Monday, May 28, 2007

Sketching for Real - Advice and Workshops

Sunday Afternoon in the Park
8" x 10", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I've updated my website to include files (in Word) of the class on Sketching which I taught online in May 2006. I now have a page on the website called "Advice on Sketching" where you can find
  • an article on Starting to Sketch with coloured pencils
  • Sketching for Real - an online class with three assignments
You may download and print out the information in the files listed on Advice on Sketching - for your private, individual and educational use only. Teachers may provide a note of the URL ( in any list of websites they provide as useful information.

No licence is granted for commercial use:
  • you may NOT use the material in the files in any workshop which charges a fee
  • you may NOT use the material in the files to generate an income
  • you may NOT reproduce the material online without my written consent (see 'About the Artist' for contact details)
If you don't have Word, you should be able to open the files using the Google 'Docs and Spreadsheets' function. If you try the assignments out I'd love to know how you found them and what you produced as a result.

Sketching Workshops - for real!
I've been invited in the past to deliver 'face to face' workshops in the USA. So my plan for this year includes investigating options for using my teaching credentials to deliver workshops on sketching in the UK and overseas. I'm currently thinking about the development of a 'face to face' workshop based on Sketching for Real which will focus on developing skills and confidence in sketching and how to work towards sketching 'on location' and in public. The other thing I'm developing is a brief for groups interested in inviting me to visit them!

So now for the market research bit:
  • Do you think there is a demand for workshops on sketching?
  • What, in your experience, are the main things that people find difficult when it come to sketching?
  • For people wanting to learn more about sketching what are the things you most want to learn about and/or develop your skills/confidence in?
  • From your perspective what's the ideal length of a workshop on sketching? How about a weekend, five days or a fortnight?
  • when answering please indicate whether
    • you've ever taken a workshop before
    • and/or ever been taught to sketch (and if so, how)
    • and/or whether or not you'd like to or not.
Next week I'm going to be featuring the workshop and blog developed by another artist. I'm sure you'll find it absolutely fascinating as I did!

[Note: I'd just like to finish by saying that at the top is a sketch I did at the end of last month - which was the hottest April on record. Today we are nearing the end of a month which has been one of the gloomiest, windy, rainy Mays that I can ever remember!]


  1. If you do run a real face-to-face workshop on sketching, please let me know because I'd love to do it! For me, a weekend, or even a day, would be best. It should be outdoors, the hardest things for me are figuring out what to sketch when faced with the overwhelmingness of the real world; I can wander around for hours trying to decide what to sketch and never actually get round to sketching! So, landscape or townscape type subjects would be great for me. I've never taken a real-life workshop in sketching; I think it would be a great experience.

  2. Thanks Dave - and I can think of some very nice places in and around Oxford which would make great places to sketch!

  3. I think your workshops would be wonderful Katherine. Going on experience of offering courses (not just art) I've found that people mostly want short and sweet, as lives are so busy these days. So a weekend or a day or even something spread over a couple of weekends works.

    Fears in sketching for a lot of people is know where to start, what supplies to bring with them without hauling huge bags around and often the fear of working in the public eye.

    Now come do a workshop in Newfoundland please...:)

  4. I forgot to add that I haven't taken a workshop in sketching, but was always made to do thumbnails before drawings by my art mentors. These I guess I never really considered as sketches, more value studies.

  5. Yes, sketching workshops are in demand. I agree with your other commentators, short ones will be the most popular. If you can come up with a theme/focus that strikes a chord with you and that's unique - that's your best choice. On location work, sketching in public, definitely would have a market. People that are nervous about getting out there will find it easier in a group. Lending your expertise on kit to bring will also extend the interest in your workshop.

    As for my experience in giving comments...took several as a child and teen. Took a few classes from the local council when in the UK a few years ago. Personally, I would love a dedicated long workshop (few weeks), but I also know that is a fantasy and I could never break from real life that long.

  6. Katherine, yours is one of my favorite blogs. These last 2 posts are wonderful. Thanks for all the great info. I have not sketched much with colored pencils but you inspire me.

  7. OK - so it sounds like my initial thoughts of making my first priority the definitin of what is involved with a weekend workshop is more or less along the right lines. However the problem with shorter courses is it limits my scope to travel because of the income versus expense equation. So I guess what I probably need to do is find ways of making a workshop available if I'm planning to be in an area for other reasons?

    I like Jeanette's idea of delivery being over a couple of weekends. That would give people time to absorb and reflect which is always so very useful.

  8. I do wish you well with this, Katherine. As you know, your WetCanvas workshop was a turning point for me. I could see you leading a week-long sketching tour of Tuscany. I'll report back with brainwaves :)

  9. I'd love to lead a week-long sketching tour in Tuscany! How about a trek from Sienna to Urbino stopping off in Cortona for lunch? ;):D

  10. good idea, I think what to take, I have a bum bag which is really for fishing gear it works really well. Also making notes and make people practise getting "unprecious" about their sketchbooks, ie how to overcome the fear of the new pristine book, show them the beauty and usefullness of a well used and worked sketchbook. Different kinds of sketching, notes/watercolour/pen/biro/etc. Speed!
    I think all of the above would be useful.

  11. I think that a day, weekend, or perhaps a long weekend (Thurs am-Sun noon) would be good. Sketching outside, perhaps with a topic such as landscapes, cityscapes, people, plants... would be great in the summer. If you do two weekends, then you could do one weekend indoors, learning to draw, and one outside.
    About me: I have not taken any workshops in drawing, but learnt to draw from life using Betty Edward's book. Best of luck and thanks for a resourceful web site.


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