Paper cut-outs – colour, line and form with Annabel Tilley

Mixed and other media

Ref: S1D12259

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About this course

Explore the symbiotic nature of colour, line and form in the paper cut-out. Try your hand at drawing with scissors, cutting freehand and creating anything from a portrait or still life to an intricate pattern.

Course Description

An introduction to the fun, creativity and overall satisfaction of doing what the master of paper cut-outs, Henri Matisse, deemed: ‘drawing with scissors’.

This course is suitable for all, so a structured start will be followed by guided independent practice. This means, after an initial series of quick exercises to enhance your ways of seeing, stimulate your imagination and encourage your hand-cutting techniques, your tutor will help you to plan and create something of your own. You may like to create a personal portrait, still life, miniature cottage garden or a joyful host of colourful abstract shapes and patterns.

The emphasis will be on trying out colours, shapes and forms in new ways, using, among other things, hand-gouached paper, to cut, stick and make. You will take your lead from modern and contemporary paper-artists like Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Kara Walker (born USA, 1969) and Elsa Moran (born Cuba, 1971).

By the end of the course, you will have completed a series of quick paper cut-out exercises, created several of your own designs and will take home a finished piece. You will have explored how the essence of colour, shape and pattern is treated almost symbiotically in the paper cut-out. You will have gained confidence in your own ideas and how to cut freehand, and you will have a better understanding of how to construct simple but effective objects and shapes. Most importantly, you will have learned how to simplify your designs to the medium of paper-cutting.

You will need to be able to work (fairly quickly and deftly) with a pair of scissors.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply all of the materials, including: a selection of paper, gouache paint and glue.

What students need to bring

  • A good comfortable, sharp pair of scissors you enjoy using
  • A selection of small (for more delicate work), medium and large scissors might be useful, but not obligatory for this course.
  • If there are any particular or special papers you have at home and like to work with, feel free to bring them.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • The craft shop is stocked with a huge variety of different papers, paints, glue, brushes and other useful materials.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Annabel Tilley

Annabel Tilley, graduate of the University of Brighton and shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, has a drawing-based and sketchbook practice and has exhibited widely and undertaken several residencies. She is a lecturer, co-author of What they didn't teach you in art school (Octopus Books, 2016) and co-Founder of Zeitgeist Arts Projects (2012-2015).

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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