Adult Workshop

Life Drawing at Dorset Museum – Eight-week course led by James Meiklejohn

9 October 2023, 2:00pm to 4:30pm

This eight-week structured course is suitable for complete beginners to those with some experience. Each week will cover different principles of drawing the human figure with a variety of exercises, mediums, and models. Classes will start with basic proportions, measurement, gesture, and tone to more intuitive ideas. The course will run in the Museum’s John White’s Learning Centre, a well-equipped North lit studio.

£195 per person for the six-week block. All materials are provided and self-service tea and coffee are provided. Participants can also access the rest of the Museum prior to the start of each afternoon session.

Week-by-week breakdown

  • Week 1 – 9th October: Overall shape of the pose, the gesture or movement in the pose proportion and measurement, techniques; sighting and tools to help with this for example – holding up a straight edge and using frames.
  • Week 2 – 16th October: Simple anatomy of the overall figure (anatomy of the head, hands feet and subtle forms later). Using the space/environment around the model to show angles and curves of the figure. The use of negative space.

Break for half-term

  • Week 3 – 30th October: Drawing at different paces, fast and slow; gestural drawing and contour drawing
  • Week 4 – 6th November: Tone, flat tone (shading as it was known in primary school) flat areas of light and dark of varying intensity, understanding tonal scale. Pitch, even light on model and surroundings or much variation of highlights and dark shadows.
  • Week 5 – 13th November: Combining tone with the modelling of the figure, using marks that flow round the shape of the body like a sculpture.
  • Week 6 – 20th November: Structures/anatomy of the head, hands and feet, planes and facets of the skull, “Kryton” head.
  • Week 7 – 27th November: Introduction to colour and the figure, application and use of tonal contrasts and colour.
  • Week 8 – 4th December: Using colour in various ways to enhance contrast and composition.

About James Meiklejohn

James Meiklejohn is a painter living in Winterborne Whitechurch, Dorset. He studied Illustration at Brighton University (where his lecturers included Raymond Briggs) and Heatherley School of Fine Art, Chelsea where he studied life and portrait painting.

His portraits have been exhibited in the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. In Dorset, his work has been shown at the Jerram Gallery, Sherborne and Sladers Yard, West Bay.

He has been teaching life drawing, portraiture, and oil painting for many years most recently for Dorset Centre for the Creative Arts and also visiting tutor to Sherborne Girls and Hurtwood Internal College. Currently, he runs the Life drawing sessions for Katy Lane’s  Studio at White Hart, Holnest, Dorset.

  • Opening hours:

    Daily: 9.00am - 4.30pm
    Sunday: 10.00am - 4.00pm
    Bank Holidays: 10.00am - 4.00pm

  • Dorset Museum

    High West Street
    Dorchester DT1 1XA

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