Life Drawing in Schools

Leeds Drawing Club delivers an Introduction to Life Drawing Course in schools through our initiative - Body Matters - our research project investigating how empowering young people through a programme of life drawing classes can create positive body image, improve self esteem and build mental resilience.

How does it work?

Working to each school's needs, delivering the courses on school premises, with all materials provided. 

We understand that each school is different, and courses can be tailored to fit in with safeguarding policies, scheduling, and age appropriate format for students under 16. 

Available as a 3 or 4 week course, delivered as a 1.5 hour class each week, usually on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday during term time, and either as part of a scheduled lesson or after school.  

Is it for Art Students Only?

We are currently working with School Art Departments to deliver the workshops to Key Stage 4 and 6th Form students.

Our eventual goal is to expand the workshops across all faculties, and to Key Stage 3.

How will the Students benefit?

Educational Value

This course enhances artistic and observational skills, enabling the students to learn specific drawing techniques they can apply directly to their GCSE and A Level work, and create portfolio works for University and Further Education applications. A unique opportunity to experience Life Drawing in the comfort of their own learning environment.

Mental Well Being

Using the life model as a starting point, the course provides space and time for creative expression, imagination and innovative thinking.

A safe place for students to express themselves through art.

Positive Body Image

Working with professional life models, people with 'Real Bodies' to reflect the true diversity within our society, and not the filtered version that exists online.

Students will be able to observe and draw real people, with 'real bodies' as a counterpoint to the exposure of filtered and altered bodies they regularly see on social media.

Why Life Drawing in Schools, and what is your Initiative Body Matters Project ?

We know we are in the midst of a Body Image Crisis.

If you are regular adult life drawer, then you will also be aware of the mental health benefits of attending a life drawing class.

You will also be aware of the glossing and filtering of faces and bodies on social media and understand that its all not real, versus the actual Real Bodies you draw at a life drawing class.

Young people? Not so much.

Research shows that 66% of children experience negative body image*. Concerningly, studies have found body dissatisfaction in children as young as six years old, urging immediate intervention. 

The issue of body dissatisfaction among young individuals has raised significant concern due to proven correlations including heightened risk-taking behaviours and mental health complications as a result. Additionally, alarming statistics point to a surge in eating disorder rates across the UK, a condition which has high mortality rates. 

Poor body image acts as a barrier, hindering young people from engaging in healthy activities, with reports indicating that children with lower body satisfaction are less inclined to participate in physical education.

The Women and Equalities Committee recently highlighted the severe impact of negative body image across the UK, attributing various influences such as media, family, peer pressure, and societal norms. 

Body Matters Project aims to counteract these unrealistic ideals by early intervention, instilling in young people the values of self-acceptance, embracing their uniqueness, and cultivating a positive body image through the art form of life-drawing as a proven tool for increasing body acceptance.

*References: Women and Equalities Committee "Changing the perfectpicture: an inquiry intobody image" Sixth Report of Session 2019–21

Participate in Our Ongoing Research

In addition to Academic Research Findings, we are also running Focus Groups exploring the idea of life drawing for young people. Results will be published soon.

We also have a survey in continuous circulation, aimed at parents and educators, you can participate here


Pudsey Grammar School, 2024

"Ellie from Leeds Drawing Club provided us with an exceptional three-week life drawing workshop tailored to our students' needs and provided all equipment we could possibly need! Her ability to engage with the students was remarkable, offering both group tuition and individualized support. The curriculum was thoughtfully designed, introducing three unique models and progressively increasing the difficulty each week. The improvement in our students' skills from week one to week three was outstanding. We eagerly anticipate welcoming Ellie back next year!"

Immanuel College, Bradford, 2024

'The students at Immanuel College were had never done life drawing before so were at first very hesitant and nervous. Ellie put them at ease instantly and created an environment that was so relaxed and inclusive. Every student that took part in the drawing class grew in confidence and produced amazing work that they were so proud of. This work now takes pride of place in their portfolios as they prepare for interviews for colleges and university. We will definitely be doing this again.'

For more information you can get in touch.