Figure drawing – sustained pose with James Napier


Ref: S5D12469

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About this course

Drawing from the model in a sustained pose you will learn to develop an accurate naturalistic drawing using the sight size technique adopted by artists such as John Singer Sargent.

Course Description

Drawing from the model in a sustained pose over five days you will learn the fundamentals of the sight-size technique in the context of line and mass drawing.

The tutor will teach a clear and simple approach to developing an accurate, naturalistic figure drawing using the sight-size technique used by many artists such as John Singer Sargent, in which the artist sets a vantage point where the subject and the drawing surface appear to be the same size.

You will use a variety of measuring tools (which can include mirrors, levels, and plumb-lines) to help you draw the model so that, when viewed from that set vantage point, the drawing and the subject have exactly the same dimensions. When properly done, sight-size drawing can result in extremely accurate and realistic drawings. It can also be used to draw the exact dimensions for a subject in preparation for a painting. Professional artists, in time, develop an ‘eye’ that precludes the need for measuring devices and plumb-lines, but the observation method itself is not abandoned – instead it becomes second nature.

You will work in either pencil or charcoal from the same spot each day enabling you to experience the value of studying a prolonged pose. The tutor will give continual critiques and feedback throughout the process.

This course will address:

● Accurate measurement and proportion

● Understanding of line and mass drawing

● Use of value in order to create the impression of form and light

● Use of pencil or charcoal

You will leave with an accurately observed drawing and a keen understanding of the sight-size process, to achieve a likeness through considered proportion, line and value. The skills learnt will be transferable in approach to seeing in your future artwork.


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 until 9pm, 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


  • On this course the tutor will supply all of the materials including: pencils, canson paper, charcoal eraser, plumb line, mirrors – black and clear, masking tape.
  • The College will provide a model for the duration of the course.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • General art materials such as paper, pencils, rubbers and willow charcoal.
  • Available from tutor:
  • Clutch pencil HB, vine charcoal
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


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

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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