Royal Drawing School

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Course provider overview

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"The Royal Drawing School runs over 250 different full and part-time drawing courses each year for adults and children of all ages and abilities."


The Royal Drawing School is an independent, not-for-profit resource that aims to raise the standard and profile of drawing through teaching and practice. We are one of only a few institutions in the world offering in-depth, quality tuition in drawing from observation. 

Drawing is a primary language natural to all human beings, and fundamental to all aspects of learning and thinking from childhood onwards. It is a crucial route to innovation across the creative disciplines and beyond, from fashion, fine art and animation to filmmaking, product design and engineering. For some people, drawing is the easiest way of thinking.

By offering tuition and resources to art students, artists, children and the public, we aim to address the permanent need for high-quality drawing teaching in the UK, filling a gap left by the steady erosion of observational drawing from the study of art in higher education and in schools.

Founded in 2000 by HRH The Prince of Wales and artist Catherine Goodman as The Prince's Drawing School, we became the Royal Drawing School in 2014.

Public Courses

Our public courses offer daytime and evening courses in drawing suitable for all levels, from complete beginners to experienced artists and creative professionals. Our public courses are organised into two main programmes based at the Royal Drawing School Shoreditch and Royal Drawing School West in South Kensington. Many of these courses also take place outside of the studio, in museums and galleries and London's streets and green spaces.

The Drawing Year

The Drawing Year is a full scholarship MA-level course offering up to thirty students the opportunity to focus on drawing from observation for one academic year. There are no tuition fees for The Drawing Year – all students are awarded a full scholarship and receive a free studio space in the iconic Tea Building in Shoreditch.

The Foundation Year

The Foundation Year is a one year skills-based course with five days’ teaching a week and 45 limited places to ensure one-to-one tuition, in an inspiring part of London’s Docklands buzzing with creatives and artists’ studios. It is free to 18 and 19 year olds with some bursaries available for over-19s.

Young Artists Aged 10 - 18

Young Associates

Our Young Associates programme is open to students in school years 10 to 13 considering careers in a broad range of subjects for which drawing from observation provides an important foundation. As well as fine art, these subjects include graphic and product design, fashion, film-making, architecture, photography and engineering. In particular, we welcome students who are considering applying to our Foundation Year.

Drawing Clubs

Our weekly Drawing Clubs for 10 to 14 year olds are open to children who love to draw and who are able to commit to attending a weekly after-school or weekend class. The Drawing Clubs are led by professional artists who are alumni of our postgraduate Drawing Year, and experienced in teaching children.

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What to expect

Royal Drawing School Shoreditch runs over 38 drawing-based courses every term, encompassing the different strands of our curriculum: Drawing in the Studio, Drawing London, Drawing from Art and Drawing and Imagination. The programme is open to all levels, from the professional artist to a complete beginner. The programme is taught by a distinguished faculty of over 55 practising artists. Studio-based courses run from our top floor converted victorian warehouse in Shoreditch and Out of House courses take students out to draw in London's museums, galleries, streets and green spaces. The Shoreditch programme also includes printmaking courses that run from the on-site intaglio print room and art history lectures and in-conversations with contemporary artists on Wednesday nights. On Monday evenings there are free Life Drawing and Etching courses and on Fridays there is a free Drawing from Art course for London  Art Students.

Royal Drawing School West - The programme of public courses at Royal Drawing School West is run from our beautiful, well-lit, victorian studio within the Sydney Close Studios complex in South Kensington. The programme incorperates drawing, painting, and sculpture, and out of house courses making use of west London's rich resources, from Kew Gardens to the V&A Museum. 

Evening courses generally run from 6:30pm - 9pm with short breaks. Tea and biscuits are provided.

Materials: Drawing boards and easels are provided for all classes. Paper is available to buy at cost price and charcoal is provided free of charge.

‘Out of House’ courses are held in museums, galleries and public spaces in and around London. If you enrol in one of these courses you will be sent a fact sheet detailing where and when to meet and what materials you are required to bring.

Etching is seen as an extension of drawing. Royal Drawing School Shoreditch runs a programme of etching classes in its basement workshop. Etching courses are taught from Mondays to Saturdays by experienced printmaking tutors and there are also evening classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There are drop-in sessions for experienced etchers on Fridays and Saturdays. Etching classes are unsuitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women or those sensitive to chemicals. All students will be asked to fill out a disclosure form on the first day of class.

Students: All courses are for students aged 18 and over apart from Life Drawing for Young Artists on Saturdays for 14-18 year olds, or unless otherwise stated.

Accessibility: The school at Shoreditch is fully accessible by wheelchair.

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Course fees

The Royal Drawing School is committed to making all courses offered affordable and available to those serious about drawing from observation. Therefore, the Royal Drawing School offers a number of concessions on each course. Students may only apply for one concession type. To apply for a concession please contact the office.

Royal Drawing School Shoreditch

10 Week Drawing Courses
Daytime £355
Evening £175

Film Club and Drawing from Film
£80 for 10 sessions

5 Week Short Courses
Saturday Etching £155

Drop-in Classes
Life Drawing £35 full-day, £18 half-day
Friday Etching drop-in £26
Evening £14 (Fridays only)

There is no need to book in advance for drop-in, simply pay your fee at the start of the class. Please bring proof of status to the class for concessionary rates where applicable.

£5 full price / Free for alumni / £3.50 for students including students studying on any Spring Term course at the Royal Drawing School. Please bring student ID as proof of status.
Human Anatomy Lectures £5
No advance booking, pay at the door
Please note there are no concessions for lectures and films

Life Drawing £35 full-day, £18 half-day
Life Drawing for Young People £5
Etching drop-in for experienced etchers £24 per session

Royal Drawing School West

Drawing Courses
10 Weeks / One day a week
Day £385
Evening £195

Out of House Courses
10 Weeks / One day a week
Day £385

Painting Courses
10 Weeks / One day a week
Day £455
Evening £220

Sculpture Courses
10 Weeks / One day a week
Day £455

Drop-in Classes*
Drawing at The National Gallery
£14 / free for London Art Students
*There is no need to book in advance for drop-in, simply pay your fee at the start of the class.

Please see the concessions & bursaries page for more information


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Royal Drawing School Shoredtch

Our Shoreditch studios were the first home of the Royal Drawing School when it was founded as The Prince's Drawing School in 2000. The converted 19th-century warehouse houses our main campus and head office. All of our Drawing Year classes, forums and lectures, and a large proportion of our drawing-based public courses, also run from here.

 There are two spacious, fully equipped drawing studios on the fourth floor, with skylights, large windows, daylight lights and a reference art library. There is also a large ground floor exhibitions gallery and an intaglio print room. Students are invited to use the sofas and tables in the ground floor gallery area for lunch, or to explore the many surrounding cafés.

 The studios are based in the heart of East London’s art, design and fashion scene. They are close to galleries such as White Cube, Rivington Place, Flowers East and the Whitechapel Art Gallery, as well as many artist-run spaces in Bethnal Green, Hoxton and Hackney.

The Shoreditch studios are fully accessible by wheelchair.

View map and contact details  

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Royal Drawing School West

The School opened its West London base at Sydney Close Studios in South Kensington in 2013. The programme emphasises the interplay between drawing and working into other media and runs public courses in drawing, painting and sculpture. The programme's Out of House courses also make use of West London's rich resources, from Kew Gardens to the V&A.

All of our courses are taught by a distinguished and experienced faculty of practising fine artists each with their own approach. All courses contain an art historical element to contextualise the medium and its techniques.

Sydney Close Studios is a large purpose-built Victorian studio with double-height vaulted ceilings and lots of natural light.

Our presence at Sydney Close is the result of a collaboration with the Machin Arts Foundation, the legacy of the late sculptor Arnold Machin, who used the studio from the 1950s until his death in 1999.

Many notable artists and designers have lived and worked in Sydney Close Studios over the years including John Singer Sargent, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Joseph Boehm and Sir Edward Poynter. The Survey of London also records that Suffragettes operated a secret press from the cellar of number 5 for a time.

Sydney Close Studios is centrally located just off Fulham Road, five minutes walk from South Kensington tube station.

View map and contact details


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The Royal Drawing School has a drawing faculty of over 75 distinguished practising artists.

Artistic Director                                            
Catherine Goodman


Howard Marks (Chairman), Dr Loyd Grossman CBE FSA (Deputy Chairman)Charles Booth-Clibborn,Linda Heathcoat-Amory, Katrin Henkel, Tamara Ingram OBE, Christopher Le Brun PRA, Laura Lindsay, Nancy Marks, Julie Nicholls (Treasurer), Felix Robyns, Andrea Rose, OBE CMG, The Hon Lady Roberts DCVO, Dr Charles Saumarez Smith CBE, Baroness Ullens de Schooten, Viscountess Younger of Leckie

External Assessment Board

Graham Southern (Chairman), Sydney Picasso, Neil Jeffries, Martin Clayton & Laura Cummings

Susan Bacon; Jeanette Barnes; Sharon Beavan; Julian Bell; Sharon Brindle; Hugh Buchanan; Claudia Carr; Lucy Cavendish; Mark Cazalet; Daniel Chatto; Ewan Clayton; Marcus Cornish; Johnny Dewe MathewsLiza Dimbleby; George Donald; Ann Dowker; Robert Dukes; Nicola Durvasula; Gethin Evans; William Feaver; Henry Gibbons Guy; Paul Gopal-Chowdhury; Thomas Gosebruch; Emily Haworth-Booth; Julie Held; Francis Hoyland; Timothy Hyman; Maggie Jennings; Tarka Kings; John Lessore; James Lloyd; Endellion Lycett-Green; Charlotte Mann; Frances Mann; Daniel Miller; Harriet Miller; Ishbel Myerscough; Thomas Newbolt; Humphrey Ocean; Andy Pankhurst; Cherry Pickles; Sarah Pickstone; Sara Lee Roberts; Ian Rowlands; Melissa Scott-Miller; Martin Shortis; Ivy Smith; Sophie de Stempel; Louise Sturgis; Glenn Sujo; Will Topley; Charlotte Verity; Susan Wilson

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How to book

To book a course please visit our website or call +44 (0) 20 7613 8568 to speak to a member of our Public Courses team.

To apply for a concession or bursary, please call the office on the number above.

Please visit our website for details on accessibility and other terms and conditions.

Bookings & Refund Policy

Please note that no refund is available once a course has started. If cancelling before the beginning of term, a 50% refund can be arranged.

Please note that places are allocated on a first-come first-served basis and we are unable to transfer courses to the following term. Refunds are not available once a course has started, but, if cancelling before the beginning of term a 50% refund can be arranged. A fee of ₤10 will be charged for bounced cheques.

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Concessions & Bursaries

The Royal Drawing School is committed to making all courses offered affordable and available to those serious about drawing from observation. Therefore, the Royal Drawing School offers a number of concessions on each course. Students may only apply for one concession type. To apply for a concession please contact the office.

Full-time BA students studying for a degree in Fine Art receive up to a 75% discount. Those studying on design or applied arts degrees may also be eligible on a case-bycase basis. Student ID and proof of enrolment must be submitted.

Full-time practising fine artists under 40 years of age in need of financial help may apply for a 75% discount; applicants must submit a portfolio of ten drawings and fill in an application form which can be downloaded from the website. These must be submitted before term starts on 8 and 9 September 2015 only.

Primary and secondary school teachers who teach art receive a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof in the form of a letter from their head teacher or the head of the art department.

Individuals on job seekers allowance receive a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof that they are currently on the job seekers register.

Postgraduate alumni of the Royal Drawing School receive a 50% discount. 

Individuals who receive disability support are eligible for a 50% discount; to apply participants must submit proof that they are currently receiving this allowance.

Tower Hamlet and Hackney residents are eligible for a 25% discount; to apply participants must show proof of living in these boroughs. 

Individuals over the age of 60 may apply for a 10% discount.

If you are still unable to meet the cost of a course despite these concessions, a limited number of bursaries are available. For further details please contact the office.

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Contact details

Royal Drawing School Shoreditch
19-22 Charlotte Road,
London, EC2A 3SG

Royal Drawing School West
Studio 4,
Sydney Close Studios,
Sydney Close,
London, SW3 6HW

T: 020 7613 8568 / Website