THIRSK, N. YORKSHIRE, WORKSHOPS 2016
Held in my studio in Sessay near Thirsk
A professional artist for over 30 years, and author of the drawing bible "Drawing from Line to Life", Mike now passes on his knowledge through international workshops and online courses.
Learn the secrets of
I'll show you how you can break down any drawing into easily manageable parts, and apply simple step-by-step techniques to draw them believably.
successful realistic drawing
A weekend of uninterrupted drawing! You'll travel from the basics through to a final drawing, covering a variety of techniques along the way, including the use of references for composition. And no lectures! I prefer to work with you individually.
Drawing is fun! I run friendly and flexible workshops, built around a schedule that can be tuned to individual needs, and the final day is unstructured so I can cover anything you personally request.
Don't miss this opportunity to join a small group of eight to ten artists in my own studio. I provide all the materials and we feed you - Jenny's lunches and our friend Ruth's cakes are legendary!
This year in the studio I'm running the FOUNDATION and INTERMEDIATE workshops at the same time. You can choose either on the first day, or switch between them. Or not make any decision - last time we all worked on Foundation and I introduced parts of the Intermediate (such as drawing shadows) when requested. See below for the details.
These friendly workshops are designed for artists of all abilities, and lunches, paper, pencils and all other necessary supplies are included.
I'll have many of my original drawings available to view and study in close detail. And I'll be will be happy answer all queries and demonstrate specific techniques used. Please feel free to bring examples of your own work along for critique or advice.
DRAWING DOGS was new in 2015. Both 2-day studio workshops filled very quickly so book now to secure your seat - only a small deposit is required.
Times :10 am to 5 pm daily
Location :The Artist's Studio, Sessay near Thirsk, N. Yorkshire
Seats :Strictly limited to artists to ensure individual attention
- Sheets of Mellotex plate-finish paper (12" x 16") as required
- 1 each Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils - 4B, 2B, H, 2H, 4H
- 1 Staedtler vinyl art eraser
- 1 pack Blu-Tack
- 1 Pencil sharpener
- 1 Blending tortillon
Typical 3-day FOUNDATION
This workshop is flexible to take into account your present level of ability and would suit beginners to those with some experience. It's mainly technique based and the typical daily itinerary is as follows:
- Basic techniques - shading, blending, and erasing
- Using the Tapered Line
- Shading in layers
- Negative Drawing
- Working from background to foreground
- Using a variety of sources in one composition
- Understanding and drawing textures (including hair, rust and wood)
DAY 1:In the morning, as you work through the initial drawing exercises, I'll offer instruction and assistance on drawing techniques that will help you to get used to working on Mellotex and my way of working.
In the afternoon, you will begin a second series of exercises involving small, manageable drawings that put the earlier techniques to use, and introduce more advanced ones that centre around the spontaneous drawing of background elements.
DAY 2:To begin the day I'll analyse the composition of one of my drawings that used a wide range of reference sources. You get to try out a background technique included in the study that is based on Negative Drawing. A second exercise, involving three-dimensional understanding, the reversing of lighting, will be followed by the creation of old gnarled trees in a dark forest using a logical plan.
In the afternoon you will be exploring textures with a variety of options to choose from - try one or all, it's your choice. Late in the day you, and your fellow artists, will be introduced to tomorrow's work. You will be working on identical drawings (photos and guideline drawing provided) that feature many of the techniques explored during the two days. If you prefer to work on something of your own, that's OK too.
DAY 3:Drawing of the final study will commence, interspersed with question and answer sessions (coffee breaks!) and advice and assistance with drawing all elements will be available at all times.
This day is more loosely structured and I'll be pleased to demonstrate any techniques that you request, or answer any art related questions. I'll also offer personal tuition throughout the day as required. If you are unsure of anything please let me know so I can assist - it's no good telling me on the way out!
There is no pressure to complete the final drawing, so take it home and complete it at leisure. You can post it at any time to the Workshop Plus page to receive a critique - or assistance if you need to post it in stages. The workshop does not stop when you leave the venue!
Typical 3-day INTERMEDIATE
If you're an artist who has some experience of drawing, knows the basic techniques, and now wants to learn more - this is the workshop for you. A little more academic than the Beginners/General workshop, it features exercises and tuition on improved techniques and other necessary skills, such as Negative Drawing and Advanced Shading.
As your skills progress, you begin to leave thoughts of technique behind and instead think about the message within your art - be it a simple story, a trigger for an emotional response, or just to emphasise the beauty of something. This workshop moves into that area - the mental preparation and mindset required to lift your art to a higher level.
As always, I'll explain both the 'How' and the more important 'Why' as I take you step-by-step through the intermediate level techniques and introduce you to the artist's way of working.
- Advanced techniques, such as Reverse Layering and using a unifying layer
- Exploring Negative Space and Negative Drawing
- High- and Low-key drawing
- Dividing work into easily manageable sections
- Working from background to foreground
- Detecting and using visual clues to add clarity to your work
- The power of shadows and their uses
- Three-dimensional creative shading
- Drawing hair
DAY 1:In the morning, as you work through the initial drawing exercises, Mike will advise you on using a chisel point, forming tapered lines, and burnishing techniques. These exercises will also will help you to get used to working on Mellotex and Mike's way of working. Then we'll have fun exploring the uses of Blu-Tack (supplied) as an eraser before moving on to shading techniques, including the use of tortillons and stumps as drawing tools, reverse layering, and producing very light seamless shading.
In the afternoon, you will begin a second series of exercises. The first explores the use of unifying layers, followed by a series of exercises designed to help you observe and work with negative space. Finally, we'll take a look at using high- and low-key drawing that will help you appreciate their uses - essential skills in adding impact to your work, or controlling the viewer's emotional response to it.
DAY 2:Mike will show you how to break down any complex drawing into simple, manageable steps with two associated exercises.
After lunch, we'll explore the detection and rendering of Visual Clues - the elements within an object or surface that intrinsically describe it - that will transmit clear messages in your work. Then Mike will introduce you to the use and power of shadows - using them to clearly describe both three-dimensional positioning and form.
Finally, two exercises will be centred around three-dimensional and creative shading - how to create spontaneously, without any prior planning, to produce a natural result. This leads to the last exercise of the day involving both creative shading and the construction of a vital shadow.
DAY 3:The morning will be spent on exercises that examine the fundamental techniques required to draw hair. Variously combined, these should help you to draw believable hair or many types. In the afternoon you will be working on the final drawing that combines many of the techniques covered during the workshop.
This day is more loosely structured and Mike will be pleased to demonstrate any techniques that you request, or answer any art related questions. Mike will also offer personal tuition throughout the day as required. If you are unsure of anything please let Mike know so he can assist you. You are not expected to have completed the final drawing... if you wish to complete it later at home, post it to Mike's Workshop Plus page to receive a critique - or assistance if you need to post it in stages. The workshop does not stop when you leave the venue!
If you are familiar with basic drawing techniques and interested in drawing dogs (or even cats, or wildlife) this is the workshop for you. I'll share over 35 years of professional experience with you.
The workshop features exercises, practical experience and tuition on techniques for drawing hair, and explores many other invaluable aspects of portraying animals. And you'll learn how to expand your portraiture into fully-fledged scenic compositions.
We'll also explore injecting life and emotion into your subjects, telling a simple story, using triggers for desired emotional responses, practical advice on photographing your subjects, and building composite scenes.
As always, I'll explain both the 'How' and the more important 'Why' as I take you through:
- The initial exercises
- Techniques of drawing believable hair
- Dividing work into easily manageable sections
- Working from background to foreground
- Creating extendable lines and solid form
- Using "drawing breaks"
- White hair
- Black hair
- Brown hair
- and any other hair type you personally need assistance with
I'll show you how you can take a portrait apart and build the dog section by section. That allows you to concentrate on building, for example, the nose while not thinking about hair - because trying to draw two things at once can reduce your understanding of both.
This workshop is currently being written - I'm trying to fit more in!
DAY 1:In the morning, as you work through the initial drawing exercises, I will advise you on using a chisel point, blending versus layering, erasing, and forming tapered lines. These exercises will also will help you to get used to working on Mellotex and my way of working. Then you'll move on to a series of exercises that begin with the basic method of drawing waves in hair and progress to multiple curves - an essential hair-drawing tool.
In the afternoon, the previous exercise will be expanded into the drawing of white, black and brown hair - that respectively depend on shadows, highlights, and a combination of both. Then a final exercise, with my assistance, will study ways of breaking a drawing down into easily manageable sections. Finally, there will be an exercise on the basic techniques involved with layering hair and using the layers to break the drawing down into ever smaller sections, which promotes both ease and injecting a sense of reality.
All these exercises are designed to encourage questions from you. This workshop can cover as many aspects of drawing dogs, or any animals, that you want it to - as long as you ask the questions!
DAY 2:To begin the day I'll analyse the composition of one of my drawings that uses a wide range of reference sources. To follow will be two exercises built around constructing dogs' noses and eyes - but the techniques are equally applicable to other animals and human eyes. During the day I'll give you some tips of photographing animals, creating composite scenes, generating appropriate emotions in your subjects, and successfully portraying "colours" in monochrome. I'll also help you with any other aspect of drawing that you would like me to cover.
After lunch, you'll be introduced to the final drawing - a head-study featuring much of what you have learned. You're welcome to bring your own project too if you prefer to work on that. You are not expected to have completed the drawing... if you wish to complete it later at home, post it to my Workshop Plus page to receive a critique - or assistance if you need to post it in stages. The workshop does not stop when you leave the venue!
Boxes marked * must be completed.
At no time did you make me, or anyone else there, feel it was beyond our reach. Your demonstrations were so informative.
Thank you for an outstanding workshop. Truly I learned more from you in three days than I learned in two semesters at the community college. And it was fun too!
Thank you for another great workshop weekend. Once again I came away with more knowledge and some great tips to help me with my drawings.
I cannot begin to describe what a wonderful experience San Antonio was! I highly recommend Mike's workshops - I learned more technique in 3 days than I learned in a year in a local art class. Mike and his wife Jenny are so friendly and fun! Mike is quite a teacher - he explained and demonstrated his techniques in a manner that we could all understand and immediately integrate into our own drawings.
Thanks for everything, I had a great time and learned a lot from you. I'll rank your workshop as five stars.
Thank you for a super workshop. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned so much and you have me hooked on graphite!
Fantastic workshop! A lot of "ah ha" moments! A wonderful experience! Thank you Mike for making it such a fun weekend!
I've been an artist almost all my life and have quite a bit of experience, but I really learned a lot in your workshop to better my work. I go to at least one workshop a year, and I believe yours was the best so far.
I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and feel completely inspired. Thank you for taking the time to work with us all and share some of your incredible gift.
As a teacher, I appreciated your format, one-on-one assistance, concrete examples, etc. I am glad you shared your expertise with us. It was a memory-maker weekend.