Black and white sketchbook – working with pattern with Maxine Relton


Ref: SLW12553

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About this course

Learn to perceive, interpret and recreate pattern in inventive ways. Explore pattern in nature and architecture, consider geometry and spatial arrangements. Apply techniques and tools through drawing, painting, frottage, transfer and printmaking to develop your ideas.

Course Description

Developing pattern recognition is to view the world with heightened awareness. This course will enable you to generate new and inspiring connections, re-activating your creative senses. When you combine this universal language with the drama of Black and White, you can create work with visually arresting impact.

On this course you will discover pattern in a wide variety of forms, giving you a broad approach to perceiving, interpreting and re-creating it in inventive ways. You will explore incidental and purposeful patterns in nature, classical repetition in architecture, contemporary and traditional tribal uniform in fabric design, spontaneous invention in personal geometry and strong spatial arrangements in the world all around us.

You will be applying different techniques and tools through drawing, painting, frottage, transfer and printmaking. There will be an emphasis on sourcing and developing your own ideas, both in the studio and in the College grounds. Your tutor will provide visual references to guide each project, alongside examples of her own original artwork and sketchbooks.

By the end of the course you will have developed a keen eye for the rich diversity of pattern forms all around you, leading you to fresh inspiration and a new way of judging and shaping your work.


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 cost of providing some additional materials shared amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • Any items you already have from the list below.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbook, A4 size or larger, containing good quality cartridge paper (minimum 160 gsm)
  • Pencil eraser
  • Black and white drawing materials which may include:
  • Pencils in a range of grades, fine/medium/broad marker pens, inks, paints, crayons, oil based pastels (not charcoal, chalk pastels, Conte pencils as these are less suitable)
  • Geometry implements (eg compass, protractor, set square, flexible curve, geometric shape templates)
  • For any materials you need to purchase from the shop, we suggest you do so during the first morning of your course, after having discussed with your tutor.
The tutor always 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 the tutor. If you would prefer the tutor not to contact you, please let the Bookings Office know. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


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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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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