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Courses Modeldrawing 2023-2024



The human figure is to date one of the most complex designs to understand. It invites us to study drawing concepts like proportions and values, and deepens our observation. The lessons we learn from figure drawing are universal, and can later on be applied to other genres such as landscape, portrait or still life. 

Since 2020 Ilse hosts model drawing classes in Maastricht. She will continue to do so in the upcoming academic year with several courses. Are you a beginning student and wish to improve your drawing skills? Or are you an artist already and like to learn more about the classical drawing technique? Feel welcome to join our growing community!


The program in Maastricht is divided into three courses. Experience has shown that the best results occur when the courses are followed in chronological order. Ilse is also organising an Art Retreat in the South of France this September.


1. ‘Seeing the big shape: learn to draw the human figure better’

Fall 2023, 10 lessons

Drawing the figure can be an overwhelming experience. After all, there are so many elements to take into account! Therefore, we cover the main concept of our model drawing classes: make sure the big shape is working, before you add any information like the features, fingers etcetera. 


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2. ‘Model drawing, lessons from the masters '

January-March 2024, 10 lessons

This is a course of 10 lessons in which we learn the classical drawing technique step by step. Capturing the likeness of our model will be our goal. 

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3. 'Open Atelier'

April-June 2024, 6 lessons

This is a short course of six lessons, developed to give the students from the previous two courses the opportunity to practice with the knowledge they have gained. New students are also welcome to join, and become familiar with the classical way of working. 

> More information

Art Retreat

9-16 September 2023

Join us on Art Retreat in the South of France this September. During this week, we stay in a beautiful Provençal farmhouse in the middle of the vineyards, where we draw and paint every day. 

> More information

If you would like more information about the courses or if you want to subscribe, send an email to this address:

Couse 1

Seeing the big shape:
learn to draw the human figure better

Number of lessons: 10

Dates: September (29), October (6,13,27), November (3,10,24), December (1,8,15) 

Time: Friday morning from 10.00-13.00h

Minimum age: 16

Maximum: 12 students

Minimum:  8 students


“The teaching of drawing, is the teaching of looking”

-David Hockney


Drawing the figure can be an overwhelming experience. After all, there are so many elements to take into account! Therefore, we cover the basic idea of our model drawing classes in this introductory course: make sure the big shape is working, before you add any information. 


To be able to do so, we will not only talk about drawing techniques, but we will focus on the way we observe the figure as well. For example: when we want to draw hands and feet, do we see all the details (toes and fingers) or can we discern the essence of the form? 


‘From Matisse to Michelangelo’


Aside from drawing techniques and observation skills we believe it to be very inspiring to discover how great artists from the past have dealt with this theme. We will look through the eyes of great artists, so that we can learn from his/her findings.


For whom is this course suitable?


Both beginning students and more experienced draughtsman are welcome to join these classes, since it will deepen their observation skills and enables them to draw a convincing figure more quickly. After this course you will be well prepared for the course ‘model drawing, lessons from the masters’. 


Students who attended the course ‘model drawing lessons from the masters’ are encouraged to join these classes as well, to expand the knowledge about the human form. Anatomy lectures will give you an understanding of what it is that you are seeing, when working with the human form.



About the teachers:


The course is taught by Merlijn Groenen and Ilse Nass. 


Merlijn works as a designer and brand strategist in Maastricht. She studied fashion design at the Fashion Academy in Arnhem (ArtEZ) and art history at the Utrecht University and the Sorbonne University in Paris. She also completed the master Design Cultures at the VU Amsterdam.

In her drawings her fascination for the human form and knowledge of the anatomy is shown: with just a couple of lines she captures the essence of a pose gracefully. For more information see:

Model drawing,
lessons from the masters

Number of lessons: 10

Dates: January (19,26), February (2,9,23), March (1,15,22,29), April 5

Time: Friday morning from 10.00-13.00h

Minimum age: 16

Maximum: 12 students

Minimum:  8 students

Always wanted to draw but you never quite knew where to start or how to grasp the likeness of your model? Feel welcome to join our classes and learn a step-by-step approach of classical drawing that certainly will boost your drawing skills!


Using studies by old masters, we learn to master important drawing concepts such as proportion, tone, line quality, etc. This forms the basis for further study in the second part of the course: drawing by observation.


Like such great masters as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo, we focus on model drawing. Indeed, the human body is one of the most complex subjects to master. Lessons you learn about it are universal and can later be applied to other genres such as landscape or portrait.


The course starts with the basics and throughout the year more complex facets of drawing will be covered. This makes the course suitable for both beginners and advanced students. Even professional artists might benefit, learning the craft of this thorough classical way of working. 


The course will be given by Ilse Nass. She has a classical education abroad and shares her knowledge and love for the profession with you.

Couse 3

Open studio

Number of lessons: 6

Dates: April (12,19,26), May (17,24), June (7)

Time: Friday morning from 10.00-13.00h

Minimum age: 16

Maximum: 12 students

Minimum:  8 students

This open atelier is organized to unite people who wish to improve their skills as an artist by studying the human figure. 


You are free to decide what you want to work on during these classes. Is it a particular technique you wish to improve (proportions, line quality, values)? Or do you wish to expand your knowledge of materials and experiment with for example charcoal, watercolor, ink, acrylic or pastel? Everything is possible and individual guidance will be granted.


Students who subscribed for the program ‘model drawing, lessons from the masters’ are strongly advised to use this opportunity to deepen their understanding of the 

theory from the course. 


“We practice a step by step approach and

Ilse instinctively knows when you’re ready for the next step”


- Mieke Noël


“Lessons from Ilse are always interesting and fun. She is a really good mentor that each time teaches you ways to improve your drawings. Ilse is able to inspire and motivate groups of 10+ students. Nobody is left behind, she does not hesitate to point out areas in your drawing that can be improved but this is always done in an respectful manner and in combination with a review of the good parts of the drawing. Ilse is fun to be around with and creates a very pleasant atmosphere in her groups”.  


-Godard Hazeu 

"Lessons from Ilse are very inspiring! She is very enthusiastic and teaches exactly that part of craftsmanship that I missed while studying at the academy of Arts. Learning to see and learning to draw in a way the classical master painters worked has slowly been fading away since the start of the 20th century. It is really great that this is now possible in our community. Ilse has a positive mindset and always knows to discover a nice area or piece in your drawings. She stimulates you to push through no matter what level you are working at. Lessons are well prepared in advance with good examples and clear instructions. Bottom line: lessons from Ilse are a must for anyone who wishes to improve his or her drawing skills."   

-Paul van Mil 

"I really enjoyed these model drawing courses. The lessons are of high quality and unique in the Netherlands: while art academies are focusing on conceptual art mainly, this is a place where the classical drawing technique is re-thought! I was so inspired by these teachings that I decided to do a follow-up course at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. Ilse’s lessons proved to be an ideal preparation for this program. "



"First you draw what you see.
Next, you draw what you know, and only then
will you know what it is that you see."

-Robert Beverly Hale 



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