Welcome to the May 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: What Pencil Should I Use?

  • Virtual Visit This month's visit is dedicated to the life and work of Pablo Picasso.

  • 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

DRAWING COACH: What Pencil Should I Use?

Students often ask about pencils - what pencil should they use and when.

Pencils are very personal! Everyone has their own style of drawing. One person's will be fine and delicate whereas someone else will have a strong and bold line. Neither style is better than the other it's just the way you are - your 'signature'.

I would suggest experimenting with different pencils and seeing how different the effects are that you can get with different grades of pencil.

Pencils are 'coded' according to hardness/softness. 9H is the hardest and 9B the softest. HB is middle of the range. I personally prefer a softer pencil and I tend to start my drawings with a 2B and then move on to a 4B when I want to get a good range of values and perhaps even go up to 7B/8B if there are really dark darks. But I will use an H pencil if I'm doing some really fine lines or delicate cross hatching (you can see a range of pencil lines in the drawing of Bazzle the poodle on the website).

Getting a good range of tonal values makes a big difference to how a drawing looks 'real' and three-dimensional. A beginning student is often reluctant to include dark darks and so their drawings might look quite flat tonally.

One thing to bear in mind though is that softer pencils are just that 'softer'. The line is thicker and smudgier so if you want to do detailed / clean lines then a harder pencil may be more appropriate.

I would suggest you experiment and perhaps buy a few pencils across the range (you can buy boxed sets quite inexpensively) and try them out and see what you like.

One tip is to sharpen your pencil regularly as you will find that easier.


This month's featured artist is PABLO PICASSO

The son of an artist, Pablo Picasso was taught drawing by his father from a very young age. Accomplished works done from the age of 9 exist. Although he is best known for his abstract work his early training was traditional. His early work was very much based on academic drawing as he learned the skills of draughtsmanship by copying plaster casts in museums.

This website catalogues his work by year and include his drawings, paintings and prints. It's fascinating to see pages of his sketchbooks as well as preparatory drawings. Picasso was a prolific artist and here you get a real sense of the extent of his work - over 14,500 catalogued artworks plus commentaries and biographical notes. Don't let that put you off though - it's easy enough to dip into the 'Artworks' section and just dot about zooming in on whatever works takes your interest.
Visit the Picasso site 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 Tips Now that summer is definitely here it's the perfect opportunity to sit in the park, soak up some sun and do some sketching.

Find out some sketching tips here

Colin McGowan's Blog
Colin McGowan took the 5-day drawing course with Brian Bomeisler in Cambridge and also the 3-day Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Color Course.

Visit his blog to see drawings he did on the course plus his paintings from the Color Course as well as what he is doing today.

Go through the link and scroll down the bottom of the page to get the links to Colin's blog. Visit Colin's blog through 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