This last weekend, we (myself and fellow artist Hugh Winterbottom) ran our first Sketchbook Sketching Foundation workshop which aimed to equip people with some of the techniques and skills for drawing out on location and for recording their world in sketchbooks. It was an action packed two days (9.30-16.30 Saturday and Sunday) with a range of subjects covered and lots of opportunity for sketching practice. This blog gives an overview of the weekend and what we learnt in the process.
Course location and content
We ran the course from Hugh’s large 4th Floor Studio at Woodend Mill, Mossley. It’s a great venue as it is a working studio with wonderful views of the surroundings and space enough for this type of course. We covered a variety of topics from mark making and quality of line, composition and measuring, to drawing buildings and large structures, creating depth in a drawing, to people sketching and colour.
We had a detailed lesson plan as well as notes and details for each exercise. This organization served as well because it enabled us to keep on track despite the packed schedule! We wanted to maximize the opportunity for sketching so each section of the course enabled participants to practice what we had been discussing. We had 3 venues for sketching: The studio itself, including some still life set ups, an indoor venue with lots of content at Emmaus, Mossley and outside in the surrounding residential streets near the Mill. We wanted to show that both indoor and outdoor venues are useful for drawing from life. Indeed, with our UK weather it is better to have in mind a variety of sketching venues so that you can draw whatever the weather! Going out as a group also helped to build confidence in drawing in a public setting.
We also shared our sketchbooks and talked extensively about specific materials and their uses. This included all manner of pens as well as watercolour paint and coloured pencils.
We had a range of sketching experiences within the group. Everyone got on well together and there was a positive and enthusiastic vibe in the room for the whole of the two days. Although we had packed a lot into the programme, we got a clear impression that everyone was keen to learn as well as have fun! Sharing work was also a great experience for the group as it gave the opportunity for seeing all the work together at the end of the day and to look at the different styles and ways of drawing the same subject matter. It also gave the chance for positive feedback and encouragement.
And the results were:
We asked for detailed feedback from our course participants. This will provide a great basis for the development of this and other courses. In summary, the participants were very positive about the course, finding it very useful overall. We asked them to score key aspects of the course including the venue, course content, materials and tutors on a scale of 1-5 where 5 is the highest. All aspects scored 4.5 or higher. Things that were received particularly well included the practical opportunities to sketch, Recommendations and discussions about paper, materials as well as sharing our work and processes and introduction to new techniques. Things that would have helped to improve the learning process include more demos (we did do this on a one to one basis but we will include more of this in future courses). Here are a couple of quotes from participants:
‘Very enjoyable and learnt a lot. Feel more confident to try on my own. Sharing our work and receiving positive feedback and helpful advice was very encouraging’
‘This was an enjoyable experience. Content was just right and the pace suited me very well’
Watch out for the flyers and next dates for our workshops that we will share on Social media and our websites as they are developed. We are planning a series of one-day workshops (weekends) as well as the two day session described here.