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Drawing - The Basic Principles (5-week course)

  • Yardley Arts, The Old School Hall The Square, Yardley Hastings Northampton, England, NN7 1EU United Kingdom (map)

If you’d like to learn how to draw the correct way or refresh your drawing skills, this course with artist Sarah Wright is for you. It’s designed to increase your confidence, but be prepared to make lots of mistakes, and do lots of practice. We’ll be using pencil, graphite, charcoal, putty rubbers and hard rubbers, A3 cartridge paper and masking tape.


Dates and times

Wednesdays, starting 24 April, from 2pm to 4pm, weekly. Ends on 22 May.

What to bring

There is no need to bring anything for the course itself as all materials will be provided, but please wear clothes you don’t mind getting a bit of charcoal on.

To draw we need to learn how to ‘see’, to do this we need to understand the five perceptual skills of drawing.
— Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Course outline (edges, spaces, relationships, lights and darks, and the whole)

Week one - Learning how to look, as an artist does - discovering line and edges

How to draw using the right side of the brain, introducing techniques and exercises, to help you see what you are looking at. Investigating the shape and quality of line, and the marks you can make.

Week two - Positive shape, negative space and shared boundaries

Finding different ways to look. Drawing what you see and not what you think you see. Discover how preconceived ideas affect your ability to draw. Drawing negative space, and positive form, using shared boundaries, creating observational drawings.

Week three - Perspective, measuring, proportion, relationships

Understanding how line describes perspective, and how to keep it in proportion, with the use of guides, angles, and a basic unit. Using the viewfinder and pencil, for sighting and framing, and, applying the basic unit for accurate proportion. Gaining confidence in drawing, perspective and foreshortening, and using proportion in different types of drawing from landscape to figurative.

Week four - Light and shadows

Learning to see and distinguish different light and shadow values. Creating a charcoal ground and drawing with a putty rubber, drawing with chalk on black paper. Understanding light source direction, tonal range, and shading.

Week five - The Gestalt or the whole - bringing it together

In the final session, we will use all the learnt perceptual skills of drawing, and bring them together to create the fifth, enabling you to apply your new looking skills and drawing practice to confidently draw your self-portrait, in your choice of medium.

Course cost

£75 per person (including all materials).

How to book

Booking is through Yardley Arts, you can either email or book online by clicking the ‘Buy Now’ button below. Spaces limited to 12 people, so book early to avoid disappointment.

...What Next? Drawing Enhancement…

Want to continue with drawing? You might be interested in the the follow-up course Drawing Enhancement, which will build on, and develop the skills previously learnt by experimenting with a variety of mediums, different applications, and the introduction of colour to drawing.

About the tutor

Sarah Wright has over 20 years experience of delivering workshops and classes in basic drawing, mark making, and life drawing. Her teaching focuses on using the five perceptual drawing skills, enabling and preparing you with looking skills, encouraging questioning of what you are seeing, and providing you with a new language and a different approach. She is always keen to celebrate the mistakes, highlighting the value of the artistic process, and creating a comfortable environment for all to critically review and evaluate artwork with the individual and group.

Sarah’s own art practice always starts with drawing. She says that drawing provides a framework for looking at something differently, and a space for the subconscious to take time out from the usual and expected. Drawing has helped Sarah to deal with difficult issues, giving her a neutral space to consider and reflect in. It can do the same for you.

If you have any questions beforehand, you can contact Sarah by email: