Whenever you go a place like the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery or Tate Britain, you'll always find an artist sitting in the gallery with an easel on his/her knees, copying down a work of art on the wall. I've always thought you needed to be quite brave to do that, because you know full well that every tourist will be walking past having a nosey look at what you're doing.
Well... how about doing it in a group instead? With an actual artist walking around, giving you some helpful tips and pointers?
The National Portrait Gallery puts on regular drawing sessions every Friday night, open to all skill-levels, from complete beginners to accomplished artists. They even provide a few basic materials to get you started. You will find that a lot of people bring their own sketchbooks and materials, though, because they prefer to use their own equipment -- some of them even draw their pictures on an iPad, a la David Hockney.
The session is usually held in a different room every week, so you need to check the sign in the main entrance to find out where it is. It will begin with a short introduction at 6.30 PM, but you are free to drop-in (or out) whenever you like. You don't have to attend the whole event -- you can stay for ten minutes or two hours. Of course, you might like to get there nice and early so you can have a walk around the entire gallery first (which is free).
Craig has never attended this actual event (he's totally useless at drawing), but he has written a review of the National Portrait Gallery which you might like to read before you go. You can also ask a question about Drop-In Drawing on the forum.
Guest – “I'd love to drop in and try to draw one of the famous portraits in exhibition. Please I need more informationThank you,Sylvia”
Admin – “What information do you need?If all you want to do is go in with a sketchbook and sit and draw a particular painting, then you can do that anyway -- you dont need to go to this event”
Got a question? – Talk about this event
Craig’s review – “The National Portrait Gallery is probably my favourite gallery in London because it appeals to history lovers as well as art lovers. It's all about the sitters, not the painters. Admire the people, not the paintings. But that's not to say that the paintings aren't good, because they are -- they still have pieces by Hockney and Holbein, etc. -- but if they need a pictu… continued”
Read Craig’s National Portrait Gallery review
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