Life drawing – light and shadow with Jake Spicer

Ref: SLW09743

Suitable for all

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Places available

About this course

Hone your eyes and technique to the nuances of light and dark in the human figure, drawing from a life model in dramatic chiaroscuro.

Course Description

During this course you will learn to better see and represent tonal values in the human figure. The course will begin with a fast-paced set of exercises, followed by an exploration of light and the shadows it creates on the body. On the second day you will be guided through different methods of drawing tone and on the final day you will have the opportunity to work through a longer pose under the direction of the tutor, exploring how you approach light and dark in your own drawings.

The overall aim of this course is to help you become more confident in perceiving tonal variations in the figure, developing your awareness of tonal edges and gradients in the figure. We will also take an indepth look at different metods for suggesting tone in the body – from expressive charcoal block-work to hatching in pen and pencil to using dilutions of ink to create playful tonal variatons.


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 cost of a life model and the cost of providing charcoal, paper, a 3B pencil, masking tape and paper for the first evening.

What students need to bring

  • A folder or art tube for taking drawings home plus any items you have from the list below.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A3 Cartridge Pad and an A2 Cartridge Pad
  • A range of soft sketching pencils (2B-6B)
  • An eraser, a sharpener
  • Willow charcoal (variety of sizes)
  • Compressed charcoal and a charcoal pencil
  • 0.3 or 0.5 fineliner pen (dip pen if preferred)
  • Indian Ink and a selection of soft (synthetic or sable) brushes
  • Masking tape or board clips
  • Plastic folder for carrying work home
  • Fixative for spraying drawings


Jake Spicer

Jake Spicer is a painter, Head Tutor of Brighton drawing school 'Draw' and co-director of the award-winning Drawing Circus. He has written a series of popular instructional drawing books and has a monthly column in Artists & Illustrators Magazine. Jake also teaches periodically at The National Portrait Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and Brighton University and studied at UCA Farnham, learning to draw under John T. Freeman.


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

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