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Life drawing classes in Toronto

Posted by Sarah Ratchford / February 27, 2014

Life drawing TorontoLife 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
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
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.

Dr. Sketchy's
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.

Centennial College
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.

Photo by Brynne Kennedy



CaligulaJones / February 27, 2014 at 09:26 am
I know its hard for blogto to get that there is actually a part of the city east of the the Don, so I'll just add:

Nancy / February 27, 2014 at 10:07 am
Gary Smith's Club Draw on Sundays www.escapewithgary.com
Julie / February 27, 2014 at 10:40 am
Toronto School of Art has 3-hour Life Drawing classes on Monday and Fridays 6 - 9

Tara / February 27, 2014 at 10:50 am
How could you miss Toons on Tap! Costumed life drawing Wednesdays at the Round Bar in Kensington. $10, 7 pm
Liz / February 27, 2014 at 01:02 pm
Central Connection Art Group meet every Monday night, 6:30 - 9:30 PM, at the Withrow Park Clubhouse, 725 Logan Ave. The location is just South of the Danforth, between Pape & Chester Subway Stations. Great models - sometimes costumed, sometimes life. Sustained poses for painting and detailed drawing. Bring your own supplies. Drop in fee $10.
Chris / February 27, 2014 at 01:14 pm
This is a good list. Some new things here. For the past coupe of years Heather Leach has been keeping a pretty up-to-date list of venues:

liz replying to a comment from Liz / February 27, 2014 at 01:36 pm
more info at: www.centralconnection.ca
robert / February 27, 2014 at 05:45 pm
Artworks on Jane near Bloor is great!!
Renee / February 28, 2014 at 09:39 am
Toronto School of Art realizes not everyone can commit to the cost of a course, we do offer drop-in sessions for the community, as well.

In addition to our full-term life drawing and painting course offerings, we offer weekly drop-in OPEN LIFE DRAWING & PAINTING (without instruction). All are welcome, it's just a $15 drop-in fee, or folks can purchase a 5-session pass for $60.

Open Life Drawing (Monday and Friday evenings, 6 - 9PM) offers a variety of poses, and Open Life Painting (Friday evenings, 6 - 9PM) offers a long pose.

TSA | 980 DUFFERIN STREET, 2ND FLOOR (across from Dufferin subway station).

More information is available on our website: http://tsa-art.com/files/2014-02/TSA%202014%20OLDOLP%20Schedule.pdf
ava peters / February 28, 2014 at 11:37 am
artist25.ca on brock off dundas west
10 dollars for 2.5 hours
tuesday short pose 7.30 pm to 10pm
thurs in costume 3 weeks of same pose 7 pm to 9.30 pm
friday nude 3 weeks of same pose 7 pm to 9.30 pm
saturday 2 sessions same pose for 2 weeks 10 am to 12.30 and begins after hour break, 1.30 to 4 pm
Dr Sketchy's Toronto / March 2, 2014 at 04:03 pm
I'd like clarify something about the image and info used for this story - it was taken at Dr Sketchy's Toronto in its first run, which was headed by different organizers than the current event that's hosted at Round. We are proud to have contributed to Toronto's rich culture, to have been a part of the Cameron House's history, and to have inspired so many.

I'm happy you credited our photographer Brynne Kennedy, but I hope BlogTO doesn't make a habit of taking images and editing out watermarks. Dr Sketchy's Toronto had an incredible run from 2007 until 2011, and BlogTO was very supportive of us during that time.
'Dr. Sketchy's Toronto Reloaded' is organized by an entirely new team, with our full blessing.
Dr Sketchy's Toronto / March 2, 2014 at 04:04 pm
Final note - we will be publishing a book documenting our years this spring!
J.P Morgan replying to a comment from CaligulaJones / April 14, 2014 at 04:27 pm
Hi :)) I've been in the Belgian Congo for a few years but I remember a school offering L.D on the weekends. It was in the Spadina+Adelaide area. Any idea what happened to that School/sessions????
Carolyn Haltrecht / April 18, 2014 at 09:32 am
Trying to get a group together for Figure Drawing (no instructor) in the mornings during the week at Freehand School of Art - 3315 Yonge Street.
Need a minimum of 5 to make it happen.

Lindsay / May 6, 2014 at 09:52 pm
Freehand school of art would be a great location...I'm in.
Lindsay replying to a comment from Carolyn Haltrecht / May 6, 2014 at 09:53 pm
Freehand school of art would be a great location...
jill replying to a comment from J.P Morgan / June 2, 2014 at 09:56 am
You are probably thinking of the Toronto School of Art which used to be located on Adelaide, just west of Spadina. It has now moved to Dufferin at Bloor. See tsa-art.ca for more info.
Joel Zelikovitz replying to a comment from Carolyn Haltrecht / June 19, 2014 at 07:43 pm
I'd be interested in a life model sketching group. Is it running?
Lara H / July 9, 2014 at 11:09 pm
A new place for open life drawing classes!
The Artist Resource Centre (ARC) is currently offering open life drawing classes on Thursdays and Fridays 6:30-9:30 (short poses) and Saturdays and Sundays (long pose).
ARC is currently having a July special....all classes are $12.50!!
263 Adelaide St. West, unit 409
helen replying to a comment from Lindsay / August 12, 2014 at 10:42 pm
Im interested to join sketching group, is it running ?
helen replying to a comment from Carolyn Haltrecht / August 12, 2014 at 10:43 pm
if you have already started ,can I join´╝č
Catherine / September 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm
Framing Dames has Drop In Life Drawing Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:30, cost is $15.00.
362 Old Kingston Road
M1C 3B6
416 287 2025
Tabitha / September 21, 2014 at 11:07 pm
Hey everyone, I am passing through Toronto, for a week or two. I am looking to model for some life drawing classes and make a little cash. Any ideas?
Arthur / December 7, 2014 at 08:07 pm
Weekly drawing at Bampot Bohemian Tea House on Harbord Street near Bathurst. Sundays from 230 pm to 5 pm. $10. Space is small and cool but not a studio; no drawing benches, for example. Gestures and shortish poses. Bring your supplies.
Tassa / January 9, 2015 at 07:42 pm
Classes in sight size starting in last week in Feb 2015 .Learn to draw like the old Masters. I am looking for the use of a space to start classes.I would be very grateful if anyone knows of anything . Thanks Trassa
Sue / January 19, 2015 at 01:53 pm
I am looking to run drop-in sessions at my gallery/studio in Aurora, Ontario beginning in March. I am in need of models, both male & female. Can't seem to locate a directory of sorts? Would want reputable models with experience in figure drawing.
Mark Hazen / January 31, 2015 at 10:44 am
Open Life Drop-in sessions - Thursdays 7-10pm - Short Poses - $15. Project Art, 230 Queen West at McCaul, 2nd floor above El Mundo. Enter via the back alley.
Thomas / February 13, 2015 at 03:48 pm
mature Caucasian male model interested in work in York region area
Kevin / February 25, 2015 at 02:52 pm
Sue, I have modeling experience and would be interested in modeling at your Aurora studio starting in March. How can I reach you?
Sue replying to a comment from Kevin / March 1, 2015 at 07:49 am
Hi Kevin, you can reach me at sdgdesigns@bell.net
Felicia / May 5, 2015 at 06:38 pm
Another place to mention is Artists25. Easels, work benches, and chairs are provided. Offers a variety of weekly open life drawing sessions.
Glen Craig replying to a comment from Sue / June 8, 2015 at 02:31 pm
Hello Sue,

I have been doing some modeling for life drawing classes/sessions recently, and I am looking to do it more frequently on a weekly basis, therefore I am looking to expand my contact list. Please let me know if you require any more models for your roster. I am always on time ( usually early), and I never cancel last minute. Thank you for your time and consideration :)


Glen Craig replying to a comment from Mark Hazen / June 8, 2015 at 02:32 pm
Hello Mark,

I have been doing some modeling for life drawing classes/sessions recently, and I am looking to do it more frequently on a weekly basis, therefore I am looking to expand my contact list. Please let me know if you require any more models for your roster. I am always on time ( usually early), and I never cancel last minute. Thank you for your time and consideration :)

Tara Shelton replying to a comment from CaligulaJones / July 20, 2015 at 01:04 pm
Thanks Caligula Jones!!! Yes, we do have life drawing in the east end, at Artisans At Work!
We just started a fantastic new mini course with Anthony Harrison. He has all the experience teaching this superior class, a lovely stage for the model, and pro drawing benches. Wednesdays 6:30-9:30 until August 12th. He will start up a new session in September if folks must miss the summer series to have fun in the sun! ;)

Glen Craig replying to a comment from Tara Shelton / July 27, 2015 at 07:38 am
Hello Tara,

Do you have the contact info for Anthony Harrison? I am a male life drawing model, and I would be interested in modeling for any of his sessions in which he requires a model. Thank you

Tony Westbrook / August 9, 2015 at 07:43 am
I found it very useful to work from a clothed model most of the time since that is more 'life'
also do memory work observing on subway or bus. then drawing over a coffee later.
Artists25 Thursday is good for clothed. Since I'm older now it is a bit far away and the location is a tad spooky winter evenings waiting for a bus. Glad there are so many places. Cheers ..Tony
Alba / September 1, 2015 at 07:12 am
Would blog TO mind compiling a list of classes it is good to model for, according to things like whether they'll cancel you with forty-five minutes notice, based on things like perpetual "emergencies" and low class volume? Beacause, yeah. I feel a bit undervalued right now, especially since I told him to text if something came up, and he emailed instead, when I was already on the road. Sorry to rant, but this is the third place that's done this to me in two weeks, and two of them had cried about flaky models. I could spend my transit tokens better, to say nothing of my time.
Alba / September 1, 2015 at 07:14 am
Needless to say, all the students were standing around waiting with me.

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