So, we're still lingering in these strange times and although it's exciting to see in-person classes starting back up, not everyone can risk face to face contact. If lock-down has taught me one thing however, it is how connected we can be, even from the safety of our homes.
I recently spotted online drawing classes with The Old Kennels and was immediately drawn to them, when else would I gain the expertise of a botanical artist based in Devon, when I live in West Wales? I really couldn't fathom how they would work though, is drawing really something you can be taught remotely? With guide documents and pre-recorded videos?
Well, the simple answer is yes, you can learn to draw online and the results may just surprise you!
So I dived in, signed up and joined Linda Hampson's (Member of the SW Society of Botanical Artists no less) Apple – introduction to botanical coloured pencil drawing class and I am so excited to show you the fruits of my labours.... sorry.
My muse, although you dont need to work from a real life apple, you can use the one in the guide
The first lesson with an online course, is actually to adjust your mind set a little and consider a few things before you start.
Space: You're not going to a class, so create a little workspace for yourself. Linda very kindly tells you what kind of set up works best, from the setting up of the apple (if you're using real life) to the lighting, even down to protecting your paper as you work.
Time: Some classes will tell you how long the lesson might take, so set aside some time to immerse yourself. I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon completing this lesson whilst my husband had one eye on the rugby and one watching the inside of his eyelids... it was bliss.
Materials: Unless your class comes with a kit, you will need to make sure you have the tools needed to work through the lesson. Linda provides you with specific pencil types and colours, discusses paper choice and a few other bits. I reckon I managed 50% so don't worry too much, the colour range is going to be the most important thing to try this.
The very basic materials required, a pencil, eraser, paper and apple toned coloured pencils
When you buy this online course, you receive a link and a password, which then provide you with:
A list of required materials (and alternatives)
A downloadable pdf guide to the main apple drawing process
A downloadable pdf guide to adding the water droplet at the end - fancy!
A pre-recorded video where Linda guides you through the process from set up to finish
Then just sit back, prepare to forget everything you think you know about drawing with coloured pencils and get started!
Handy tip from Linda: Using grease proof paper to stop you smudging your work
If you're like me, you've drawn with pencils before, who hasn't?
What I quickly learnt though is that it is not just the quality of the pencils you use, it is the methods and the stages. Linda talks you through each one and draws along with you, explaining why you are doing something and the effect it is going to give.
It certainly wasn't intuitive to start with white, but I trusted the process and reserved my judgement.
Learning how to layer with polychromos pencils
You will find a way of working that suits you, but I watched the video ahead a bit so I understood what I had to do and then replayed it and worked alongside it.
Although the focus of this class was an apple, the overhead lessons were learning how to choose, layer and blend colours. Also practical hints like using a sheet of paper or grease proof paper under your hand whilst you work, so you don't smudge sections you have already worked on.
The other important lesson for me was confidence. Linda made a few tiny slips herself which she was very relaxed about, fixed it easily and it was actually really reassuring. So when I made my first mistake, it didn't feel like a catastrophe and I worked myself through it.
Handy tip from Linda: using a craft blade
So my apple came to life in front of my eyes and once I thought we were surely almost finished, Linda mentioned two little extras, flecks and water droplets. Now I almost didn't do either and you certainly don't have to, but I told myself I had come this far so I was going to give it a go and I was not disappointed.
When I finished and held my piece of paper up, I couldn't believe what I had drawn 🧡
So, what are you waiting for? This is an excellent value class that will give you a new skill, a few neat little tricks and something to go on your wall!
The finished drawing! This little guy is going in a frame!
If you want to try this botanical pencil drawing class we’d love to see what you make, plus The Old Kennels are offering a wider selection that they're adding to all the time!
Plus, if you enjoyed reading this have a browse of all of our recent lockdown articles >