The Foundation Year

A one year, skills-based art foundation course in London's creative Docklands.

  • Foundation Year Crit


    The Foundation Year, run by the Royal Drawing School, is a one year accredited skills-based course with five days teaching per week. Limited to 50 places, the School ensures one-to-one tuition, with a supportive learning environment in an inspiring part of London’s Docklands buzzing with creatives and artist studios. This intensive course helps students to develop the making and thinking skills needed for the next level of study and provides a route to a number of creative disciplines. The School awards a minimum of 50% of students a scholarship or fee reduction every year.


  • Foundation Year contextual studios


    The structure of the course progresses from set assignments towards self-directed study. The course is full time, with five days’ teaching a week. During the first two terms students will have weekly life drawing sessions in the studio where they will draw from the unclothed model. There is a Contextual Studies component that runs throughout the year.

    Course Structure

  • Foundation Year painting


    The Foundation Year consists of three stages, during which students develop skills in observation, research, media and independent thinking. On this accredited course, students will receive a Level 3 or 4 Diploma in Fine art on graduation. Drawing underpins the structure of the course, complementing the many different media that students will be introduced to. Students will draw from the unclothed life model in the studios every week throughout the first two terms.


  • Foundation Year Drawing


    Building on the success of its first two years the main campus at Trinity Buoy Wharf has recently been expanded, with facilities split over three floors including well-lit teaching and sculpture studios, purpose-built drawing studio, Kiln and ceramics facilities, intaglio print room, photography darkroom, individual studio spaces, Apple Mac suite, reference art library and a common room and kitchen.



Miles Jezuita

I used to go to the Young Artists Life Drawing programme on Saturdays and I heard about The Foundation Year from the tutor there.

Read student story
Using the most limited of means, drawing offers some of the most demanding opportunities for growth to a contemporary artist, both visually and intellectually, allowing a free transition between mediums. 
Letter from the Artistic Director