the drawing Studio
practical courses for everyone

The Drawing Studio, Dublin was founded in 2010. It is now a leading school in practical artistic training, promoting skill in drawing.

The Drawing Studio’s courses are based on relevant classical methods, but incorporate modernist and contemporary approaches. The aim is to improve ones discipline, skill and technique so the creative and artistic impulse can be expressed effectively. The school runs a popular full-time course and weekly classes in drawing. Intensive multiple-day classes are held throughout the year in painting and sculpture, as well as special events and lectures.

We are located on Merrion Square South in the museum/gallery district of Dublin’s city centre.

1The Discipline of Drawing // Courses 1 - 3

These disciplined, process-led courses aim to guide students to a deeper, broader vision of drawing. Conscious observation, control of hand, tools and graphic expression will be developed throughout, as well as exposing students to ways of drawing that have been developed over the past six-hundred years.

Central to each course is the remarkable 19th-century drawing manual – The Bargue-Gérôme Cours de Dessin, originally published in Paris in the 1860s. It was developed by master lithographer Charles Bargue and Jean-Léon Gérôme a professor of painting at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. It was used by artists, art academies and industrial art colleges throughout Europe, teaching the fundamentals of drawing and beyond. Among it’s many beneficiaries were Picasso and Van Gogh.

“The careful study, the constant and repeated drawing of Bargue’s Cours de Dessin has given me more insight into figure drawing. I’ve learned to measure and to see and to attempt the broad outlines…so that what used to seem to me to be desperately impossible is now gradually becoming possible.”

Vincent Van Gogh, September 1881.

To know more about the tradition from which the Cours de Dessin stems

The Cours de Dessin belongs to a long tradition of artistic training which had pupils working from modéles, that is; good models to copy. For centuries, possibly even millennia apprentice painters and sculptors began their training first by copying drawings made by their masters or other artists. Drawing collections served not only as training aids for students but also as references for motifs that could be employed in new works. These collections were among the most valuable workshop possessions, and many artists made specific provisions in their wills to pass them down to heirs or most favoured pupils. This copying was used as a means of absorbing a tradition and set of skills, not dissimilar to musicians developing a broad musical repertoire, or poets their vocabulary.

This wasn’t confined to just western art. The great Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai created an artists manual in 1812, published as Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing. From the 1600s in Europe with the spread of printing, these collections of modéles were organised into a more coherent system to create useful artist manuals. The Cours de Dessin is part of this well established artistic tradition of creating a systemised collection of good models to copy.

– A more in-depth history of artistic training and the Cours de Dessin will be given as a visual lecture, and published in a collectible introductory booklet on the introductory Course 1.

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1. Foundation

March – May 2018

9 weeks | newcomer /refresher / all levels | €295

This course begins with a slide lecture that will give the historical context of the course and introduce the Bargue-Gérôme Cours de Dessin drawing manual. Students will be introduced to the principle “What Happens Here (mind, body, tools) will Affect There (line, drawing)”. Therefore, it is essential that the often overlooked “here” is developed first. This is done through challenging, while often fun drawing exercises or rehearsals that aim at improving the students concentration, focus, patience; as well as their coordination, posture and ability to visualise. The aim is to instil attentiveness with precise observation and articulation. Useful measuring techniques such as the sight-size and comparative, relational approaches will be taught. When applied, students whether advanced or beginner will see their vision and ability dramatically enhanced.

Students will then be introduced to the Cours de Dessin and begin to work from the introductory prints. While referring to the supporting schema’s or guides, they will be taught to reduce the complex form to it’s more essential and manageable elements, while removing the perceptual and mental barriers to clear seeing and thinking. They will begin to appreciate what it means to use minimum means for maximum effect.

Whether a beginner or advanced you will discover that the course’s vital lessons and approach are universally applicable and of immediate benefit to your practice and to your experience of life.


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  • 2. Further Application and Practice

    9 weeks | for graduates of course 1 | €265

    These application and practice-led courses are set up as a bridge course between Course 1 and 3, and is also recommended for those who have completed Course 3, so as to fully realise in mind and practice what was learnt previously.

    The instructor will be at hand to remind and elaborate on what was taught in previous courses. It is a chance to “get it into their bones.”

    Whereas on Courses 1 and 3 students were coming to grips with new information, now they will be left for longer periods on their own, thrown out of the nest, as it were, to find flight.

    Students will work from several of the Cours de Dessin prints, completing a number of drawings during the nine-weeks of class-time. They will also be given prints to work on at home. Individual and group critiques will be held throughout promoting ones critical awareness.

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  • 3. Advancing

    9 weeks | for graduates of course 2 | €265

    Upon completion of the Introductory and Application and Practice courses, students progress on to this next level, where they will work from the more complex series of prints from the Cours de Dessin, Section I, Models after Casts. They will be presented with problems involving tone/value transitions, as well as to those involving more elaborate forms and shapes. 

    Through keen observation and specific exercises they will explore the effect of light (direct, diffused, reflective, its strength: dim or bright) on objects and how this can be convincingly represented. Modelling techniques that give a persuasive depiction of an object in space will be examined. This will be achieved through similar approaches as developed on the previous two courses, namely through generalisation and geometric reduction. Students will learn a way of seeing and of tonal treatment, as referred to by the French painter, Édouard Manet – “Look for the grand light and grand shadow, the rest will come of itself, and often doesn’t amount to much anyway.”

    They will then work systematically from the basic to the complex, while developing a sensibility for what can be left out. There will be an in-depth examination of the plaster-cast drawings of artists throughout their careers, such as; Jacopo Tintoretto, Thomas Anshutz and Paul Cézanne – who made over a thousand drawings after plaster casts. The plaster casts in the Studio will be considered often.

    Students will learn about the interplay of visible/invisible masses and forces that operate through the object and surrounding space, as well as learning to recreate by simplifying forms to their basic geometric equivalents. The aim is to bring a more substantive, sculptural and stable quality to their drawing, along with a reverence for the integrity and dignity of simple forms.

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    Artistic anatomy is key to understanding how to draw and model the human form, whether to accurately represent, re-interpret or design for it, in traditional or digital mediums.
    The studio’s progressively structured courses break down the complex dynamic human form in manageable step-by-step drawing and modelling exercises.

    Throughout students are guided by blackboard drawings, digital projections and modelling demonstrations with a strong emphasis on proportion, structure, function, volume and form.

    Students examine the systems and designs of the human figure, as shared throughout nature and the man-made world, leading to a deeper understanding and appreciation of nature, design and the human body.

    1. Artistic Anatomy with Drawing

    9 weeks | drawing and note-taking | newcomer / all levels | €295

    The nine-week introduction course is focused on unlocking the complexities of artistic anatomy. It is not a drawing course. Rather, drawing is used to present and break down the subject in step by step easy to understand exercises. For those who want to learn or deepen their understanding of drawing please see “The Discipline of Drawing” courses run here, at The Drawing Studio.  

    Classes are guided by blackboard drawing presentations that students will copy, creating their own artistic anatomy reference notebooks. Students will learn a system to draw a proportional figure using the 8 head method. Then they will study the main forms and relationships between them, the joint types and the skeletal mechanics of the body, before moving on to the muscular system learning about the groups of muscles that create the outlines and forms we see every day.

    Through this fascinating exploration into human anatomy students will partake in a study of design, form and function, highly useful for figurative artists working in traditional and digital mediums.

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  • 3Portrait Sculpture
    1. Features of the Face, Michelangelo’s David

    9 weeks | Modelling Course | Newcomer / All levels | €310

    This 9 week course introduces students to the fundamentals concepts of modelling by starting with a series of exercises focusing on approach and methods of creating forms, analysing structure and proportion.

    Students will work with water-based clay using white plaster casts from the iconic features of Michelangelo’s “David” as models to copy. Starting with basic reduction, the complex form is broken down to step by step easy to understand exercises.

    During the course students will complete the eye, the nose, the mouth and the ear gaining a strong foundation which can be applied in traditional or digital model making.

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  • 2. Portrait Anatomy Sculpture

    9 week Modelling Course / Continuing Students €310

    Students can continue their studies, modelling a life size model of the human head, learning about the proportions of the face, the skeletal landmarks of the skull and the muscles responsible for the expressions of the face. This approach is invaluable for the correct understanding of how to represent and reinterpret the human face. While the course is covering the fundamentals of portrait anatomy, it has a strong focus on proportion, structure, volume, form and introduces students to the hollowing of a clay portrait and finishing techniques with water based clay.

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  • 4Weekly Life Drawing Club
    Life Drawing for Experienced Artists & Designers

    Every week on Fridays, 6:30pm – 9:30pm. No instruction provided, self directed. Sessions begin again on February 9th 2018.

    Please email to arrange booking a space. 

    Artists from a variety of disciplines have long recognised life drawing as an invaluable tool for developing mark-making and observation skills, encouraging selectivity, and creating compositions, and as an aid to understanding form.

    Membership is only available to experienced artists and designers. Applications for membership can be made by emailing

    These intensive weekly three hour sessions offer the chance to completely immerse oneself in life drawing.

    The Weekly Life Drawing Club will begin again on February 9th 2018. 

    5Drawing Studio Full Time
    Full-time practical training

    25 weeks | three full days per week | Cross-discipline course

    January 8th – July 11th, 2018 | 10am – 4:30pm | Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday | Cost: €4,000

    The Drawing Studio offers students a unique hands-on training in the museum/gallery district of Dublin’s city centre.

    This interdisciplinary, process-driven course is the only one of its kind in Ireland and has been developed specifically to meet the growing demand for practical artistic training.

    Intensive Tuition

    Drawing Studio Full Time offers more tuition in-house than any other art college in Ireland. A tutor is always on hand and class sizes are small allowing students significantly more personal attention. At other art schools today, it has become the norm for students to be self-directed – only receiving a couple of hours consultation with a tutor per week and the occasional specialised class in, for example lifedrawing.

    On the contrary, The Drawing Studio is all about structured, involved tuition. We are not primarily concerned with self-expression or art-making, rather the emphasis is on teaching the discipline and skills which facilitate art-making. The objective is to instil skills –  visual and manual – which give students the ability to transmit their creative impulse, intact.

    Who is the course for?

    This course is designed for everyone, whether beginner or advanced, young and older, who want to develop useful, practical skills. While obviously key to artists it is just as valuable for those who work, or have an interest in design, architecture, fashion, mathematics, medicine, engineering, film.

    The essential qualification is commitment.

    Enrolment is still open for those who wish to jump aboard!

    What can one expect to achieve?

    While the school doesn’t offer a diploma yet, committed students can leave with something to show, an accomplished portfolio or body of work, which demonstrates a high level of skill in drawing. This is what the working art, film, fashion and media industries are ultimately interested in.

    Times – avoiding rush hour

    Classes: 10am – 4:30pm. Lunch: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

    Class start and finish times miss rush hour traffic

    Course Structure

    Class units are supplemented by personal tutorials, gallery/artist studio visits. Art history and theory lectures by visiting lecturers as well as renowned artists.

    The following will be covered:

    The Discipline of Drawing

    – Foundation

    – Application & Practice

    – Advancing

    Artistic Anatomy

    – Introduction to Artistic Anatomy

    – Essential Artistic Anatomy

    Life Drawing

    – Life drawing with Clarity and Efficiency

    Terms and Conditions*

    Fees are payable in advance. Each course is devised for a limited number of students, so early enrolment is advisable.  All courses are non-refundable, however should a course be canceled a full refund will be given. The Drawing Studio reserves the right to cancel, or reschedule. Course modules may alter. In the event of a public transport strike/closure, or other conditions beyond our control, a session may have to be closed early or cancelled. As we will have to incur full costs for these classes, we are unable to offer a refund but will reschedule the missed class.  The Drawing Studio reserves the right to make appropriate changes to the course timetable and content, or to cancel a course due to circumstances beyond its control. Liability shall be limited to the refund of fees paid in this instance. In general all materials are included.

    *Terms and conditions apply to all the courses listed above.

    Contact US


     74 Merrion Square Dublin 2
     +353 (0)1 554 7819
     +353 (0)87 298 0409
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