What do, Joan of Arc, Wes Anderson, Clowns and Lepidoptery (the study of moths) have in common? The answer is they have all been themes of The Drawing Circus  life drawing events.

The Drawing Circus is a troupe of Brighton-based artists, models, art tutors, musicians and performers who seek to promote a sense of wonder at the visual world through innovative drawing events

drawing circus photo 2

Drawing Circus events aren’t your average structured life drawing classes. Far from it. These events, which are rarely tutored, straddle the boundary between workshop and performance and aim to leave all participants feeling inspired and informed. Most events are held in collaboration with innovative Brighton venues such as the Old Market and The Spiegeltent, with each event based around a different theme. Members of the collective make the costumes for the models to pose in and musical entertainment is provided by the Drawchestra, a collective of musically inclined life models who perform at Drawing Circus events. Drawchestra members add musical flourishes to poses and guest musicians are often invited to play alongside them.


Evolution’s Carole Gledhill has first hand experience of The Drawing Circus, both as model and artist. A former art student, Carole got into the Brighton life drawing scene four years ago when she started tutoring for a company that run life drawing hen parties. Carole says:

“I love life drawing, it’s like meditating, you have to be so focused and you leave feeling relaxed and challenged.”

Carole last modeled at a special Drawing Circus event at the Booth Museum in November last year, dressed as a lion (see drawing below by Geo Parkin, with other model Naomi Wood). Here, she posed alongside several other costumed models including a monkey-mermaid and a bat .



“The loveliest thing about the themed events is the amazing costumes you get to wear and the social aspect. Also, it’s a novelty to pose alongside other models. As an artist I enjoy going to events at the Old Market as they’re the only times I get to have a G&T whilst I draw – I think it actually helps my drawing!”


The Drawing Circus is the brainchild of Jake Spicer. Jake is head tutor of Draw who run drawing events all over the South East. In 2009 Jake started a tiny, 6 person life drawing class in the corner of his studio hoping to meet other people in Brighton who were keen on drawing. Both models and sketchers in the class had all of these wonderful ideas for unusual life draiwng sessions, so when he was asked to put on themed event for White Night 2009 he gathered a crew around and put on an amazing tarot themed life draiwng all-nighter which attracted 750 people who turned up to draw. Jake says:

“The classes expanded and we ran more and more events and eventually we split The Brighton Life Drawing Sessions into Draw and The Drawing Circus, with the Drawing Circus run more democratically by Emma, Francesca and myself with ideas for all our sessions coming from members of the troupe. It is a privilege to be working alongside such a passionate and creative crew of artists, models and musicians.”

Brighton Life Drawing Sessions form the core of Draw’s adult education program. Most sessions take place at New England House and include Mixed Pose, Short Poses Long Pose and Themed Pose sessions. The latest themed pose was David Bowie.

The Draiwng Circus is a non-profit making organisation. The sessions are open to all abilities and they especially encourage complete begginers to come give life drawing a go. The next Drawing Circus will be held at the Old Market Bar on 16 February and will be on the theme of Star Wars. All jedi, droids, ewoks, Tusken raiders, wookiees welcome.

If you are interested in other drawing practices,  Evolution Arts run a range of art courses and workshops for all levels.

May the drawing force be with you!

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New autumn courses and workshops in focus

‘Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all’ – Stanley Horowitz

Though we seem to be in the midst of an Indian summer, our thoughts are now turning towards the time of year where the leaves fall from the trees, carpeting the ground in golds, oranges and browns.  The light mellows and the nights begin to draw in, bridging the gap between a soon forgotten summer and a here too soon winter.  Now’s the time to explore new pathways, discover a new passion and build your self confidence.  We suggest Evolution Arts courses as the perfect place to start. In this blog we take a look at some of the new courses and workshops starting this Autumn.

Whether you’re interested in writing, acting, painting, mindfulness or aromatherapy, we think we’ve got some fantastic courses and workshops coming up to see you through the season.

The Fool
The Fool

Acting for Everyone: A Fool’s Guide to Playing:
Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned performer, come and experience A Fool’s Guide to Playing with tutor Jonathan Brown, starting 31st October. Together you’ll explore many areas including script, movement, character and improvised theatre inspired by the Archetype of The Fool. Telling the story of the moment, in the land where anything, any emotion is possible, from the irreverent to the sacred, from the daft to the deep, from the hilarious to the hallowed.

With playful exercises, these sessions will stretch your acting muscles, offering new ways to play, create and perform. Learn to develop your palette and tools, play with a broader set of choices, and find more freedom to act, both on stage, and in life. Learn through exercises, games and more, about giving licence to your imagination, using your whole body and voice, exploring your emotional range, developing a character, taking risks and incorporating your personal experience in the moment.

Collective Writing:
With tutor Pete Maguire, starting Thursday 8th October, Collective Writing is a playful series of workshops exploring the freedom and enthusiasm that writing collectively can generate. Rather than instructing creativity to arise, the workshops encourage it to appear through improvisation exercises and inventive word play. Words will be flung around the room and laughter will take precedence over the end product. The workshops will examine creative inspirations from poetry, theatre, literature and art and will culminate in a shared writing journey conjured by what is explored in the session. It’s suitable for beginners, and those more experienced, from any of the arts that would like to embark on a journey of writing discovery.

Henri Matisse, "The Dance II" (1910)
Henri Matisse, “The Dance II” (1910)

Paint Like Matisse:
With tutor Claire Harrison, starting on Sunday 18th October, this workshop will examine the French artist Henri Matisse’s use of colour and will explain how to combine bright colours successfully. The workshop will demonstrate how Matisse, widely regarded as the greatest colorist of the 20th century, painted, and the revolutionary ideas behind his painting. Suitable for all abilities as Claire helps each student on an individual basis.

Aromatherapy Blending Masterclass
Aromatherapy Blending Masterclass

Aromatherapy Blending Masterclass:
Starting Sunday 4th October, tutor Leigh-Anne Morell will lead this masterclass in blending aromatherapy to make aromatherapy candles, massage oils and bath salts. Essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes for nearly 6,000 years and in this class you will learn both the benefits of these oils and the art of blending them. You’ll have time to develop your own special blend and whether you choose to create an energizing candle or a sensual massage oil, you’re guaranteed to go home smelling gorgeous and feeling invigorated.

Mindfulness & the Art of Urban Living
Mindfulness & the Art of Urban Living

Mindfulness & the Art of Urban Living:
Starting on Tuesday 20th October, with tutor Natasha Lythgoe, this course aims to introduce mindfulness whilst exploring ways to re-enchant our everyday urban lives rather than needing to look or go ‘elsewhere’. The course will explore how to savour our lives just as they are – wherever they are. It’s an opportunity to re-connect with notions of belonging, community and nature in the city hopefully discovering meaning and connecting with your creativity along the way.

Feeling inspired? At Evolution Arts  we offer several courses and workshops focusing on arts and crafts, the body and mind, writing, acting, photography, dance and music.  Find a new challenge, discover a new passion and become part of the Evolution community this autumn.  Call the centre on 01273 204204 or click here for more information and to book.

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