Welcome to the Sketchbooks section of the Archives. Here you'll find lots of information and inspiration to create sketchbooks packed with drawing, colour, collage, prints and more. Don't worry if you're new to keeping a sketchbook, we have plenty to get you started.
About Working in Sketchbooks
Your sketchbook can become an invaluable resource. It's a place to house inspiration and ideas that you've gathered from myriad sources, maybe with drawing, painting, printing or collage. We love to work into our books with a wide range of techniques and media so you'll find all sorts of approaches and ideas in the workshops. Most importantly, if you're one of those people who think they can't draw, or are nervous of that blank white page, fear not! There are many ways to get your ideas down on the page. Our free video Don't Draw? Trace! is a great place to get started.
Find yourself eager for more? Our extended course Creative Sketchbooks might be for you. There are four Modules with over 45 video demonstrations. During the course we’ll cover ways to gather inspiring visual material and record it using a wide range of mediums and techniques. The resulting work will form a unique and personal resource for future work which could be developed towards any fine art or craft route, or simply to enjoy as beautiful, colour-filled journals. This course is ideal for beginners or more advanced students requiring a structured framework within which to develop creative skills and good practice.
Composing with Photos
Using photographs in design compositions can be exciting, but also tricky. Join Laura to see lots of examples and discover tips for success.
Laura will show you how you can use a tracing method to quickly record a tonal study, both with crosshatching and wash. This is a great technique for developing a drawing as an end in itself, or as a preliminary study for something more.
We love making rubbings, they're a great way to draw without really drawing. But have you ever considered how you can make transfers from your rubbings? In this video workshop Laura shows you how.
Page to Stitch: Painterly Poppies
So you've been working in your sketchbook and are really happy with the pages, but how can you translate that to fabric? In this two-part workshop Linda will show you how she creates a painterly study of poppies in her sketchbook then takes those pages as inspiration to create a quilted panel.
Handpainted Collage Papers
Create your own handprinted collage papers, perfect for sketchbook and mixed media painting. Then explore how you can expand your collage and have fun playing with scale.
Don't lose your stitched samples! Keep them safe and organised in your sketchbook. In this class Laura will show you how to add your stitched samples successfully into your sketchbook and build a lovely reference of technique.
Sketchbook to Textiles – Interpreting Marks
Join Linda for a look through one of her sketchbooks as she talks about mark making and then how it's possible to interpret those marks into your textile work, in this case using dimensional fabric paint.
Mixed Media: Art Journal Pages
We always encourage you to save your scraps, but what to do with all those bits of paper? They are perfect for using in a mixed media art journal page. In this video workshop Laura will show you how to quickly colour your sketchbook page using scraped acrylic paint, create a frame, add collage elements and draw linear details. The pages you'll make will make the perfect home for your art diary writing, photos and collected ephemera.
Sketchbook to Fabric
We're often asked how to translate successful sketchbook pages into fabric techniques. In this video Laura demonstrates how easily that can be done with a little sampling and experimentation. She'll work with ink, acrylic paint and hand dyeing to interpret design ideas from her sketchbook pages.
We're used to working from light to dark in our sketchbooks so let's mix it up and start with dark backgrounds and add white. Laura will show you how you can use a range of white and light media to add highlights and pattern to your sketchbook pages.
Considering the Elements of Design can seem daunting, but really they are just the ingredients in any project. In this workshop Linda discusses ideas for creating shape using a variety of lines, but no outlines! She also combines stencils and masks to create pattern within a shape.
Rubbings: Frames and Windows
Having used rubbings to create frames and windows, see how Linda is working into them with collage and drawing. This is a fun way to include your favourite subjects - anything goes!
Stamp and Draw on Paper and Fabric
Some detailed subject matter can be daunting to draw from scratch. In this workshop Linda will show you how it's possible to use a subtle stamped shape as the base for your drawing. Take all the guesswork out of getting the shapes right and instead enjoy creating a design and drawing the details. Then building on the sketchbook work that Linda did using stamps and drawing, she demonstrates how it's easily possible to translate those ideas to fabric to make a stitched piece.
Make the most of accidental frames as a starting point for new work. Discover how Laura uses acrylic paints to create exciting marks that provide a perfect place to showcase all kinds of artwork. This is a perfect way to make vibrant borders on your sketchbook pages ready to enclose collage, photographs, drawing or painting - whatever is your favourite medium!
Printmaking: Trash to Treasure
Challenge yourself to make printing plates from materials found in the recycling bin! In this workshop Laura will demonstrate how to make plates from polystyrene, cardboard, Tetra Pak and milk bottles. Working small with this experimental approach you'll achieve great results from rubbish!
Handpainted Gouache Resist
Linda will show you a fantastic method for creating a resist painting using gouache and Indian ink. The results are perfect for when you want to add some drama to your painting or sketchbook work.
ATC Book – Night and Day
Join Linda for a page-by-page look through her themed ATC book, 'Night and Day'. She'll show you how she's worked in the tiny pages and some of the techniques and materials that she's found most useful when working at this small scale.
Working in ATC Books
Join Linda in the studio for a page-by-page tour of her ATC sketchbook inspired by insects. She'll share her tips and techniques for filling the tiny pages.
Trying Caran D’Ache Neocolor II
Laura's been experimenting with Caran D'Ache Neocolor II for the first time. Join her to test them out on different papers, and see how she's been using them, both wet and dry, in her sketchbook pages.
Making ATC Books
What are you going to do with all those ATCs? In this workshop Laura will show you several ways to use them including making tiny sketchbooks!
Oil Pastel Monoprint & Wash
Video Workshop - Using the basic Oil Pastel Monoprint technique, Linda's developing the process and using it in combination with wash. You'll already know that oil can work as a resist to waterbased media, see how Linda paints with watercolour adding beautiful fluid washes without losing control of the paint.
Oil Pastel Monoprint
This is a super technique for your sketchbook, or for use in mixed media drawing and painting. Join Linda to see how to make a monoprint using oil pastels. You can work freehand or make use of your stencils.
In the Mix: Rubbings and Drawing
Work along with Laura to bring more confidence to your drawing. Laura will show you how rubbings can be the basis for beautiful tonal drawings. You'll need only very basic supplies to create great results!
Photobook Finishing Touches
Join Laura to see her completed Photobook including a look at the cover, and a page-by-page walkthrough with an insight into the thought processes and techniques she's used.
Photobook: First Steps
Now you’ve made your photo book is time to start working into those pages. Join Laura as she guides you through the first steps in her own book, and shares ideas for how to get started with simple media and a thoughtful approach to composition, mark making and colour.
Mixed Media: Acrylic + Watercolour
Experiment with layers in your painting and printmaking for sketchbook work using a combination of acrylic and watercolour. Linda will show you how you can exploit the properties of each to create interesting effects.
Do you have a pile of photo prints that you aren't sure what to do with? Join Laura to bind them into a book that you can use as an album, or treat as a sketchbook.
Inspired by Nature
Find inspiration in nature and see how Linda interprets a photographic source as a mixed media study in her sketchbook. She'll show you how to use watercolour, charcoal pencils and oil pastel to create rich surfaces sympathetic to the subject matter. Then working from her sketchbook, Linda interprets the mixed media study into a stitched textile. See how she uses opaque and transparent fabric scraps to build painterly layers adding texture with machine and hand stitching.
Using Masking Fluid
Using masking fluid can be a versatile method for your watercolour painting both for conventional paintings and in your sketchbook work. In this workshop Linda will show you different ways to apply it for great effect.
Foiling on Paper
Add metallic gleam to your sketchbook and other work on paper using foiling. Linda will demonstrate a number of ways to use the foil creatively to add shapes and painterly areas of metallic.
Be inspired by nature around you and collect leaves to use for plant printing. Linda will show you how to make beautiful contact prints on paper. Laura will demonstrate how to make simply structured, but endlessly creative concertina books to house your prints. Finally Linda shares her ideas for working back into your plant printed sketchbook to edit, refine and add detail. The result will be a truly unique record of the plant material you've collected and a fabulous sketchbook for inspiration and further development.
Designing with Collage
Collage is the perfect technique for design work. In this workshop Laura will show you how you can use your painted papers, or create ones from your fabrics, to make designs that could be ideal for informing your next quilt. She'll show you how collage can be used to make the basis of your design with painting to add extra colour.
Inktense Traced Print
Drawing is often the best way to start a watercolour, acrylic or mixed media painting, but what if you you feel your drawing skills aren't strong, or maybe you just want a fast and effective way to get your image down on paper so you can quickly get started with your painting? In this workshop Linda will demonstrate her technique for creating that drawing which will be the perfect foundation for your painting.
Work along with Linda to make your own visual diary to document your observations and collections. Linda's focussing on one of her favourite subjects, moths, but your diary can document anything you like! In Linda's book you'll see a selection techniques used in combination to record what you find. There are three workshops in this collection.
Photographs + Sketchbooks
Do you find yourself with a stash of inspirational photo prints, or numerous photos on your phone waiting to be printed? Photographs can be an exciting component of your sketchbook pages. See how Laura's been using photographs in her books as a layer in her collage and mixed media process.
Polka Dot Papers
Make your own beautiful painted papers with this easy batik technique. They'll be perfect for using in your sketchbook and mixed media work.
Have a look at the drawings Laura's been working on this week.
Plant Printed Artist Book
Take a page by page look through Linda's plant printed artist book. The book is hand made from a variety of plant printed papers. As you'll see she's added painted birds and insects, these are worked in watercolour, gouache and acrylic ink.
Linda’s Poppy Sketchbook
Take a look at some pages from Linda's poppy sketchbook.
We love to find inspiration in our gardens and you know we both have used poppies in our work. Take a look at these beautiful examples and maybe use them to draw or paint from in your sketchbook.
The best paper for making a Concertina Sketchbook
We love working in concertina sketchbooks. In this post we'll share our tips for the best paper to use when making your own concertina books and you'll also find a link to our worksheet of instructions to make your own.
Choosing the right format of sketchbook to suit a project can really help get you off to a flying start. In this mini course of three workshops, Linda first demonstrates how a concertina format can be ideal for documenting a journey or landscape subject.
In the Mix – Plant Printing and Plants in Altered Books
See how Linda's combined ideas from two workshops for great results. She's using techniques from Plants in Altered Books and working into her Plant Printing pages.
A Flip-through Laura’s Sketchbook
Free - Take a quick flip-through tour through Laura's sketchbook. This one isn't finished, but we hope you enjoy seeing how the pages are shaping up so far. This book makes use of a lot of monoprint, collage and drawing with pen.
Beautiful Painted Papers
Gloriously coloured papers are a joy to use in your collage, mixed media, sketchbook and paper and stitch work. In this workshop Linda will show you how to upcycle basic materials into beautiful painted papers that will be perfect for use in a variety of projects.
Plant Printing Concertina Books Flip-Through
A flip-through video two concertina books made using plant printed pages. See how Linda's worked into the plant prints with collage, drawing and painting.
Take a page by page look through one of Laura's sketchbooks as she describes the media, techniques and ideas she uses. Get a feel for the different ways you can use a sketchbook and be inspired to start your own.
Mixing it up!
Variety of art mediums is the way to get lots of mileage from a single source of inspiration in a sketchbook.
3D Printed Rubbing Plates
We've been experimenting with 3D printers to make rubbing plates. Take a look at how we've been getting on...
Drawing and Painting
Linda's enjoying more sketchbook drawing and painting today. With spring in the air the garden provides the inspiration.
Working into Printed Sketchbook No. 2
See how Linda is making one of Laura's printed sketchbooks her own!
Take a peek at pages from Laura's sketchbooks.
Art Kit Essentials
Laura's art kit essentials for sketchbook working on the go.
Sharpen those Pencils!
Get your workspace ready! It sounds like procrastination, but seriously, sharpen those pencils...
Getting Started on a New Project
Laura shares her tips for getting started on a new project.
Developing a Habit – How to start a sketchbook
Laura's tips for developing a sketchbook habit.
Poppies in Graphitint
Take a look at Linda's drawings of poppies using Derwent Graphitint pencils.
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Mixed Media Still Life
Inspiration can come from objects you live with everyday, and setting up a Still Life to work from can be a brilliant way to practise your skills of composition, drawing and painting. In this two-part workshop first Laura shows how to create a consistent environment for your arrangement, and shares tips and ideas for objects you might choose and how to place them. In the second part Linda encourages you to try a 'back to front' approach of painting first, drawing second, using a combination of oil pastel, watercolour and soluble pencils. It's great fun, and a fast and free way to record what you see - perfect for getting to know your still life subject.
Surface Design – Sponge Printing
Join Linda in this set of two videos where she demonstrates how effective stamping with compressed sponge can be. This technique is suitable for use on both paper and fabric, but in this class Linda will focus on taking the ideas into fabric and will make a cushion from her stamped fabric that has stitch and beading to enhance the lovely printed texture.
Printed Patchwork Details
Join Linda in this set of two videos where she demonstrates how basic block printing techniques can be combined with traditional patchwork to simplify the piecing and create visually complex designs. We think these ideas can be applied to lots of different designs and will appeal to anyone who would like to add a really individual touch to their traditional quilt making.
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