Art Course

Drawing lessons for beginners:

If you have always wished you could draw or you feel like discovering a new skill, this course will help you realize your creative passion. Join me for an informal and friendly evening course discovering the art of drawing and observation, through a structured exploration of the basic techniques of drawing. If you can write your name you can draw!

Details of lessons below:

Required drawing kit:

  • 1 x A2 6mm thick MDF or Ply Drawing Board
  • 1 x A3 good quality spiral bound Sketch Book. (Daler Rowney, Windsor & Newton, Seawhite.)
  • 2 x large Bulldog Clips
  • 1 x set of Derwent Drawing Pencils: B, 2B, 4B, 6B
  • 1 x pack of good quality Willow Charcoal Medium sticks.(Daler Rowney, Windsor & Newton)
  • 1 x good quality Soft Putty Rubber.(Daler Rowney, Windsor & Newton, Staedtler, Faber-Castell)
  • 1 x good quality Retractable Craft Knife.(Jakar Plastic Cutting Knife Large)

"I can't draw." How many times have you said that or heard someone else say it? It's probably right up there with "I'm useless at Maths," or "I'm hopeless at languages." All of these things you have told yourself you can't do have one thing in common. They require a skill set that can be taught to anybody who is willing to learn.

"Ah," I can hear you say, "but they still require an innate talent, people are born with those skills, you have to be a natural to be able to learn and develop them," and then, "There is no way you will be able to teach me to be an artist, I have no talent whatsoever!" Well it is true some people are born with a pencil in their hand. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso and Monet are all revered for their enormous talent and genius and yes they all went to some form of art school or received instruction where their talent was trained.

However, Vincent van Gogh was not born with a natural ability, but was first taught to draw at school by Constantijn C. Huysmans, a successful artist in Paris who advocated a systematic approach to the subject. Vincent would later go on to teach himself further through application and practice. In his letters to his brother Theo he used to complain how difficult drawing was, this from a man who now is acknowledged as one of the masters of modern art!

You do not have to have an innate talent to learn how to draw, you just need the desire and the willingness to practise. Like a musician who practises the scales every day, or an athlete who puts in the necessary miles every day, practice develops your skills. The skills are something that can be learned from a practical and systematic approach that gives you the tools to work with and the keys to unlock your ability. It's fun too!

In the mid 1990's I was a lecturer in Industrial Design at the Design School of The Cape Peninsula University of Technology. There, with a colleague and good friend, the artist and goldsmith John Skotnes, I was tasked with the problem of teaching first year students how to draw. Very few of them had a natural talent and found their design ability was limited by what they could depict in their drawings. Halfway through their first year the students were moderated on their progress and failed the course if it was deemed their development was insufficient to warrant further tuition. Most of those who could not pass the moderation failed because of their lack of drawing skills, even though they may in the future have made good designers. John and I sat down and developed a drawing course that could give students the requisite drawing skills to adequately express themselves in six months.

We did that by teaching our students how to see, and how to use basic drawing techniques to develop their self confidence through a systematic approach. Much the same as how you would teach somebody to read and write. We demythologised the subject of drawing by teaching the students not to be overawed by an end result but by understanding how the result was achieved and how it was achievable. I am happy to say that the course was a success and during the next sixteen years not a single student was released because of a lack of drawing skills.

I think learning the ability to draw is every bit as important as learning how to read and write and develop mathematical skills. Drawing helps you observe the world and see it as it really is rather than as a series of icons or symbols. Picasso once said, "Nothing has been recognised until it has been drawn," and then went on to say "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." Walt Stanchfield, the American animator and writer, points out "We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better."

Learn how to draw.

Lee Langton