it is an ideal tool for accentuating the shape of the human figure. If we look to the sculptures of ancient Greece and Rome, in a paradoxical way it actually enhances the nudity of the model by minimising some areas and accentuating others. And it is in this way draping can also be used as a compositional tool; helping the artist when arranging the placement of the visual elements that make up the pose. When there is draping on the model the artist will consider the following: the direction of the folds and the shadows they produce; how the body underneath supports part of the fabric; how the fabric may billow out or adapt to the figure; and the way gravity influences how the fabric falls towards the ground.


When arranging the study of the draped figure, we considered how the fabric weight, and density determines the quality and direction of the folds, while also allowing us to ‘see’ the anatomical figure underneath. It is for this reason we choose a light flowing fabric, allowing the forms of the nude body to ‘show through’ to an a extent. We also considered the placement of the fabric, placing it so it only partially covered the body, enabling the anatomical regions to be easily recognised by the artists.

We hold weekly life drawing sessions at Bar21 in Manchester. Check our our upcoming dates or contact us to reserve your seat.