Creative sketchbook course – Manchester

I attended a two day course on Creative Sketchbooks with teacher Brian Raymond at Creative Art Courses in Manchester. Fellow students were mainly from the OCA on fine art/drawing and textiles courses. Debbie, a fellow student, organised a subsidy for the cost of the day from OCASA and the tutor. Thanks Debbie!

Brian taught us a number of ways to make sketchbooks more vibrant and useful. My particular interest is using sketchbooks to develop ideas and Brian took the time to work with me on this.

During the course we learned:

  • how to prepare sketchbook pages using collage and underdrawing covered with gesso or emulsion paint which created a more interesting base for drawing than a white page.
  • using a series of drawings of a plant in pen and ink to develop areas of interest and ideas. Brian emphasised the importance of keeping previous work visible to encourage this development.
sketchbook course 1
First sketch
Sketchbook 2
Developing sketch looking at folds in leaves and negative space
sketchbook 3
Developing idea of transparency and folding
  • using a page decoratively to reflect a theme while doing an investigation of a theme – through activities such as frottage, colour & texture studies, experimenting with materials.
sketchbook 4
sketchbook 5
dividing the page and using sections to explore different aspects such as colour and pattern
sketchbook 6
creating an artists page based on the work of Kitty Sabatier
sketchbook 7
pushing aspects of the drawing – line, colour, collage, Using Kitty Sabatier as an influence.
Sketchbook 8
Final piece using ideas and techniques developed in the sketchbook
  • Annotating sketches comprehensively to look at what is interesting, what works, what doesn’t.
  • inserting pages and using interesting formats such as fold-outs, layering, etc to add interest to a sketchbook and make it more coherent.

I really enjoyed the two days and will certainly take many of the ideas learned into my sketchbook work. I am not comfortable with creating a sketchbook as a decorative object in itself but the ideas of page preparation, concept development and experimentation, annotation and artist research are all really helpful. And I do like my final drawing too!

After completing the course I found a couple of videos on sketchbooks on the OCA website which are also useful:

Turning sketches into finished work

Keeping a sketchbook useful


2 thoughts on “Creative sketchbook course – Manchester”

  1. hi! these are all very lovely drawings! I absolutely agree with you about not wanting to keep a sketchbook as decorative object in itself – and it was really interesting to watch those two OCA videos again – thanks for posting them. I looked at them a long time ago and it was very helpful to see again.

    Liked by 1 person

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