Academic work includes:
I teach across several courses at the University of the Arts London.
These include BA and FdA Interior and Spatial, BA Design Cultures and Access to Art & Design. Gallery lectures, talks and workshops (inclu. Life Drawing) at Tate, The Royal Academy of Arts, The National Portrait Gallery, Serpentine Galleries, Whitechapel Gallery, The South London Gallery, Courtauld, Chisenhale Gallery and The Foundling Museum.

Do you have a thwarted childhood dream? An ambition that you’ve never fulfilled? We kick off a new series on lessons that could change your life

THE PUPIL - Hilary Rose

THE PROBLEM - Hilary loves sketching but lacks confidence to draw people

THE EXPERT - Grace Adam, artist and lecturer, Chelsea College of Art


Hilary I’ve always enjoyed art but I went to a school that disapproved of nonacademic subjects. Grace, a practising artist and lecturer in fine art, has the ability to encourage and to teach with the lightest of touches.

Having divided an A2 sheet of paper roughly into 12, she gave me three minutes to sketch the life model before he changed position. I panicked at being dreadful at something in front of a pro: I was so tentative that the pencil barely touched the paper and I couldn’t get more than half the body into the space. Forty minutes later, to my astonishment, I was doing sketches that really weren’t too bad. Weirdly, far and away my worst drawing was the one I spent longest on.

Grace Drawing people is one of the hardest things to do because we tend to draw what we expect to see. It’s important to be bold and confident. The idea was for Hilary to gain confidence and to become adept at scale. We practised drawing very quickly, and slowly, giving 20 minutes to do one pose and only a few for another. Some of Hilary’s drawings were good; as if they could get up and walk off the page. She was particularly strong on drawing legs.


Hilary I’m going to sign up for one of Chelsea’s short courses. It’s quite novel for me to do something that I find very hard, but it’s both irritating and satisfying in equal measure.

Grace If Hilary drew someone every day, she would see a huge improvement. She has artistic ability and could create decent drawings.


One-on-one life-drawing lessons start from £150 an hour. An eight-week life-drawing course at Chelsea College of Art costs £300. For further details, call 020-7514 6311 or e-mail


Look and keep looking at what you’re supposed to be drawing.

Draw the shapesbetween limbs rather than the limbs themselves; for example, if someone is standing with hands on their hips, draw the triangle made by their arms.

Drawing is about tricking the brain: a hard line looks like a hard line, but if it fades to nothing it can create the illusion of volume.

Don’t be afraid to start over. It does not make you stupid to find life-drawing difficult, but it is a skill that can be taught.

The key is to listen to your teacher and to keep a positive attitude.

Don’t start with the head; start with the solid line of the chair the model is sitting on, or the curve of a limb.

Draw a rough stick figure if it helps you to get the angle of the pose right, then build the body around that.