Learn how to draw!


- using the training methods of the French Academy

The drawing course is running during September and October, but offering flexible attendance.  There are four 3 hour long lessons available every week.  Students attend 8 lessons in total, i.e. selecting 8 sessions in September and/or October that best suit their schedule.  Each student therefore attends a total of 24 hours of instruction in order to complete the course. The course covers classical realist training methods in drawing (see further description below).

  • The course costs 30,000. ISK
  • Sundays: 1pm-4pm, Tuesdays Wednesdays and Thursdays 18 - 21
  • Location: Sjávarklasinn, Grandagarði 16, Reykjavík
  • Instruction will be in English
  • COVID: We will adhere to a 1m rule between students and between instructor (masks will also be provided)

Note that everyone will receive an introduction to the methodology before beginning their drawing exercise, so it is not necessary to attend any one particular day for the first lesson.

Please send an email to lindajen.art@gmail.com if you would like to register, or for any questions.

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Students will be introduced to nineteenth century methods of realist artists for strengthening observation and drawing skills. The systematic methods of the French Academy are useful for both beginners in drawing and more advanced students. The course will also be informative for those who are interested in traditional art training methods.

learn to draw in steps
Bargue drawing

Nineteenth century schools in art were characterized by emphasis on realism, technique and classical aesthetics, taking classicism, the Renaissance period, Golden Age of art in the Netherlands and the Baroque as a model. So-called academic art and training draws many of its roots from the eighteenth and nineteenth century French schools, most notably the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian in Paris. Many other prestigious art schools in Europe took the methods and emphasis of the French Academy as a training model, such as the Royal College in the UK, and the Royal Danish Academy.

The teaching methods of the academy reached great heights in the nineteenth century and were considered extremely effective from a technical point of view in the training of realist artists, producing many of the most esteemed 19th century artists, such as Jean-Léon Gérôme, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, Théophile Poilpot, Jean-François Millet, and many others.

The training methods of the nineteenth century schools are still highly valued today, especially as tools for teaching basic drawing and painting skills. To this day, many influences of the academy can be found in most preparatory art studies all around the world. Specialized schools in classical realist training are also operated in many countries, following the academy's training methods in a very precise manner, usually as a two to three year study. The purpose of the course is to introduce the training methods of the academy as they were organized and recorded by teachers at the French schools in the late nineteenth century.

The course will begin with an introduction to the systematic training methods of the academy. After the initial presentation, the first steps of the academic training will be commenced, by drawing a copy of a Bargue plate (a realist style replica from a master) with guidance from an instructor. Students will become familiar with many of the key training methods of the academy in this first exercise.


  • Understand the training methods of the French Academy as recorded by Bargue and Gérôme
  • Be able to utilize the plum line and other reference methods in their own work
  • Know how to conduct 'sight-size' drawing, and understand the purpose of this method in training the artists eye and observation
  • Work slowly but surely: Observe, validate and think about form and values more often than drawing
  • Use simplified form outlines to begin the work, and place great emphasis on the accuracy and proportions of outlines as a foundation for the work’s success
  • Draw shadow lines (Apelles lines) before embarking on smaller items and appreciate the importance of shadow and light in the very first construction of the work
  • add detail and precision to the work in even steps - work on the whole impression, not isolated details, using intensive examination

No emphasis will be placed on completing the Bargue replica, but if the method is followed, most people will have achieved a good translation of the plate. The purpose of the exercise is to follow the systematic methodology of the academy from the ground up.

Textbook: (optional) 

Charles Bargue and Jean-Leon Gérôme: Drawing Course -- The book contains a summary of the study material of Bargue and Gérôme with historical explanations of the teaching method by the art historian Gerald Ackerman

Instruction method: Students will receive instructions individually in a studio environment. They will be guided to carefully follow the training method of the academy in translating the Bargue plate. The primary purpose of the exercise is to follow and become familiar with the method, each student working at their own pace.

About the instructor: Linda Jen is a graduate of the Florence Academy of Art where she trained in classical realist painting using many of the traditional methods introduced in this course. Linda is a member of the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists (SÍM).

     Click here to view the brochure in a PDFe 

    Foundation drawing lessons with sight-sized method

     Foundation drawing lessons training for accuracy