the drawing Studio
practical courses for everyone
The Drawing Studio, open since 2010, is an inspirational space dedicated to the teaching of disciplined drawing, sculpture and anatomy, skills that underlie successful design and art. The challenging, process-driven full and part-time courses are not directly concerned with art-making or self expression, but instead provide students with universal skills aimed at making them more confident, articulate and effective in whatever endeavour they are in, or are pursuing. The studio is located on Merrion Square in a Georgian town house, neighbouring the National Gallery of Art, the national museums, Leinster House and Government Buildings.
1Discipline 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

9 weeks | newcomer / all levels | €290

This empowering visual-training course begins with a slide lecture that will give the historical context of the course and discuss 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 | €260

    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 where to find their own feet.

    Students will work from several of the Cours de Dessin prints, completing several prints 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 | €260

    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 more elaborate form and shape problems. 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 convincing 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 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 their own body.

    1. Introduction to Artistic Anatomy

    9 weeks | drawing and note-taking | newcomer / all levels | €290

    The 9-week introduction course is focused on unlocking the complex study of artistic anatomy. It is not a drawing course (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), but drawing is used to present and break down the subject in step by step easy to understand exercises.

    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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  • 2. Essential Artistic Anatomy

    16 week Modelling Course | Continuing / Experienced Students | €540

    In this 16-week modelling course students can further their knowledge about the structure of the figure. Working for eight-weeks with modelling wax on a wire armature students will model the skeleton, which is the framework for understanding the movement and pose of the body.

    The skeletal structure’s intricate details in terms of forms offer an invaluable modelling exercise and the foundation in understanding the human figure. In a further eight-weeks students will model the muscle system, by adding successive layers of muscles to one side of the body, learning about the shapes, origin and insertion points and the groups of muscles that make up each portion of the human body. This exercise will unlock and simplify artistic anatomy and will improve students approach and understanding of the complex and dynamic human figure.

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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. Proportions of the Head

    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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  • 3. Portrait with Life model

    9 week Modelling Course | experienced / continuing | €310

    Continuing students have the opportunity to work with a life model to sculpt a portrait with a strong focus on likeness, reinterpretation of the face, using the knowledge they have gained during the classes at the studio. The sessions will be guided by modelling demonstrations of the difference between study and expressive, interpretive modelling. Experienced artists and students are welcome to join this class. Places are limited and the class happens only two times a year.

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  • 4Life Drawing

    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.

    These intensive two day sessions, held at certain times throughout the year, offer the chance to completely immerse oneself in life drawing. The studio dedicates the principal room for students to draw as if in the classical ateliers.

    These sessions are supervised, with an experienced artist at hand to offer tuition upon request. Accurate observation with a structured, systematic method of drawing will be taught to those who request it.

    Life drawing sessions will begin early 2016. 

    If you would like to receive special group classes contact us below.

    5Drawing Studio Full Time
    Full-time practical training

    Six-months | three full days per week | Cross-discipline course | Places subject to an interview.
    January 11th, 2016 – July 13th, 2016 | 9am – 4:30pm | Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday | Cost: €4,000

    The Drawing Studio offers students a unique full-time training experience in 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.

    Students will study the discipline of drawing, along with the Bargue-Gerome Cours de Dessin ( see “Discipline of Drawing” above ), where they will learn the fundamentals of a logical approach to drawing, focusing on construction, simplification and accuracy. Drawing from plaster casts will deepen the student’s understanding of volume, mass, value and light effect.

    Anatomical drawing classes will enhance knowledge of the human form. Sculpting the full-figure will provide the opportunity for understanding the bones and muscles in three dimensional planes. Through anatomical portrait sculpture, students will learn the essential forms of the human head.

    Emphasis will be placed on providing skills essential to the development of any creative professional or non professional practice, while sharpening one’s critical eye. The combination of visual and tactile approaches will give students a solid foundation which can be applied to many creative endeavours.

    Spaces are limited to ensure that each student receives ample attention, and admission will be subject to an interview.

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