The fluidity of ink with Deborah Petch


Ref: SLW11734

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About this course

Experiment with ink on paper to discover this fluid and exciting drawing material. Respond to the landscape with ink, hand-made ink and gain confidence with upscaling your work.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to work predominantly with ink on paper in a fluid, joyous and expressive way. Experiencing how ink behaves (and misbehaves), you will learn to control and encourage the medium to flow through experimentation and practice of various techniques. Starting small, you will learn about the properties of ink and how it reacts on different papers using a range of methods and tools to encourage a variety of effects. You will produce a library of ink experiments.

You will proceed to make your own inks using natural materials such as charcoal from West Dean and graphite powder. You may also gather nature from the grounds and use foraged materials such as twigs, feathers, moss and grass as natural tools to work with. You will experiment with the properties of your materials and tools from the land to create interesting marks in monotone on a variety of papers.

Working outside, ‘en plein air’, you will respond to the grounds of the College in an expressive way. (Working outdoors puts yourself at the mercy of the elements so please come along with a waterproof and layers/hats/sunscreen.) If the weather is inclement you will make quick sketches outdoors and work on them further in the studio. You will be encouraged to work on different scales from small and gradually increasing to large works with confidence.

By the end of the course, you will have learnt about the joy of ink, its fluidity and unpredictability that leads to surprising results. You will have made your own ink from various natural sources. You will have embraced the elements with ‘en plein air’ sketching, learnt how this may affect your work and experienced working from small to large scale on a variety of papers.


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


  • On this course the College will supply most of the materials including West Dean charcoal to share amongst the group: cartridge paper 300gsm, Bockingford NOT 300gsm watercolour paper, A4 khadi paper. A large piece of Fabriano 220gsm paper - approx 1m x 1.5m to cut in half. Gum Arabic.
  • Some Indian ink, Quink ink, white ink, West Dean charcoal, graphite powder, masking tape, gum strip to be shared amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • Essential items:
  • Please bring a variety of brushes including a large decorating brush 2 inch, 3 inch and a large pasting brush if you have one to work on the final large piece.
  • A water spritzer and an empty squeezy bottle.
  • At least 4 jam jars with lids
  • Tools to work with such as: old credit cards/bits of plastic, feathers, sticks, grasses, nature, string, sponges, a toothbrush, plastic bags, drinking straws, a glue spreader, lace, cotton buds, bamboo skewer, oil.
  • Optional items:
  • Watercolour paper (300gsm) and inks if you have any.
  • Ash and soot to make ink with or any other natural earthy pigments.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A variety of papers
  • Indian ink., Black Quink ink, white ink. (some ink will be provided to start with)
  • Variety of brushes (baker brushes are good and inexpensive and decorators brushes)
  • Soluble graphite stick/pencil optional
  • Graphite powder, charcoal optional
  • Masking tape
Please wear old clothing that is suitable for the weather. Lots of layers and waterproofs coats if necessary. Portable chairs will be available to use. Please note this is an energetic course, you will be working in the grounds, carrying materials and going large scale which can be quite physically demanding. You will be sat at a desk at the beginning of the course and then you will need to work with your paper on boards and also on the floor outdoors at some point in the course (weather permitting). 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.


Deborah Petch

Deborah Petch studied locally at Brighton University and University of Chichester. Her masters degree culminated in a series of large scale abstract paintings which all evolved from drawing and printmaking processes. Deborah is primarily concerned with the exploration of being in the world which she expresses through her artwork. She enjoys working outdoors on ancient sites where the weather, sense of place and nuances of the past all influence her work. Deborah has worked with Arts Council England, Pallant House Gallery and University of Chichester. She has exhibited throughout the UK.


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

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