Creating and developing a sketchbook with Maxine Relton


Ref: S3D11725

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About this course

The sketchbook is a place to record experiences, fleeting impressions, thoughts and memories. Explore a multitude of ways of working, including free drawing of all kinds, transfer techniques and using colour media. Develop ideas both in the studio and outdoors.

Course Description

This course will range through approaches to drawing, painting, writing and recording to capture the immediacy of our inner and outer world in figurative and abstract forms. Ways of working using text and image will be explored, from close observation to memory and imagination, from spontaneous to more considered responses. No experience is necessary and all abilities are welcome.

The first evening’s project helps you discover the kind of drawing hand that is most natural to you as a good basis for developing and extending your sketching abilities.

Throughout the course, time will be given to to sharing and reviewing your discoveries and interpretations. By the end of the course, you will have an understanding of your own drawing strengths, an awareness of different approaches and experience of a wide variety of tools.

You will use the College grounds and gardens some of the time, so an umbrella plus warm, shower-proof clothing is recommended.


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


  • Some specialist materials will be provided by the tutor.

What students need to bring

  • Any drawing/colour painting or drawing materials you wish to use including a portable watercolour painting kit if desired.
  • Umbrella and warm, shower-proof clothing for working outside
  • Colour magazines
  • Please bring any materials you may have from the available to buy list.
  • Lightweight portable chairs, boards and easels can be borrowed from the College.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Brush (round, large watercolour type)
  • A sketchbook of good quality paper (ideally spiral-bound with a rigid back)
  • Masking tape
  • Layout pad, tracing paper
  • Pencils, rubbers, sharpeners, ruler, scissors
  • Coloured pencils, water-soluble coloured pencils, oil pastels
  • Watercolour sketchbook OR sheets of watercolour paper (Bockingford, Arches, Saunders etc)
  • Watercolours
Please note: The tutor likes to have a chat with students personally on the telephone when planning her programme for each course. This gives her the opportunity to find out about any special interests or focus areas you have, to tell you a bit more about the course and to answer any questions you might have about it. Your email and phone number will be passed to Maxine. If you would prefer the tutor not to contact you, please let the Bookings office know. Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Maxine Relton

Teaching at West Dean since 2005, Maxine works across drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking and mixed media. Exhibits widely, runs a 3-floor gallery of her work in Gloucestershire, included in public and private collections around the world. Trained in London at Camberwell and the Slade. An elected member of the Royal West of England Academy.


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

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