From observation to abstraction: a sketchbook journey

Course Dates: 30/05/20 - 13/06/20
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Louise West

Have you always wanted to draw in a sketchbook?

Over two Sundays, you’ll learn basic sketchbook techniques in the studio, then progress to making your own sketches of the River Thames on location near to Build.


What is the course about?

This course gives you the opportunity to experiment with ways of approaching sketching on location. You will use a variety of drawing materials and techniques to help you move from observation towards a more personal abstract response.

What will we cover?

- An understanding of the formal elements within a drawing; exploring line, tone, colour, texture, pattern, composition and how to manipulate and abstract them.
- How artists use the creative cycle in the development of their ideas and concepts.
- The key concepts and artists behind 20th century abstract art including contemporary artists.
- drawing materials and techniques to develop a personal abstract response.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Understand the concepts and techniques behind abstract art.
- Draw with increased confidence and experiment developing your drawings inspired by abstract approaches in a variety of media.
- Use your sketchbook as an experimental place in which to explore ideas, take risks and reflect.
- Incorporate the creative cycle to take a more explorative, open-minded approach to your artistic practice.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is a course for students who have some drawing experience (ie have completed at least one course of 'Drawing 1' or equivalent). Come with an open mind and a willingness to try new techniques.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussions.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Using a variety of techniques designed to help you break out of old habits and develop your confidence taking creative risks. Practical work will involve drawing from observation, using a variety of materials including charcoal, chalk and ink. There will also be demonstrations, group discussions, one-to-one tutoring, and hand-outs regarding artists and current exhibitions.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Bring your sketchbook, all other materials will be provided.

If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, Build students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK’s leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at
*Terms and conditions apply, visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

This course runs at the end of term 3, however, you may wish to continue your exploration into abstraction by joining one of the following courses that will run in the next academic year: Abstract drawing, Ways into abstract painting, Exploring and explaining abstract painting.

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 1 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

This course is very well managed and taught, with plenty of opportunity to use your own ideas and interests. I gives an excellent grounding in artists and visual language.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 17/06/2019)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: VH903

Sat, day, 30 May - 13 Jun '20

Duration: 3 sessions (over 3 weeks)

Full fee: £199.00
Senior fee: £199.00
Concession: £121.00

Or call to enrol: 222-66-889-99

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Any questions? [email protected]
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.