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Richard Pikesley

Membership Secretary
Louise Balaam

Drawing School
Jessica Miller

Friends Administrator

All other enquiries

The NEAC is a registered charity
No. 295780
NEAC School of Drawing Curator:

Michael Kirkbride

Life Drawing Classes in London and Elsewhere

'Anyone can draw' is one of the principles of the Drawing School. You do not need to be a member or a Friend of the NEAC, and you do not need to sign up for a term or year or course. It is entirely possible to drop in to any of the courses without booking and draw in our classes, although probably best to email the day before to confirm that the class is running.

Bookmark this page and email the Drawing School Administrator, Jessica Miller, at to get on the mailing list!

The NEAC Drawing School Courses
at the Learning Centre, Mall Galleries

The NEAC Drawing School is at the Learning Centre at the Mall Galleries, where we hold our regular classes on Tuesdays.
Michael Kirkbride NEAC Curator Drawing School

Drawing School

Staffed entirely by members of the NEAC, many of whom have a wealth of teaching experience, the Drawing School offers a thorough and sound approach to drawing in its many forms, with small classes to ensure a personal and individual tutor/student relationship.

The Drawing School is at the heart of what the NEAC represents. We run courses at various venues, mainly in London, on drawing, sketching en plein air, and working from drawing to painting. Courses are constantly in development, so check back regularly to keep up-to-date.

Drawing School Classes

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Workshops at the Mall - Book/Reserve

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Nude On A Chaise by David Parfitt

Painting and Sketching Plein Air in Whitstable
Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May

Catching the Transient: Painting and Sketching Plein Air in Whitstable Kent, with Sarah Spencer NEAC and Louise Baalam NEAC

Information -  This two day workshop will be an opportunity to explore the challenge of working plein air from this unique landscape in both paint and drawing mediums. Famed for its sunsets Whitstable offers an ever changing inter - relationship of light and colour providing inspiration for generations of artists including Turner. Instructive and informal, the weekend is suitable for beginners as well as more advanced artists, and invites participants to develop work in a variety of drawing and painting mediums.
Each study day will begin with a short exploration on foot to source subject matter , and end with an informal plenary session. An indoor space has been booked with superb sea views and facilities in case of inclement weather. Participants may book for one day only if they wish.

Your Tutors:

Sarah Spencer has has lived in Whitstable for over 25 years and has sustained a fascination for this subject within her paintings which are renowned for their symphonic skies and expansive spatial resonance.

Sarah Spencer
Whitstable, High Tide by Sarah Spencer

Louise Balaams'  paintings on the other hand are inspired by an emotional response to the landscape with an intuitive painterly approach which often presents us with an alternative reality. Both artists are experienced tutors , their own creative practice helps to bring an added integrity and insight to their teaching, which will both excite your thinking ,and develop confidence in working plein air. You will also gain from the co- learning experience of creating  alongside fellow artists.

Louise Balaam
Mild Air, From the Loch by Louise Balaam


As soon as you have booked  your place on the course it is advised that you secure accommodation as quickly as possible . Whitstable is a popular tourist destination and places get booked up very quickly. the following are merely suggestions:


Whitstable is well known for its oysters and fine eateries, and there is a wide range of culinary choices. Please be aware that the most popular restaurants must be booked well in advance as competition for tables is fierce. Please feel free to contact Sarah  for further advice -  .


There is an extensive materials list by scrolling to the bottom of this page with  necessary items in bold ,but the following would be most useful to add  for this workshop - something to sit on or small sketching stool, Large golfing or fishing umbrella, lightweight travel easel , or if you prefer an A2 drawing board or similar,if working in oils  a quick drying medium liquin or whatever siccative you prefer.



Saturday 16th May at Keams Yard gallery, Horsebridge Rd, Whitstable at 10.00 am.
Sunday 17th May meet at same venue 10.00am.

Time and Date

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May

10.00 - 4.00pm

£50.00 for one day, £90.00 for two days.

Keams Yard gallery

COST: £50/Day or £90/2 days
Reserve a Place / Enquiry
Need more information?

NEAC Annual Open Exhibition 2015 Workshops

In conjunction with the NEAC Drawing School, the following workshops will take place in and around Mall Galleries during the NEAC Annual Open Exhibition 2015.

Early booking is advised as places are limited to 25 participants per event.

Friday 19 June, 11.30am - 4.00pm
Learning Centre, Mall Galleries
Charles Williams will lead a watercolour workshop painting directly from the model. Having recently published his book 'Watercolour: How To Paint What You See' Charles will be offering sound technical advice on this most challenging of mediums.
Bring watercolour paper, paints and brushes. Book your free place here

Saturday 20 June, 10.30am - 4.00pm
Meet at Mall Galleries
Sarah Spencer will lead a Plein Air workshop which will entail drawing and sketching in Trafalgar Square in the morning, and painting in St James's Park during the afternoon. The emphasis will be on information gathering and visual note taking.
Bring painting and drawing materials. Book your free place here

Monday 22 June, 10.30am - 4.00pm
Meet at Mall Galleries
Julie Jackson will hold a workshop which will explore the relationship between figure and landscape. Initially you will sketch from examples in the NEAC exhibition where a figure/landscape dynamic has been expressed, and afterwards you will draw on location in St James's Park and environs. The aim is to develop notational work which could inform future paintings and improve compositional skills.
Bring drawing and painting materials. Book your free place here

Tuesday 23 June, 10.30am - 4.00pm
Learning Centre, Mall Galleries
Melvyn Petterson will hold a workshop which will advise on all aspects of printmaking. He will be demonstrating with various media, techniques and tools, giving an invaluable insight into his artistic practice.
Bring sketchbook and drawing materials. Book your free place here

Wednesday 24 June, 10.30am - 4.00pm
Alex Fowler will hold a still life drawing and painting workshop exploiting the unique light and layout of the Mall Galleries' Learning Centre. There will be a choice of subjects with the emphasis on developing compositional acumen and observational skills.
Bring painting and drawing materials. Book your free place here


Weekly Life Drawing at Mall Galleries
April - July 2015

The sessions this term will be taught by Peter Clossick NEAC.
All levels of ability are welcome,with  some basic materials  provided. Poses vary from short to more sustained, with an emphasis on exploring the broad language of drawing through a flexible approach , and varied methodology.

Some basic materials are provided, but more information is given by scrolling to the bottom of this page.

Time and Date

Every Tuesday, 6pm to 8pm during Term Time.

Summer Term 2015.

Tuesday 21st April
Tuesday 28th April
Tuesday 5th May
Tuesday12th May : No session
Tuesday 19th May
Tuesday 26th May
Tuesday 2nd June
Tuesday 9th June : No session 
Tuesday 16th  June (TBC) 
Tuesday 23rd June
Tuesday 30th June
Tuesday 7th July
Tuesday 14th July
Tuesday 21st July

£20.00 per drop in session
£100.00 for six sessions.

Mall Gallery Learning Centre

COST: £20/Session or £100/6 Sessions
Reserve a Place / Enquiry
Need more information?

Need more information?

Email us at or alternatively leave a message on 07494 343653.

Materials List for Drawing Classes

There are many drawing implements other than pencils – pen and ink, watercolour, pastels, conte crayon, as many different styles and inclinations as there are artists, and they are all useable, but here is a basic list for life drawing classes.

It is best to have some good quality drawing paper, pencils, a craft-knife to sharpen them with, and an eraser. Masking tape is also a good aid.

Paper can be bought in blocks or loose from good art shops. I buy it loose and tear it down to the size I require, but blocks are fine. The best size is the most convenient size for you – if you have long arms and want to make large drawings, buy large sheets of paper, but there is no gain in doing that if you don’t usually make large works. You can always visit the shop again. Buy ‘cartridge’ or ‘drawing’ paper, don’t buy watercolour paper unless you plan to put watercolour washes on the drawing. Keep it in a portfolio, either cardboard or faux leather.

Pencils are graded in hardness, from 7H (very hard) to 6B (very soft). For observational drawing, B to 3B is the most useful range. There are many different manufacturers, and it’s best to try various and develop your own preferences.

Some lecturers prefer the use of charcoal to pencil, as it is more ‘expressive’ and putting down tone is quicker and perhaps less stilted. If you have charcoal, you can use ordinary drawing paper, although you can also use ‘ingres’ paper, which has a slight ‘tooth ‘or texture, but you will also probably need a putty rubber. This is unlike a pencil eraser in that it is malleable and becomes more effective when warm. I usually draw with charcoal in my right hand while keeping the putty rubber warm in my left, and when I want to make a correction, I mould the rubber into the shape I need and, rather than rub at the paper as one does with a pencil eraser, dab at it, lifting off the charcoal. A spray can of fixative is useful, or hairspray will do the same – apply it at the end of the session, out of the room. 

A craft knife is better to sharpen your pencil than a sharpener, mainly because you have to concentrate on making your point when you use a knife. Try to keep your pencils sharp at all times.  Elementary advice, but you’d be surprised how often people ignore it.

Recommended materials: Items in bold type are most necessary!
A variety of smooth and rough papers, different types of weight and colour, cut to same size as sketch book unless bringing a drawing board
Sketchbooks –preferably at least one large one and one small one
Black paper cut to same size as sketch book unless bringing a drawing board
Pencils: B – 4B
Graphite sticks
Black ink and drawing pen or gel pen/ sketching pen
White ink and drawing pen or white gel pen/ sketching pen
Watercolour brush
Water pot
Brown ink
Rags or tissues
Craft or Stanley knife
Pencil sharpener
Bag for rubbish
Putty rubber
Hard rubber
Some wet colour medium: Watercolours and brushes, watercolour paper or other painting medium- oils or acrylics as desired with board or canvas paper support
Drawing board and larger sheets of paper if desired
Warm clothes and snacks
Packed lunch
Bottles of water for brushes
Something to sit on: stool or gardening kneeling cushion or a cushion in a carrier bag
Viewfinder – card or otherwise