This website is about Bill's courses at Central Saint Martins. It's his own site not the school’s.
For the Central Saint Martins website: http://www.arts.ac.uk/csm/

1,2,3's of Drawing

The focus of 1,2,3s of Drawing is practical learning methods and tools to help you improve your skills, feel more confident and enjoy drawing.


I'm Bill Wright. In 2009, my colleague in the Central Saint Martins BA program, Sion ap Tomas, and I created 1,2,3s of Drawing. We felt there was a need for some solid, down-to-earth 'nuts and bolts' teaching in this field which sometimes seems dominated by talk of feelings and creativity and being creative. Of course there is creativity in drawing, but most students wanting to improve their drawing would prefer some direct input regarding tools, methods, ways of looking at things.

Varying Approaches, Materials, Subjects

Sion and I believe there's not just one way for everyone to learn to draw. So, we began with the idea of exposing students to numerous methods.

  • Sometimes you'll draw carefully and slowly, other times in fast, fluid ways, sometimes large scale, sometimes small.
  • You'll draw models, on location, observationally and from your own memory.
  • You'll try using a light box, drawing from photos, tracing your own work and other techniques used by professionals.
  • You'll draw people, places, natural and manmade objects, practice shading with controlled light sourses.
  • You'll use pencils, charcoal, pens, brushes, different papers.

Classes are usually divided into segments focusing on different subjects, methods and approaches. In a 2 1/2 hour class, Sion might show how ink washes work and you’d work with that, followed by Bill explaining some simple approaches to perspective and your having a go at that. In 5-hour (Summer School) classes, we could have 4 separate exercises.

Experience has shown that some students will "click" with approach A and or topic B while another will find method C is one they prosper with.

Spontaneity? Accuracy? Both!

Just as Sion and I believe there's not just one way of learning to draw, we feel that many different kinds of drawings can be engaging, expressive or adroitly capture an aspect of the world. Accuracy might be most important in certain kinds of drawing, but accuracy isn’t everything!

Each of these portraits offers something special, without being particularly accurate. The eye on the right of the girl’s face is closer to her nose than the one on the left, yet it’s a wonderful drawing. But we also have sessions on judging proportions and otherwise being accurate.

But we also spend time learning to create more accurate work. Tips are given on judging proportion, size, using construction lines and establishing depth. Observational techniques will help you ‘see what you’re seeing’ and depict it more precisely.

By moving back and forth between careful studies and more spontaneous drawings, you should soon be applying lessons learned in each to the other. Gradually, you should move toward developing a distintive drawing style of your own.

Demos, Projects, Coaching and Critiques

By Sion

Typically, Sion or I will spend some time talking about an aspect of drawing, say, shading and gradation, working live with the class, showing examples or even some purpose-made videos we've developed. If you have a question, we’ll try to direct our discussion to cover it.

By students

Students then try putting into practice what's been shown. But it's not at all a 'now everyone draw such-and-such' system. There's lots of flexibility built in to choose subjects and materials that seem promising at the moment. With two tutors, there's plenty of individual coaching.

Periodically we all look at the class's work together, dig into what’s been successful and the hows and whys and offer some suggestions.

Who Should Take this Course?

Beginners are welcome in this course - hey, it's named 1,2,3’s of Drawing!

But you may also be someone whose drawing skills are rusty, or who is pretty good at drawing but would like to try approaching the subject differently.

Most important is an eagerness to try things and learn. A spirit for some adventurous exploration is a plus. We love a good laugh in class, but mostly we focus on learning about and doing drawing!

Materials

We’ll have lots of materials in class to work with. But you should have a sketchbook for class, roughly A4 size, and smaller sketchbook for carrying in pocket or purse, approximately A6 size. Besides sketchbooks you should have a pencils and pens. Several pencils differing in darkness/softness between H (H standing for hard) and 6B or 8B (B standing for black), and a few pens which could be a small set like the Faber Csstel Set shown, or similar. A rubber (a/k/a an eraser), a puddy rubber (a/k/a a kneaded eraser) will fill out your ‘must have’ kit.

We'll have plentiful and diverse materials in class, and Sion and I suggest you put off buying any others materials till you've had a chance to try those we'll provide.

Course Schedule

1,2,3's of Drawing is presently scheduled 4 times per year.

Evening classes are ten sessions of 2 1/2 hour each, 3 times per year:
October - December (Autumn Term)
January- March (Spring Term)
April - June (Summer Term)

Day classes are in summer school, usually five classes of 5-hours each, Monday through Friday.

Please consult the Central Saint Martins website for full and accurate info regarding the schedule http://www.arts.ac.uk/csm/. Central Saint Martins short courses only run if sufficient students enroll, but, so far, that's always happened with 1,2,3s of Drawing :)

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