top of page



Courses: Welcome


At SSCA, being able to paint skillfully from life is the essential result of all of the skills we teach. In this course students attend the one-week portrait course and work from the live model.

2024 DATES


(click link for booking page)

Group One - January 8th - 12th

Group Two - January 15 - 19


Group one - July 29 - August 2nd

Group two - August 5th - August 9th

5 Days 10AM - 4PM


(can be split into four equal payments of £100, or two of £200)

This course serves as a comprehensive introduction to the practice of realistic painting and drawing. Its principal objective is to acquaint students with the principles and techniques essential to achieve lifelike representations of subjects. Through a meticulous disemination of the SSCA method, students will gain a profound understanding of the school’s process.

The course commences with a thorough, technical demonstration, meticulously addressing the intricacies of color mixing, palette structure, and medium use. Students will then engage in hands-on practice, employing these techniques to create paintings based on live models. The course structure allocates dedicated time to theory and drawing, with two hours dedicated to these activities in the morning. In the afternoon, students will devote three hours to working directly with live models.

A crucial aspect of the course is the cultivation of students' ability to accurately portray three-dimensional forms on a two-dimensional surface. Through the creation of realistic portraits from life, students will create a diverse range of hues from a limited palette, discovering their harmonious interplay and mastering the construction of three-dimensional anatomical forms on a two-dimensional surface. Assignments will encompass drawings of varying durations, ranging from brief sketches of three, five, and ten minutes to the development of structured outlines for painted portraits, ultimately culminating in the creation of fully rendered oil portraits.

During the afternoon sessions, students will be immersed in a rich and atmospheric environment, engaging in the classical art of portrait painting. Emphasis will be placed on fundamental elements of portrait painting such as; rhythm, hue, structure, colour-intensity lighting, anatomy among many others. Regardless of prior experience, students will refine and elevate their ability to paint from life, expanding their artistic repertoire. The knowledge and skills acquired throughout this course are transferable to any aspect of artistic endeavour. 

To facilitate accurate proportions and measurements, students will employ the sight-size method of measurement, alongside additional drawing techniques such as Riley and Loomis. Individualised critique will be provided, ensuring that students of all proficiency levels feel welcomed and supported throughout the course.


  • 1 HB Pencil

  • 1 sharpener

  • Sheet of tracing paper, A4 size. 

  • One 10x12 canvas board.

  • 75ml Bottle of Windsor Newton Liquin

  • One tube of Burnt Umber or Raw Umber acrylic paint, black acrylic paint, white (any brand, any quality, small size)

  • Small bottle of odourless solvents.

  • Oil Paints - Daler Rowney Georgian Oil Colours or Windsor Newton Oil Colour (must include Oxide Light Red, raw Umber, Burnt Umber,  Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red, Ivory black, Yellow ochre, Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue) 75ml/37ml

  • 1 pack of baby wipes

  • One pad of paper tear-away palettes (or if you prefer a plastic/wooden palette, just remember to keep it clean)

  • Artist brushes of good quality or long handled cat's tongue brushes sizes 2-12. 

  • (Long handle if possible)


Courses: About
Courses: About


Any 10 Afternoons, Tuesday - Thursday or any 10 Monday nights (subject to studio schedule)

£380, 1-4 PM or 6-9 PM


The SSCA program utilizes the Riley Method as a foundation for students to develop their abilities in creating rhythmic and gestural figure drawings with a high level of realism and accuracy. This method not only focuses on outline, but also incorporates elements of anatomy and the figure in motion, resulting in a dynamic and naturalistic representation of the human form.

In the initial stages of the drawing process, students employ a technique referred to as "mannequinizing," which involves placing the main volumes of the human body and connecting them with rhythms. This is followed by the precise application of more detailed and expressive features, such as tone and shadow mapping, as well as the use of descriptive shapes to bring the drawing to a fully rendered state.

Throughout the course, students progress from simple structures and outlines to a deeper understanding of anatomy, enabling them to create realistic proportions and a sense of weight and balance in their drawings. They also learn about edge quality, group light and shadow families, and the implication of form through the use of these techniques.

The program provides students with an introduction to the academic method of figure drawing, and includes lectures on specific aspects of human anatomy. In the latter half of the course, students work from a live model for two hours per session, using graphite and working on paper. They receive regular individual critiques from the instructor to guide them towards fully resolved and accurate drawings.

Key learning objectives include the application of knowledge in representing the anatomy of the human figure, understanding how to use a complex “shadow map” to illustrate how light is cast across the form of the figure, illustrating a realistically proportioned human figure, developing skill in representing the subtle variations in forms from pose to pose, applying a knowledge of edge quality, its range of sharpness to softness, creating a sense of form turning, recording gesture, structure, anatomy, balance and weight, and creating a realistic impression of light flowing over the form.



Any twelve Monday evenings 6pm - 9pm or any 12 Thursday Afternoons
(subject to studio schedule)
The Scottish School of Classical Art

The Scottish School of Classical Art is pleased to offer an intensive three-month course on the techniques of classical painting. This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the methods used by the most brilliant painters of the Renaissance and beyond, with a focus on replicating the works of old masters.

The course begins with a technical demonstration of color mixing, imprimatura preparation, palette organization, and medium preparation. This serves as a foundation for the subsequent lectures and workshops, which will cover a range of topics including master drawing techniques, tracing and copying, and the study of lighting situations and how they reveal form. Additionally, students will learn about brushstrokes, blending, media use, palette preparation, and painting posture, as well as value scales.

Throughout the course, students will spend a significant amount of time working on their own paintings, replicating the techniques they have learned in class. Through this hands-on approach, students will gain a deeper understanding of the principles of classical painting and be able to apply them in their own work.

Throughout the course, there will be opportunities for students to discuss and critique each other's work, providing them with valuable feedback and furthering their understanding of the techniques and methods being taught.

By the end of the course, students will have learned the essential points of figure painting and will have produced a believable, visual impression of the figure in real space, rendered in paint with traditional methods. This course is ideal for artists and painters who wish to improve their skills and deepen their understanding of classical painting techniques.


Lesson 1: Introduction to color mixing, imprimatura preparation, palette organization, and medium preparation

  • Students will learn the basics of color mixing and how to create a range of hues and shades

  • They will learn how to prepare an imprimatura, which serves as a base layer for painting

  • They will also learn how to organize their palette and prepare their medium

Lesson 2: Master drawing techniques

  • Students will learn how to properly hold and use a pencil or charcoal to create accurate and detailed drawings

  • They will learn about different types of lines and how to use them to create different effects

  • They will also learn about composition, perspective, and how to create the illusion of depth

Lesson 3: Tracing and copying

  • Students will learn how to trace and copy the works of old masters

  • They will learn how to use tracing paper and how to transfer the image onto canvas

  • They will also learn how to make adjustments to the image to make it their own

Lesson 4: Lighting situations and form

  • Students will learn about different lighting situations and how they reveal form

  • They will learn how to paint light and shadow

  • They will also learn how to create the illusion of volume and depth

Lesson 5: Brushstrokes, blending, and media use

  • Students will learn how to use different brushstrokes to create different effects

  • They will learn how to blend colors and create smooth transitions

  • They will also learn about the different types of media they can use, such as oils, acrylics, and watercolors

Lesson 6: Palette preparation and painting posture

  • Students will learn how to prepare their palette and how to use it effectively

  • They will learn about painting posture and how to maintain proper technique to avoid injury

Lesson 7: Value scales

  • Students will learn about value scales and how to use them to create the illusion of depth

  • They will learn how to create a range of values and how to use them in their paintings

Lesson 8: Hands-on painting

  • Students will spend time working on their own paintings, replicating the techniques they have learned in class

  • They will have the opportunity to discuss and critique each other's work, providing valuable feedback

Lesson 9: Figure painting

  • Students will learn the essential points of figure painting

  • They will learn how to create a believable, visual impression of the figure in real space

  • They will learn how to use traditional methods to render the figure in paint

Lesson 10-12: Final project and course review

  • Students will complete a final project and have the opportunity to showcase their work

  • The course will be reviewed and any remaining questions or concerns will be addressed.

Courses: About
Courses: Pro Gallery
Courses: Courses










Courses: About



Monday - Friday 10AM-5PM

During the Anatomy for the Artist course at our institution, we provide students with new methods for comprehending the structures of the human body. Our emphasis on drawing from life necessitates a thorough and rigorous approach to the study of anatomy. In order to facilitate understanding and efficient representation of the complex forms of the figure, we aim to impart new ways of simplifying them.
The principal objective of our anatomy curriculum is to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the skeletal framework and the precise ratios and planes of the human form. Our pedagogical approach is focused on cultivating an awareness of the fundamental constructional landmarks and the acquisition of a 3d perception of each anatomical structure. To this end, our program comprises of a series of key investigations, such as the three-dimensional projection of the skeletal system, the cranium, the thoracic cavity and vertebral column, the pelvic girdle, the major articulations (i.e., elbow and knee), the appendages (i.e., hands and feet), and the muscles of the cephalic and cervical regions, the trunk (both anterior and posterior), the inferior extremities, and the hands and feet. Additionally, our curriculum incorporates a schematic representation of the entire human figure to consolidate the students' knowledge of the subject matter.



The academic drawing process at SSCA, condensed over five days.
The pedagogical techniques employed by artistic masters of the past have endured over centuries and continue to serve as a cornerstone of training for contemporary artists of varying levels of proficiency. The Charles Bargue Drawing Course, developed during the mid 19th century, has played a critical role in fine art instruction as a foundational exercise aimed at honing the essential skills of shape replication, form, edge quality, values or tones, line weight and design among a host of others. This step-by-step approach has enabled practitioners to develop their drawing abilities and cultivate a disciplined and nuanced technique. As such, the Bargue method remains a crucial tool for aspiring artists seeking to refine their craft and achieve mastery in the realm of visual art.
Learn a condensed version of this process over five days with a flexbile start date - once you have booked your place, please send an email to confirm your start date.


Courses: News


The core program, condensed over two days a week.

Autumn Semester: October 10th - December 16th

Winter Semester: January 23rd - March 31st, 2023
Spring Semester: April 17th - July 7th

Any two days, Monday - Friday, 10-5 

£600 (Can be split into three equal monthly payments)


The Starting Academic Drawing course is the first year of the curriculum, focused on the mastery of fundamental drawing concepts through the replication of images in the Charles Bargue Drawing Course. Through sustained practice, students acquire skills in two-dimensional representation, sight-size measurement, and the replication of three-dimensional forms from two-dimensional drawings. The course aims to develop proficiency in tools, achieve high drawing cleanliness, and apply proper concepts, knowledge, and processes to drawings. Read more here.


SSCA's core program focuses on creating realistic and finely rendered figure drawings, through the academic approach to rendering and the Riley Method. Riley method emphasizes the placement of the main volumes of the human body, anatomy, and interconnects them through rthymical shapes which recur. The approach involves breaking down the figure into three dimensional forms and capturing its gesture, resulting in drawings that are both accurate, realistic and beautifully designed. Read more here.


At SSCA, students explore still life and portrait painting, experimenting with a range of materials, lighting setups, and compositions. The course emphasizes the SSCA process for creating realistic paintings and drawings, and teaches classical portrait painting techniques to convey the character of the subject, improving students' understanding of three-dimensional form, and developing an effective painting technique. Read more here.


In later stages of the curriculum, students replicate plaster casts of statuary to recognize similarly designed shapes in life, and learn to design compositions with impactful focal points and interesting shadow maps. This also prepares them for drawing live models by relying on eye measurements and controlling value range to convey form and depth. Read more here.


Our Anatomy for the Artist course provides new methods for comprehending the structures of the human body and aims to enhance students' understanding of skeletal structure, proportions, and planes. Key studies include major joints, muscles, and the skeleton in three projections, instilling a three-dimensional image of each form. Read more here.

Courses: About


No refunds can be made once the student has paid the tuition fees and committed to the course, the student may however use their fees as credit for another course should they pull out before the course begins.

Courses: Text
bottom of page