Welcome to the June issue of Drawing Matters, particularly to those of you who are new subscribers. In this month's newsletter you will find:

  • Details about the 5-day Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain courses in the UK including examples of previous students' work

  • Drawing Coach: Why Keep a Sketchbook?

  • Virtual Visit: This month's visit is dedicated to a website which allows you to turn the pages of artists' sketchbooks - from the old masters to the present day.

  • What's New brings you up to date on what's new on the website

If your computer only allows you to view a text only version of this newsletter you can see the colour version with images here

I hope you will find Drawing Matters interesting and I'd love to hear any comments or suggestions from you. Please feel free to forward it to anyone who you think might be interested. There is a link at the bottom of the page where they can subscribe.
You can contact me here

Anna Black

Course Dates

If you've always wanted to learn to draw, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is a proven technique for teaching drawing - particularly to those people who swear they could never be taught to draw!

If you want to learn the five basic skills needed for realistic drawing you can do it a five-day intensive course. Although all the UK courses for 2008 are now full you can find out about courses in the United States by following the link at the bottom of the page.

All the 5-day courses being held in London in 2008 are now fully booked.

If you are interested in booking for next year but you are still sceptical that you will really learn the basic skills of drawing in just five days, here are some drawings by three different participants. None of them had any previous drawing experience or teaching of any significance.

All participants do a pre-instruction drawing, the self-portrait (below) was done on Day 1, before instruction by the participant, who on Day 2, completed this challenging foreshortened view of a hand (below right) as well as the drawing of a chair (below left) also on Day 2.

The sighting drawing, below left, was done on the 3rd day of instruction. This participant's pre-instruction drawing is shown below right.

On Day 3, participants do profile drawings of each other.

Here is a "before" and "after": on Day 1, participants do a pre-instruction self-portrait drawing.... Then on Day 5, participants do a self-portrait, bringing together all the skills they have learned.

To find out more about how the course is structured and what you will learn, click here

For further information and a booking form, click here

Find out what other people have thought of the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain drawing course devised by Betty Edwards - Read more here


Whether it's for a birthday, anniversary or just so someone can show you they are supporting you... contributing to the cost of a drawing course is a great way for family and friends to help you with your drawing - as well as learn a skill for life.

Gift vouchers are available in amounts of £25, £50 and £100 and can be redeemed in full or as part payment on Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain courses offered by Anna Black only.

To purchase a gift voucher contact me here


"I should recommend ... keeping ... a small memorandum-book in the breast-pocket, with its well-cut sheathed pencil, ready for notes on passing opportunities: but never being without this." John Ruskin, The Elements of Drawing, 1857

Everybody is always told to keep a sketchbook but why, what is the point?

"One of the reasons I draw so many sketches is to learn. I learn about the world around me by drawing. By drawing I begin to see things I have not paid attention to before. Its not like I have to know about a thing before I draw it. The act of drawing teaches me about things." Jerry Cutler, artist

Sketchbook, journal, whatever word you want to use to describe it, having some kind of portable ‘book’ to draw in regularly can help hone your artistic skills and generate ideas.

"Like a musician, an artist needs to practice every day and a sketchbook is an ideal place to work on your observational and drawing skills. In time you will learn to select and simplify so that you can encapsulate an attitude, a pose or a movement in a few lines. Sketching regularly also improves visual memory and manaul dexterity, enabling you to make accurate and rapid records of the subjects that interest you." Albany Wiseman, The Artist's Sketchbook

Historically sketchbooks were works in progress – this was where an artist drew studies of people or objects that would later be incorporated into a painting. Sketchbooks provided an opportunity to work through ideas and difficulties – themes, poses, composition etc. A sketchbook shows how an artist’s mind works – what grabs their attention and where they take that thought.

"Sketchbooks...may contain beautiful drawings but also because they can provide particular insights into the working methods of the artist and because they often suggest sources of inspiration." Michael Kimmelman, 'Sotheby's to Break Up a Robert Sketchbook', New York Times, October 31, 1989

Work in sketchbooks was never meant to be judged critically as ‘works of art’; sketchbooks are personal, intimate windows into the artist’s mind.

"You can't do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh." John Singer Sargent

More recently sketchbooks have developed into more of their own art form – the ‘visual journal’. These can be exciting kaleidoscopes of colour, including found objects or mementoes or souvenirs and photographs. A journal may be on a particular subject such as a journey or a location, or they may be a random collection of images. See Danny Gregory's Creative Licence in Books. Danny's forthcoming book An Illustrated Life showcases numerous journals by artists and will be reviewed at a later date but in the meantime, you can pre-order on Amazon. Often illustrated journals include writings – perhaps notes about colours or perhaps just thoughts and reflections on the subject.

Perhaps when you start your next sketchbook, remember Jerry Cutler's words of advice:

"I would also suggest that you not worry about how good the drawings are. Just keep drawing what you see or what you imagine. Then when you get to the last page you can look back to the beginning and see how much better you have become."
(Read the full interview at www.artjunction.org)

There will be more advice and tips on Making the Most of your Sketchbook in next month's Drawing Matters

In the meantime, visit the website to read some Sketching tips: Sketching on Location here


It's rare we get a chance to see inside artists' sketchbooks. Occasionally a museum will have one on show - displayed open at one page - so frustratingly you don't get to see the other pages... This site offers a fantastic opportunity to peek into sketchbooks by some great artists: Henry Moore, Edward Burne Jones, John Constable, Edgar Degas, Gericault, W.M Turner, John Singer Sargent, Leonardo da Vinci, Frederick Leighton, Frida Kahlo - plus many books and journals by artists today.

The subjects vary enormously from the sheep Henry Moore used to see grazing out of his window, to the studies of draperies and figures by Burne Jones. Frida Kahlo's pages are a riot of colour, Turner's landscape sketches show how he studied value tones for his paintings...

There is a wealth of inspiration here. The links take you to sites and sometimes you have to look for a 'page through book' button in order to scroll through the pages.

Don't ignore sketchbooks of artists whose names you don't recognise - if you do, you are missing out. View the sketchbooks here (a new window will open).


Sitemap Seen something on the website but you can't remember where? Navigating round a website can be tricky and if you are in a rush, it can be frustratingly tedious. I hope I've now made it easier for you by creating a Sitemap page on the navigation bar which lists the information found on each page of the website. Visit SiteMap here

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain USA

To find out about Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain courses run by Brian Bomeisler in the USA visit www.drawright.com

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Anna Black

Contact Anna here