An arts charity has hosted its first canine life drawing class.

Artists attending the workshop at The Courthouse in Thirsk were given the opportunity to draw Inca, a golden cocker spaniel from the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity.

Inca has been a hearing dog and companion for owner Martin Peagam for the past four and a half years. He said: "We were delighted to be asked to come along to the art group. Being deaf can mean not getting to meet people very easily. Inca has opened the world for me, and I hope the artists will get great pleasure out of drawing him."

Experienced tutor and textile artist Jo Lawson has previously taught life drawing with the human figure. "When it was suggested, we have a dog, I thought, why not give it a go," she said. "Unlike with people who can hold a pose, with Inca it's more about drawing movement."

Darlington and Stockton Times: New classes at Rural Arts, Thirsk with Inka the dog

Travelling across the North York Moors from Kirkbymoorside and Helmsley, two of the class attendees at the first session on January 20 were mother and daughter, Janet and Carolyn Frank. Carolyn said: "I always enjoy coming to craft classes but have never done a drawing class before, but we loved the idea. It was nice to meet people and have some mother/daughter time."

Darlington and Stockton Times: Artist Jo Lawson in the studio space at Rural Arts

The class is run by Rural Arts, whose senior creative producer Julian Hartley said it attracted a session full of first-time life-drawing students.

"Life drawing is a fundamental skill for artists, but it can be quite intimidating to face the traditional naked human model," said Julian. "Having a lovely friendly dog like Inca takes some of that fear factor away and means the artists can relax and enjoy learning new skills."

The course continues each Saturday afternoon for four weeks until Saturday, February 10. Although the course is already fully booked, anyone wishing to take up an easel and capture Inca in drawing can book a taster session on Wednesday, April 17.