Glasgow is the perfect example of a city who successfully transitioned from an industrial hub to a creativity and cultural centre.
Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, Glasgow quickly became the second city of the British Empire. The port of Glasgow, one of Britain's biggest trade centres, created a massive amount of wealth and its industrial heritage can still be seen today.
The Mitchell Library is part of that heritage. The library was bequeathed by Stephen Mitchell, a prosperous tobacco producer and is today one of the most significant reference libraries in Europe, with more than 1.3 million books.
The Spanish Baroque style Kelvingrove Art and Gallery museum was built for the 1888 International Exhibition and was the perfect occasion for Glaswegian to show to the rest of the world the city's rich culture and art scene, despite being one of the most Northen cities in the world, on the edge of civilisation.
In 1990 the city was declared European Capital of the Year. Today, former industrial warehouses and factories have been converted into art studios, and creative industries have replaced the industrial kind.
In 1999, the city was named UK City of Architecture and Design, and it became the first British City to be listed by the UNESCO as a City of Music in 2004.
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Since Glasgow became one of the major European art scenes at the end of the 19th century, it only kept going up. One of the precursors of the cultural prevalence of the city was Glasgow-born Charles Rennie Mackintosh. As one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, Mackintosh designed some building all around the city including the Willow Tea Rooms and the Glasgow School of Arts.
If you want to learn how to draw and are lucky enough to call yourself a Glaswegian, you will quickly find a drawing class or art workshop in your hometown, walking into the steps of great artists such as Sir Muirhead Bone, Hannah Frank, Martin Boyce or Cecile Walton.
"Art is the Flower - Life is the Green Leaf. Let every artist strive to make his flower a beautiful living thing, something that will convince the world that there may be, there are, things more precious more beautiful - more lasting than life itself."
- Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scottish architect, designer, watercolourist and artist.
Glasgow School of Art
The Glasgow School of Art was founded in 1845, and its main building, built in different stages from 1896 and 1909 by Glasgow-born architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh has been at the forefront of visual art development and has produced some of the world's most famous designers, architects and fine arts masters.
As Scotland's only self-governing school and one of the very few to remain in Britain, the school has been offering university courses in architecture, fine art and designs and it opened a campus in Singapore in 2012.
The GSoA was also ranked in the Top 10 of specialist education organisations by The Guardian University Guide, ranking number one of all visual art institutions in the UK.
The school has recently received abundant media coverage following a fire incident in June 2018, the second one in four years. Though most students and classes had to be displaced and some of the library most precious archive disappeared in flames, the school continues to offer some of the best art education in the world.
However, you don't have to enrol full time to be able to enjoy some of the best drawing classes there is in Scotland.
If you are just starting to learn how to draw, the GSoA offer day and evening "Drawing and Painting Introduction" courses.
This course, specifically designed for beginners, this course aims to teach you the fundamental knowledge and techniques of drawing and painting. You will be working on still-life subjects and learn about drawing material and skills: tone, composition and colour theory.
Each subject will be studied through a series of exercise intended to be adapted to every student's level and goal.
The school also offer a wide range of day and weekend courses where you can broaden your knowledge of life-painting, acrylic and oil painting, portraiture, water-based media or even stained-glass.
"When I say, artist, I mean the one who is building things … some with a brush – some with a shovel – some choose a pen.”
- Jackson Pollock, American painter and figure of the abstract expressionist movement.
Art Classes in The Botanics
This art group was founded in 2007 by Sandy Grants and started as a weekly life drawing session.
The Tuesday night class is still going strong but the range of course on offer at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens studio. Located in the Hopkirk Building, the studio now offers oil painting classes, portraiture workshops and drawing skills courses.
The "Drawing Skills" class held at the Kelvingrove Museum is probably the one best suited for those wanting to improve their drawing techniques. Under the tuition of professional artists, students will have the opportunity to learn different drawing methods and learn how to use different materials and media.
This 6-week course only costs £80 and is well worth the money as the drawing materials will also be provided.
The location of the classes also makes this course very interesting as the Kelvingrove museum is home to some of the best artwork in the country including incredible European art from master painters such as Rembrandt, Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh or Mary Cassatt.
If this location isn't incredible enough, the Art Classes in The Botanics has been holding an annual painting holiday in southern Spain, near Grenada. What better setting for learning how to draw and paint than the valley surroundings of Andalusia?
“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.”
- Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright.
Glasgow Life Drawing
Gareth Reid, the founder of the Glasgow Life Drawing group, is a former student of the Glasgow School of Art and attended the Florence Academy of Art. Has a practising painter for the past 20 years, Reid has received many awards including the 2007 Travel award and the 2107 Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year.
This is under his exclusive guidance that you will be able to learn and improve on your drawing skills during the evening or weekend classes he holds.
The weekend life-drawing club is held once a month, in the Arts and Crafts building of the Strathblane Village Club. During four and a half hours, you will practice your sketching skills on a life model. Homebaking, soup and bread are provided during the break to make sure that you have all the energy required to fuel your creative process.
The evening classes take place once a week on Thursday at the Art Space in Cass Art on Queen Street. From 5 pm to 7 pm, you will be able to draw or paint a life model. Drawing boards and easels are provided, but you will have to bring your art materials which also means that you will be able to choose which media to use making every session what you want it to be: painting oil on canvass or sketching charcoal on paper, it is all up to you!
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"Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got."
- Steven Pressfield, American author and screenplay writer.
All The Young Nudes
All The Young Nudes is a quirky and friendly drawing club founded in 2009 by artists and Glasgow School of Art graduate, Joanna Susskind.
It all began as an after-work project, with Susskind, eight friends a DJ and bar and grew to be one of the most popular drawing group of the city, keeping its eccentric ethos which reflects perfectly the Glasgeowian mentality.
Held in Glasgow every Monday, the ATYN club drawing sessions are hosted by Sloans, a bar, restaurant and events venue in the city centre.
While the actual drawing part of the evening starts at 8 pm, participants are encouraged to come 45 minutes before that and mingle with the other artists over a drink or two.
You will have a chance to work on two different life-models, in two different rooms. One of the models will focus on taking long poses while the other will be holding short poses. Participants are free to go from one room to another and follow their moods and artistic whims.
Each session is accompanied by a unique soundtrack, designed by a professional DJ which usually put all participants in a relaxed and imaginative mood.
The class provides some basic drawing material. However, participants are encouraged to bring their own.
Find a Private Tutor
If any of those classes do not appeal to you and you would prefer to hire a private tutor to teach you how to draw on one-to-one courses, find the perfect match on Superprof. With practical, fairly priced and bespoke courses, Superprof tutors have a track record of fulfilling their students' learning goals.