Happy New Year! Welcome to the January issue of Drawing Matters. A new year often heralds well-intentioned resolutions to make changes and do something new. However, it can be hard to stick at it. If drawing forms part of any of your new year resolutions, I've got some tips below to keep you motivated through the year.

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This month's newsletter contains the following:

  • the latest course dates for the 5-day Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain workshop in the UK in 2008

  • The course below is a non-residential workshop in London. In the future I am planning to run residential courses in locations around the UK.

  • the selected Book of the Month

  • Tip of the Month Five steps to turn your drawing goals into a reality.

  • What's On brings you news of any drawing-related exhibitions or events taking place online or in the UK

  • I hope you will find it interesting and I'd love to hear any comments on suggestions from you. You can contact me here

    Anna Black

    2008: The Year You Learn a Skill for Life

    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. I am now taking registrations for the next course.


    WHEN? Monday 23 June-Friday 27th June 2008
    9.30am to 5.30pm

    WHERE? Maria Assumpta Centre, 23 Kensington Square, London W8 5HN Nearest tube: High Street Kensington (District Line)

    HOW MUCH? £475

    Special price of £425 if you book and pay in full before 1st April 2008

    Course fee includes:

    • 35 Hours of teaching
    • The Drawing Portfolio (RRP £50).
      All the materials you will need for the course, including drawing tools unique to Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

      See full list of contents here

      If 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 significant previous drawing experience or teaching.

      The first "proper" drawing students do is drawing their own hand. This challenging foreshortened view was completed on the 2nd day of instruction.

      This drawing of a chair was done on the 2nd day of instruction.

      This sighting drawing was done on the 3rd day of instruction.

      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


      At the end of day, to learn to draw you have to pick up a pencil and actually do it, unfortunately, you are not going to absorb drawing skills telepathically from any of the titles stacked along your bookshelf. However, books can be really helpful and this month's book has been chosen to help the answer the heartfelt pleas of students crying 'But I don't know what to draw!'.

      The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook by Betty Edwards offers 40 basic and new exercises designed to develop your drawing skills. Designed so you can actually draw within the book (though I'd advise doing your drawings in a separate pad), each exercise has full step-by-step instructions, post-exercise remarks and sample finished drawings.

      There is more than one exercise for each of the five basic skills plus a few using other media such as charcoal, conte crayon and pen and ink.

      Also included is a pullout viewfinder tool. Although you may find it helpful to stiffen it with reinforcing around the edges (you could just stick a 2in band or so of stiff card around the 4 edges).

      Just think, if you did just one of these exercises a week (allowing you a few weeks off for good behaviour and high days and holidays), what you will have achieved by the end of 2008 in terms of new skills and learning!


      Some ideas for keeping you motivated

      A new year and another batch of well-intended resolutions that fizzle out before the Christmas decorations are down. This time next year – what would you like to have achieved in 2008?

      Five Steps to Turning Your Goals into a Reality

      1. Make a list of drawing goals and write them down (writing them down means you are more likely to stick to them).
      2. Be realistic (there’s no point in setting yourself up to fail)
      3. Make a date in your diary – ideally in one month, no later than in three – to review and revise your goals. It’s okay to change and let go of goals but do consciously and deliberately, rather than just letting them fade away in embarrassment. It’s natural that what we want in January might be different to what we want in March.
      4. Share your goals with a friend (they can be a non-drawing person!). A ‘goal buddy’ can support you in your endeavours (and you can support them in theirs). Be accountable to each other as well as giving each other moral support and encouragement.
      5. For every goal you set, make a plan now about how you are going to achieve it. Be as specific as you can break things down into small manageable steps and write them down.

      Five Suggestions for Drawing Goals:

      1. Carry a sketchbook with you at all times. Seize the drawing moment!
      2. Make a specific time each week for drawing(each day if you can) to draw. Keep this time sacrosanct and don’t let it be hijacked by chores, friends or family. Even 15 minutes will make a difference.
      3. Book a workshop or a class. Mixing with like-minded people can be really motivating. If you can’t do something regularly perhaps attend a one-day or residential workshop. Check out your local museums for classes - they often run drawing events for adults (see National Portrait Gallery, London; The Wallace Collection, London; the Royal Academy, London.) Check their 'What's On' and book early as they are often over-subscribed. Your local museums may run something similar
      4. Don't wait for the muse to strike – draw regardless of whether you feel 'in the mood'. Just start drawing and see what happens…
      5. Keep your drawing materials accessible and to hand so it won’t be a big performance to start drawing.

      and finally…
      Give yourself permission to start again... if you don't stick to your new year resolutions so what, who's going to come after you? If it's something you really want to do, just do it. Start now.


      It can be hard finding the time to get to an art gallery or museum and too often, when we do, we don’t get to see what we want. Drawings in particular are often not on permanent view. However, many collections allow online which is a chance to see close up how artists before you have handled different genres and different media.

      Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896) was one of the most eminent artists of the Victorian era and was President of the Royal Academy between 1878-1896. 670 of his drawings are held at Leighton House Museum in Kensington, London. His work is very much within a classical tradition, stretching back to the great masters of the Italian Renaissance. The practice of drawing was central in his achievements and his skill as a draughtsman is undoubtable.

      "I am disposed to attach even higher values to his studies and to his works in pencil than to his greatest paintings. In them he was pre-eminently great..."
      George C. Willimson, 1902

      Search and view Lord Leighton's drawings here.

      WHAT'S ON?

      Although the following event occurs in London it's always worth checking out what your local museums offer in the way of workshops, events and courses. If they don't - perhaps they will if you ask! You can always just take along your sketch book and look for inspiration among the exhibits Royal Academy, London Offer practical drawing workshops in their historic life rooms in the Royal Academy of Art. These offer a great opportunity to experience drawing in the same rooms as some of the greatest artists. These workshops are very popular and sell out almost as soon as they are advertised so it's worth subscribing to their newsletter if you'd like to find out in time. Search Workshops & Events from their home page here

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      Anna Black

      Contact Anna here