The black and white sketchbook – working with line with Maxine Relton


Ref: SLW11466

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About this course

Explore the expressive qualities of line in black and white. Try out fluid and dry drawing tools and find inspiration in the work of other artists.

Course Description

Using observation, memory and imagination, explore the expressive qualities of line in black and white. Try out fluid and dry drawing tools and find inspiration in the work of other artists.

Black and white images can have a particularly powerful and striking presence amid the confusion of colours that vie for attention.

Study the arresting and expressive qualities of black and white line in all its rich variety, using a series of imaginative projects based on observation, memory and imagination. The course is suitable for all abilities, including beginners, and for those wishing to develop the use of black and white in any fine or applied art contexts.

You will examine and explore some of the many fluid and dry tools suitable for sketchbook use, including improvised and invented drawing devices. The tutor will guide and support you throughout the course with demonstrations, talks and references to artists’ work. She will also bring selected examples of her work to illustrate techniques, ideas and usefulness of sketchbooks.

You will leave the course having developed a keener perception and understanding of linear rhythm and tonal balance, which is the foundation for visual art in all disciplines and an important precursor to working with colour.


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 the cost of providing some materials shared amongst the group.
  • The College will provide scissors, metal rulers, craft knives and cutting mats, and the tutor will be supplying all specialist materials for specific projects, as well as some spares of basic items that might be needed.

What students need to bring

  • Painting overall/apron

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbook of A4 size or larger, containing good quality cartridge paper (minimum 160gsm)
  • Glue stick
  • Pencil eraser
  • An assortment of any black and white drawing materials you have (pencils in a range of grades, fine/medium/broad marker pens, inks, paints, crayons, pastels, etc). We will not be using soft drawing materials less suitable for use in sketchbooks, such as charcoal, chalk pastels, Conte pencils.
Please note: Maxine always likes to have a chat with students personally on the telephone when planning her programme for each course, 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 email Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


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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