Life drawing classes in Toronto
Life drawing classes in Toronto are fun for everyone. Models have the joy of remaining stock-still in a rotation of odd poses for three hours at a time, and aspiring rogues on sinking ships can sketch them like one of their French girls. It's a win-win for everyone.
One of the most important steps of becoming a good artist, some say, is learning how to realistically render the human form. You will be aided in this endeavour, hopefully, by paying painstakingly close attention to the knobbly knees of a strange man. Also drinking seems to be a prerequisite in Toronto, so there's that.
(Or, if you hate drawing and it makes you crazy and a tad homicidal, you might be better off just reading Pat Barker's Life Class. It'll make you feel slightly less awkward about being such a stabby weirdo).
Life drawing locations are peppered across the city, from Parkdale to Leslieville. Most require that you bring your own materials, and almost all budget-friendly options are drop-in classes where you can go for just one session, though Centennial College and George Brown and the Toronto School of Art also offer classes.
Here are some of the best spots in Toronto to learn to draw the human form (or begin nude modelling: I hear it can be a truly liberating way to overcome insecurities).
Creatures Creating at Dundas and Bathurst has regular life drawing classes on the first Tuesday of each month at 8pm. It bills itself as "Life Drawing with a Kinky Twist," and tickets(?) are 20 bones, $25 at the door. The models wear lingerie, and there are drinks available.
Round is a quirky community of artists who come together to draw. Their meetings are parties with drinks, DJs, entertainment, and random items for sale by members, like headbands handmade from vintage fabric.
The White House
The White House in Kensington Market has offered life drawing classes on a weekly basis for about a year and a half. Cover is one of the cheapest in the city, at $8, and classes run from 7pm until 9pm.
Ben Navaee Gallery
The Ben Navaee Gallery in Leslieville offers free life drawing classes on Tuesday evenings from 7pm until 9pm. This program is bare bones - there are no cocktails being served, and no bathrooms either. They provide chairs and drawing boards only, making for a true spartan artist existence. But it is free, so who's bitching?
The Gladstone claims it has the longest-running life drawing class in the city. It's not an outrageous claim, either - class has been in session since 1957. The class is held in the hotel's Art Bar, which is actually named for the classes, every Wednesday evening from 8pm until 10pm. Classes are taught by Toronto artist Walt Rushton, and cover is $10.
From 2007 until 2011, Dr. Sketchy's operated out of the back of Cameron House on Queen West. Now, they run out of Round in Kensington, the first Friday of every month. The anti art school comes offers cabaret style life classes, with the most recent one featuring a mermaid model and, of course, mermaid-themed cocktails to match. The classes run from 7pm until 10pm and cover is $10.
Toronto School of Art
The Toronto School of Art offers drop-in classes for both life drawing and painting. Classes are $15 each, or you can visit the school to purchase five sessions for $60. For drawing, classes are on Mondays from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., and both are offered on Fridays, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
OCAD offers drop-ins, too, on Wednesdays from 7pm to 10pm, and Saturdays 10am until 1pm. Classes are generally once a month, and the schedule can be found online. It's $10 per session, and no registration is required. They offer painting day sessions, too, from time to time.
For those looking to make a commitment, Centennial College offers a series of life drawing classes at $40 for the series, and $8 per course. Sessions are in the fall, winter and spring only. They provide an easel, but all other supplies are up to the student. Classes are at the Story Arts Centre at Pape and Mortimer, and they're one night per week for eight weeks, from 6pm to 9pm.