Life drawing – the tradition of the masters with John T Freeman


Ref: S3D11469

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About this course

Discover objective and subjective approaches to life drawing utilising the methods and techniques of the masters. Realise your potential by understanding the importance of developing your abilities within an art historical context.

Course Description

Develop the potential of your drawing practice by placing it within an art historical context, and through the use and exploration, in theory, and in practice, of the techniques, strategies and attitudes developed and employed by the masters. Most importantly, it will assist you in helping to clarify the categories and distinctions within drawing, for example, when to use either an objective or subjective approach towards a subject.

Tuition will be given through continuous demonstration and supporting lectures.

The Classical Tradition

Part 1: Developing physical skills and introducing the fundamental principles of the Western Drawing Tradition. (Tintoretto, Rubens, Rembrandt)

Part 2: Identifying and developing the appropriate attitude towards the subject and the introduction narrative. (Rowlandson, Daumier, Piranesi)

Part 3: Refining method and technique. (Degas, Watteau)

The Modern Tradition

Part 4: Developing the subjective: Introducing and realising the potential of various mediums. (Redon, Van Gogh)

Part 5: Developing the expressive. The merging of technique and feeling. (Picasso, Schiele)

The British School

Part 6: Introducing the empirical. The subjective and analytical response. (Uglow, Auerbach)

Part 7: The lyrical, the dramatic and the visionary. (Piper, Nash, Hilton)


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes the model who will sit for the course. Easel, board and portable seat.
  • Also the cost of providing: plastic eraser, solid graphite chunky stick 2B and 4B, compressed charcoal stick 3B and 2B, charcoal pencil B and 3B, Carbothello pastel pencil no.625 and no.675, pencil 2B, craft knife, pencil sharpener.

What students need to bring

  • A3 pad of Arboreta paper
  • Please note: Arboreta paper is used exclusively on the course, not cartridge paper or any other type of paper.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A3 pad of Arboreta paper
  • All drawing materials mentioned above
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


John T Freeman

John T. Freeman was born in London 1958 and trained at Bath Academy of Art ( Corsham ) and Chelsea School of Art . He has taught since 1985 as a freelance tutor and lecturer to all levels of ability across a wide spectrum including the computer games industry , Lion Head and Media Molecule , Hurtwood House School, Watts Gallery, Tate Britain, and the Prince of Wales Drawing School.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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