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SPRING COURSE: APRIL 17th - MAY 1st 2022 -£400

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.
Our anatomy course aims to enhance students' understanding of the skeletal structure and the correct proportions and planes of the human figure. We seek to impart a knowledge of key constructive points and to instill in students a three-dimensional image of each form. Key studies in our course include: the skeleton in three projections, the skull, the rib cage and spinal column, the pelvic bones, major joints (elbow and knee), the hands and feet, and the muscles of the head and neck, torso (front and back), lower limbs, and hands and feet. A schematic model of the full figure is also included in our curriculum.

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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.


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Instructor: Zen O'conor

Monday, March 6th - Monday, May 29th

Twelve Evenings 6pm - 9pm

The Scottish School of Cassical 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






(Can be split into three monthly payments of £200)


The Space

257 London Road


The creation of a two-dimensional representation of a living subject is central to the core program at SSCA, as it utilizes the techniques and knowledge gained through casts and Charles Bargue drawings. Our approach to achieving realistic and finely rendered figure drawings in an academic style is through the Riley Method, which focuses on the placement of the main volumes of the human body and their interconnections through rhythms. This method not only involves outlining, but also involves elements of anatomy and the figure in motion, resulting in a dynamic and naturalistic depiction of the figure. To achieve a realistic representation, students at SSCA begin by "mannequinizing" the figure using the Riley Method to establish the main volumes and then proceed to add more specific features. The use of tone and shadow mapping, as well as the depiction of the most descriptive shapes, helps to bring the drawing to a rendered state. Through this process, students progress from a focus on structure and simple outlines to a deeper understanding of anatomy, resulting in the creation of realistic proportions and a sense of weight and balance. Students then learn to use techniques such as edge quality and grouping of light and shadow families to imply the form of the figure and think more like complete painters, creating focal points and manipulating edge quality. In addition to these methods, students also learn various techniques for quickly sketching the figure, such as gestural quick-sketches, structural quick-sketches, and shadow maps, among others, to capture the complex nature of the figure.
Key learning objectives in Figure Drawing 101 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.
The Riley Method is a unique approach to figure drawing that was developed by artist and educator, Frank Riley. This method emphasizes the importance of proportion, anatomy, and gesture in creating realistic and expressive drawings of the human figure.
The Riley Method begins with an understanding of the basic proportions of the human body. Students are taught to break down the figure into simple geometric shapes and to use these shapes as a framework for their drawings. By using these shapes as a guide, students can quickly establish the overall proportions of the figure and ensure that their drawings are accurate.
In addition to understanding proportion, the Riley Method also emphasizes the study of anatomy. Students are taught to understand the underlying structure of the human body and to use this knowledge to create more convincing and realistic drawings. By studying the bones, muscles, and other structures that make up the human figure, students are able to create drawings that have a greater sense of depth and dimensionality.
Finally, the Riley Method places a strong emphasis on gesture. Gesture refers to the movement and energy that is inherent in the human figure. By capturing the gesture of the figure, students are able to create drawings that are more dynamic and expressive. Through a series of exercises and studies, students learn to capture the gesture of the figure quickly and confidently.
Overall, the Riley Method is a comprehensive approach to figure drawing that emphasizes the importance of proportion, anatomy, and gesture. By mastering these elements, students are able to create drawings that are both realistic and expressive, and that capture the essence of the human figure.

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At SSCA painting from life is the culmination of all the essential skills we teach. In this course students attend the one-week portrait course and work from the live model.

2023 DATES


Group one - January 9th - 13th

ONLINE GROUP - January 16th - 20th 



Group one - July 24th - 28th

Group two - July 31st - August 4th

5 Days 10AM - 4PM


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

This course is designed to introduce students to the practice of realistic painting and drawing through the use of the SSCA method. The class starts with a technical demonstration on colour mixing, palette organization and medium preparation, followed by hands-on practice by creating a painting from a live model. Throughout the course, students will work for 5 hours daily, with 2 hours dedicated to theory and drawing in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon working with the live model.

The course is partly designed to improve the students ability to record three dimensional forms on a two dimensional surface. They will use a limited palette to create a realistic portrait from life. Through this exercise, students will discover the wide range of hues that can be achieved, the harmonious unity of them, and the illusion of three dimensional anatomical forms in full colour. Projects will range from 3, 5, and 10-minute drawings, to a structure for their painted portrait, to a fully rendered oil portrait.

In the afternoon, students will work with the live model in a rich and atmospheric environment, learning the essential points of classical portrait painting such as rhythm, lighting, and the illusion of three-dimensional form and space. This class will fine-tune the students' approach to painting from life, whether they are experienced or complete beginners. The knowledge and skills gained in this class are applicable to all forms of artistic expression.

Students will use the sight-size method of measurement as well as other drawing methods such as Riley and Loomis. The instruction will be on an individual basis, so students of all levels are welcome.


  • 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


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)


A designed set of studies focussing on outline, proportion and shadow shape. A step by step progression through our curriculum.

The first set of studies are intended to empower the students visual, associative language in two dimensions. This is to prepare them to confront three-dimensional subjects in life.


Cast drawing compiles the skills gained from the first phase of the course. Students complete replicas of plaster casts in two dimensions, it sensitises the students eye to values and light found in nature.


The figure is crucial to the school’s curriculum. Figure drawing 101 utilises the accuracy gained from the cast and from Bargue drawings to represent a living model. 

Students are instructed to retain three essential concerns when working from the live model: gesture, proportion and body archetype. To achieve a realistic impression students approach the drawing using two ways: line, where the student draws the outside contour and around the shadow shapes, or a mass-based approach, where the student lays in value to find the most descriptive shapes. Students also combine these two approaches.


At SSCA we believe that the best way to understand form is to draw from life regularly and to compliment this comprehension with an in-depth knowledge of the structures of the human body. Our strong insistence on drawing from life means that studying anatomy rigorously is essential to completing the program. During our studies of anatomy we give students new tools to understand the deeper structures of the figure as well as the exterior forms.

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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.

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