You don't have to live in the capital to enjoy cultural outings and inspirational artwork. A dozen of museums dot the city, and one can wander through galleries all day long and admire the work of past and present masters.
The Rainy City saw the creation has been at the centre of British art from the times it was leading the Industrial Revolution in the country. The Manchester Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1859 and has been electing the best Mancunian artists to its board ever since. The Academy has been organising exhibitions of drawings, paintings, and sculptures in Manchester and all across the North East England region to promote fine arts in parts often forgotten by London snobby artistic scene.
The city doesn't lack options for art classes either. A lot of independent art studios offers one-day sessions or long-courses that will tutor you in the subtilities of drawing, sketching or painting.
If you're heading to Leeds, you could go to an impromptu class at one of the many great drawing courses of Leeds city.
"Fine art is knowledge made visible."
- Gustave Courbet, French painter, leader of the Realism movement.
The Independent Art School at The Whitworth
The Independent Art School started in 2009 and became one of the best drawing school in Birmingham. Following the successful opening of their second spot in London, the school established its third location in Manchester.
Their professional teachers and artists focus on making art more accessible to people of all ages and level of skills. All the tutors are carefully selected and are experts in their fields with a passion for teaching their craft to new artists.
The Manchester Independent Art School operates from two different locations, one in the Methodist Central Buildings, on Oldham Street (M1 1JQ), the other one at the Zion Arts Centre, on Stretford Road (M15 5ZA).
The school offers an Introduction to Art class where beginners can learn the fundamentals of still-life drawing. Students will be guided through the process of drawing and painting. This 2-hour session will approach the basis of line drawing, proportion and shadings.
Wine and cupcake will be supplied (as well as all drawing and painting materials) and you get to go home with your artwork.
If after this first session you're hooked on art, you can join the "Life Drawing for Creative Development" workshops that the school holds every Wednesdays.
There you will focus your work and effort on drawing life-models, the hardest subject matter there is. This exercise will be perfect to improve your overall artistic skills: painting, sculpting and observational skills are all abilities that you can develop through life drawing.
Every student, beginners, intermediate or advanced can join. Beginners will be closely coached by tutors while intermediate and advanced artists will be able to develop their skills further or even work on their professional portfolios.
This class cost £59 a month but this price includes all the drawing materials you will need (charcoal, pencils, erasers, paper, easel or drawing boards).
"By an irony of fate, my first employment was as a draughtsman. I hated drawing; it was for me the very worst of annoyances. Fortunately, it was not long before I secured the position I sought, that of chief electrician to the telephone company."
- Nikola Tesla, Serbia American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist.
Realistic Academy At Walton Hall
If you wish for a more structured class, joining the 6-week course at the Realistic Academy might just be for you.
The Realistic Academy Manchester (RAM) provides a classical academic program too drawing and painting in the region of Manchester.
The RAM is perfect if you want to commit to learning the fundamental of traditional art, starting with drawing.
Their 6-week course is held every Saturday, each session lasting three and a half hour. During that time you will perform a multitude of exercises focusing on figure drawing and portrait sketching.
The course is divided into five parts:
- The first week is dedicated to learning how to draw lines and shapes. During this session, you will be taught how to hold your pencil to draw perfect lines and render curves and shapes as accurately as possible.
- The second week is dedicated to learning how to represent perspectives and proportions. One, two and three-point perspective will be thoroughly studied and once mastered you will practice putting elements of a subject together.
- The third-week session will be dedicated to the understanding of the negative and positive spaces, how to draw a silhouette and use shadows and light.
- The fourth-week emphasis on light and shades. You will study the anatomy of light and learn to recognise the highlight, halftones, core shadows, reflected lights and cast shadows.
- The sixth week is dedicated to mass drawing which consists of depicting the matter of the subject using masses of tone and colours over lines and edges. This is a critical skill to draw and paint like a real artist.
- The last week focuses on atmospheric perspective where the artists render the effect of the surroundings distance on the perception of a subject. Both near and far objects will be studied and you will play with the contrast of edges, the details and intensity of colours.
Obviously, students are encouraged to practice what they have learned in between session each week, but this thorough program will get you from absolute beginner to confident drawer in less than two months.
The Academy also offers various drawing and painting programs through the years, as well as a year-long studying program where students, attending one session every week will be able to hone their drawing and painting skills.
Louis Smith, the head of the Realistic Academy, has completed his formal training in Florence, Italy. While being an accomplished artist, recipient of the Sky Arts Landscape Painter of the Year Award 2015 and of the BP Portrait Award 2009, Smith now shares his time between teaching at the RA's studios on Mancunian Way and undertaking various private commisions.
"It is by developing the individual that he is prepared for that wonderful manifestation of the human intelligence, which drawing constitutes. The ability to see reality in form, in colour, in proportion, to be master of the movements of one's own hand - that is what is necessary."
- Maria Montessori, Italian physician and educator.
The Manchester Creative Art Courses
Creative Art Courses is an independent art school and studio. It offers a wide range of workshops in Manchester and can accommodate both complete beginners and experienced artists. The beginners' course on offer here will include an emphasis on developing your observational skills while getting to understand the most essential drawing techniques and it will also introduce you to watercolours and acrylic painting.
Evening or weekend adult drawing lessons, children and youth courses or life drawing workshops this studio will take care of all your drawing cravings. Through their instruction and your exploration of painting and drawing, you will build both confidence and technical skills.
If Manchester isn't north enough for you, read more about some great Glaswegian art classes.
"The divisions of Perspective are 3, as used in drawing; of these, the first includes the diminution in size of opaque objects; the second treats of the diminution and loss of outline in such opaque objects; the third, of the diminution and loss of colour at long distances."
- Leonardo da Vinci, Italian polymath of the Renaissance.
Chorlton Alternative Art
The Chorlton Alternative Art was founded in 2010 and has since been focusing on a life drawing class London.
The groups weekly meeting at the Edge Theatre & Art Centre near the Chorlton Methodist Church, are held every Wednesday from 7.30pm.
While these sessions are not lead in a formal way, you will be given lots of tips and advice on how to improve your drawing skills and even though Chorlton Alternative Art welcomes all levels of drawing artists, you will probably get more out of each session if you already know the bases of drawing.
Each class costs £7 (£5 for students) and you just need to pop in whenever you want (no need to book).
During the session, you will be working on one or more life models taking different poses, each one for 15 to 20 minutes. Basic materials such as charcoal, pencils, paper and drawing boards will also be provided.
These sessions are great if you want to practice what you've learned by yourself or through the tuitions of an art teacher. They will give you the chance to experiment with different styles which is one of the ways to improve your techniques.
Jonh James Lynch, the class leader, is a former IT executive who's decided to dedicate his time to art. While he has an extensive knowledge of art in most its forms (drawing, photography, video, glass, woodwork), he won't pretend to be teaching you anything and is rather a guide that enables each session to go smoothly and who will gladly advise newbies on different methods.
Find A Private Drawing Teacher On Superprof
If you prefer to hire a private tutor to come to you to teach you how to draw that can be done.
Find the perfect teach on Superprof, read the reviews former students have left and check if they're available when you are. Superprof offers a wide range of tutors, all vetted and professional artists who will be able to teach you everything you ever wanted to know about the techniques and methods used to draw and paint your favourite artwork.
If you do not live in Manchester, check out our UK guide to the best drawing classes.