I had a dozen people book in, which was a perfect size, as I could give people plenty of attention, but the group was large enough for them to not feel too exposed. We were just able to squeeze into my studio space, for me to talk to them as a group and brief in various exercises as we went along:
I shared various techniques, for instance, ideas to help them decide where to start and how to find simple things to tackle amongst the very complex world at large.
I also had a special trick up my sleeve to get them drawing in a confident, rather then a hesitant way, which worked really well...
As beginners, most of them had not come across contour-drawing before and it proved a revelation, which really freed people up and made their drawing much speedier.
It was very fortunate that I had a handy balcony outside my studio, so people had a great view over the shops and were able to work without the pressure of being in the throng of other people coming and going, and potentially looking over their shoulders.
This vantage-point proved especially useful because, as with the surprise Steam Punk event at my previous workshop, this time round we had a Morris-Dancing festival in the courtyard below! This gave us lots to draw all day, but it made things quite busy down at ground level, so it was good that we could watch and sketch in relative privacy.
I asked everyone to bring coloured pencils as I also wanted them to learn a few simple ideas for adding colour to their sketchbooks. It makes such a difference. we experimented with adding text too: personal observations, feelings, overheard sounds...
At various stages, we got together to share what we had done and learn from each other. I had a bigger, upstairs space I could use for the workshop, which was great for putting out all the books on the floor:
I really enjoyed the morning - it was such fun to be sharing techniques which were entirely new to people and which, though often fairly simple ideas, can be complete game-changers when you are starting out. It really felt like I was making a difference and there seemed to be quite a buzz by the time we had finished.
A big thanks to everyone who came. I hope you enjoyed it. And thank you to John too, for giving up his Saturday to be my right-hand man and for taking all the photos.
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