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Life Drawing - term-time classes Introduction to Short Courses Summer 2019 Art and Anatomy The Archaeology of the Self Botanical Drawing Chinese Landscape Painting Deconstructing the Cubist Still Life Drawing Book: experiments on paper Introduction to Life Drawing

Introduction to Life Drawing

An eclectic life-drawing course taught over three days by artist and Ruskin alumna Tara Benjamin-Morgan, who guides students in the process of observation and leads them in the development and improvement of drawing techniques.  

Course One - Wednesday 31 July to Friday 2 August

Course Two - Tues 27 Aug to Thurs 29 August

This course, offered twice over the summer, gives an introduction for the beginner, as well as providing individual in-depth tuition to those wishing to explore new approaches to drawing and to solidify the fundamentals.

Tara Benjamin-Morgan, Ruskin alumna and practising artist, will equip participants with a range of approaches to dealing with subject matter in observational drawing. The main thrust of the course will be on drawing from the figure, though still-life is initially used to introduce productive drawing approaches. Students will look to a range of contemporary and historical artists who work in drawing, to develop understanding of a variety of methods and styles. These will also serve as an entry point into the application of more experimental methods of drawing.

Photo: Nancy MacDonald, 2018

Accurate observation will be encouraged and taught throughout, but students will also have freedom to maintain or develop elements of personality within their work.

 The course structure focuses on intensive life drawing, heavily supported by individual tuition and supplemented by an artist talk and a visit to the Ashmolean Museum.

 By the end of this programme students will have engaged in numerous technical exercises and studies. By exploring different methods and approaches to observing, analysing and drawing the figure, they will have developed a portfolio of new work.  

  • "Tara is an extremely good teacher. She gives you lots of constructive criticism which is what I found most helpful. Lots of good advice on observation, technique and tips. She packed in so much information into 3 days that can be taken away and worked on."
  • Course Participants 2017
  • "Really enjoyed the course - totally immersive and lots of opportunity to try different techniques and work out what works best for you."
  • "... I didn't expect to get so much out of it!"
  • "Thanks you for the tutoring, I have improved A LOT."
  • Course Participants 2018


  • Day 1          
  • am: Fundamentals of Observation using still-life
  • pm: Introduction to working with a life model
  • Day 2
  • am: Introduction to Anatomy
  • pm: Visit to the Ashmolean Museum sculpture galleries
  • Day 3      
  • Expanding and Experimenting

Each teaching day begins at 10am and finishes at 5pm (though the studios are open for personal practice from 9am until 6pm). You will be working in the studios at 74 High Street.

The Ruskin will provide each participant with easels, donkeys, paper, pens, nibs and ink, and charcoal. You are welcome to bring along to the course any additional materials, plus your own sketchbook. 

When in the studios, the School offers refreshments all day and there are many restaurants and cafes near the school are available for lunch.

There is a maximum of 10 places.  

Tuition is in English. No academic or artistic criteria are required for attendance on this course although all participants must be 16 years old and over. Please be aware that there is limited disabled access at the Ruskin.

Booking a Place

Ruskin courses are only available to adults over the age of 16 years. 

There are three payment rates available :

Standard: £440.00

Students and over-65s (5% discount): £420.00

Oxford University students, staff and alumni (10% discount): £395.00

If you select a discounted booking rate, you will need to present your University alumni/staff card, NUS card, or some form of identification indicating your OAP status at the start of the course.

Booking can be made at the University of Oxford's Online Store.

If you select a discounted booking rate, you will need to present your University alumni/staff card, NUS card, or some form of identification indicating your status at the start of the course.

These courses are non-residential – participants must arrange their own travel and accommodation. To enjoy the full University of Oxford experience, we recommend booking accommodation in nearby colleges through University Rooms (guests must be 21 or over, or accompanied by someone over 21).


Cancellation Policy

Please note the Ruskin's cancellation policy for the summer short courses.  These policies are in contrast to the terms and conditions listed on the online store and take precedence over that policy.

Deposit, calculated as 15% of the course fee, applies to all courses.

Any booking that is cancelled more than one month before the start date of a course will receive a refund of any fees paid minus the Deposit.

Cancellations received within one month of the start of a course will not be eligiblefor any refund. The Ruskin strongly recommends that customers take out travel insurance against loss of the course fee in case they need to cancel at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances.

Where a customer wishes to cancel a place on one course and transfer to another, this refund policy will normally apply.

The Ruskin reserves the right to cancel a course up to one month before the start date of a course, beyond that point, a course will be guaranteed. If a course is cancelled by the school, participants will be refunded in full.