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Dynamic Gestures Life Drawing Short Course

Course description

Gesture drawing is the starting place for any drawing; the first marks made to build on when observing the action, energy and life of the pose. Gesture poses are held for a short time only, so the model can offer exciting, dynamic poses, (the opposite of a sustained pose). The essence and vitality can be captured in the drawing; little detail. Without good gesture drawing, we cannot continue on to successful or convincing drawings.

Your tutor will teach you some simple techniques to observe the pose and to make strong gesture drawings that represent the human figure as a three-dimensional form in the space it occupies. Through demonstration, individual tuition and support, you will understand simple construction of the body, what the pose is about and how to draw all of it in a short amount of time.

The length of the poses will vary and will be tailored to the needs of the class but generally, short poses are considered to be from between approximately 1mins to 8mins each; we may go shorter!

Each day, we will draw either female or male models; the poses will be creative and dynamic, usually spontaneous with energy and character. This keeps things engaging, interesting, challenging and hopefully, enjoyable.

Using soft pencils, charcoal or chinagraphs, your drawing will improve as your confidence grows. You will be encouraged to develop your own unique style within the context of exploring and experimenting with knowledge required to produce competent work. Whether you join the class for simple pleasure, or to compliment your professional work or educational coursework, your tutor will support you to gain new skills and understand their relevance to your interests.


You will leave this course with an understanding of how the body is constructed, how it moves and balances and how to observe and represent all this, using some simple techniques of gesture drawing. From this observation and practice, you will be able to complete full pose drawings from this and future classes; everyday life observation or your imagination and know how to apply these skills for the foundations of longer, more detailed work.

Who should take this course?

This course is suitable for anyone who is interested in developing their life drawing skills for personal pleasure, professional development or educational coursework. It is also suitable for anyone wishing to add life drawing to their portfolio (either professional or student). The course is particularly relevant for individuals studying or working in these fields: animators; storyboard artists; fine artists; theatre designers; fashion designers.

Clear, easy to understand lessons:

  • Our tutors will explain things in easy to understand, accessible English. If they need to use any special terminology they will make sure they explain what they mean.
  • New methods will be shown to students through live demonstrations, in a way thats crystal clear and easy to understand.
  • Experience life on campus
  • Network and share ideas with students from across the globe
  • Access the technology and materials relevant to your discipline
  • Shop in our college shops for any materials you might need
  • Ask questions of your tutor in real time
  • Receive feedback and critique on your assignments
  • Experience the many sights of London on your down time

A certificate of completion:

  • You've put the work in so we want to make sure you have something to show for it!
  • As long as you attend a minimum of 80% of your classes, we will provide you with a certificate of attendance.
  • We always recommend you attend all of the classes so that you get the most out of the experience!
  • Certificates are great to compliment your cv.

This course is scheduled to run on campus in a face to face delivery format. Please note that due to the ongoing pandemic situation this course may be adapted in line with UK government guidance or other operational requirements. This may include changing course location (to another UAL site), cancellation of the course, or moving part or all of the course online. In the event of any changes being required we will inform you as soon as possible and support you in any changes required. Please bear this in mind when making any travel, visa, or accommodation arrangements.

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please sign up to our mailing list to find out about upcoming dates and new course developments.


Topics covered:

  • Using gesture drawing to represent the human figure as a 3D form
  • Observing and interpreting the life and vitality in the pose
  • Understanding simple body construction
  • Recognising shapes
  • Foreshortening
  • Proportion
  • Body landscape relationships
  • Use of line


Please bring to the first session:

  • Soft pencils: 4B; 5B; 6B; 7B; 8B; 9B
  • Charcoal
  • Compressed charcoal pencils or chinagraphs
  • A newsprint and cartridge paper sketchbook (A2 or A3, or one of each).

Meet the Tutor:

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