Sketchbooks for beginners with Kate Boucher


Ref: S2D12143

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About this course

Discover how to progress ideas towards finished works and hold the sparks of inspiration in your sketchbooks. Develop ideas from different starting points and media, find joy in experimentation and build confidence in expressing your ideas.

Course Description

There are many different ways of keeping a sketchbook and this course will help you find yours.

Discover why and how you can use a sketchbook to both develop ideas towards finished works, and creatively record those little sparks of inspiration. You will learn how to develop ideas from a variety of starting points using drawing, painting, collage and found objects. You will also learn how to use different materials, gathering and selecting those that inspire you most. The tutor encourages you to embrace the accidental, find joy in experimentation and build confidence in expressing your ideas.

On the first evening you will begin with some exercises using the images, photographs and papers you bring. Then across the duration of the course, you will be guided to develop your own ideas, taking inspiration from your imagery, examples of the tutor’s and other artists’ sketchbooks, and demonstrations.

By the end of the course, you will have learned to embrace the accidental, found joy in experimentation and have a developing confidence in your ability to express your ideas within a sketchbook.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes per student: 1 x A1 220gsm cartridge paper, 1 x Ar ?? 160gsm cartridge paper, 1 x A1 100gsm cartridge paper, 1 x A6 started sketchbook, plastic rubber, black thread per student and masking tape, acrylic medium, decorators caulk, carbon paper and fixative to share amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • Apron
  • Wallpaper paste (in powdered form)
  • Camera and uploading lead (smart phone, tablet cameras are fine)
  • Decorators caulk (from DIY stores)
  • A selection of ephemera, paper, newspapers, coloured magazine clippings, sugar wrappers you like the look of. Images that have caught your eye, either from what you already have or have collected in the weeks before the course. Photographs of subjects that interest you, printouts of a couple of artists' work you admire. No more than one carrier bag full.
  • Any items you may have from the available to buy list.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Matt or satin acrylic varnishing/glazing medium
  • Sketchbook – not ring bound, no bigger than A4, square is fine, as is long and thin
  • Water based paints – watercolour or gouache or acrylic (whichever you have is fine) a red, blue and yellow, plus white, Yellow Ochre, Paynes Grey and/or Burnt Umber. It does not matter which red, blue and yellow
  • Two painting brushes, one thin, one larger (approx. the width of your thumb), can be decorating type brush
  • Pencils 2B and either a 3B, 4B or 6B
  • Stick of black compressed charcoal
  • Ruler
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Kate Boucher

Kate Boucher is an experienced, enthusiastic and inspirational tutor who specialises in building students' creative confidence in a supportive teaching environment. She trained at Chelsea School of Art and recently gained a Master of Fine Art from West Dean College. She was awarded a prestigious QEST scholarship, was the Edward James Foundation Scholar in 2015/16 and winner of the Valarie Power Prize for Visual Arts. Her dark and evocative charcoal drawings often have unnaturally tilted horizons, hints of a double exposure and foregrounds that appear to shift and slip. Her practice also includes handmade felt and forged metal structures also created as a response to landscape.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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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