The fluidity of ink with Deborah Petch


Ref: SWE11162

Suitable for all

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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 course aim 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 a variety of natural materials such as charcoal from West Dean, graphite powder, soot and earth (as per our medieval ancestors). 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 and earthy colours 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, 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 some of the materials including some West Dean charcoal to share amongst the group. 2 x A1 sheets cartridge paper 300gsm, 1 x Bockingford NOT 300gsm watercolour paper, newsprint, tissue paper, chalk, 1 x A4 khadi paper and a stick of chalk per student.
  • Some large scale Fabriano paper 220gsm, Indian ink, graphite powder, gum arabic, masking tape, gum strip and a box of scene painters charcoal to be shared amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring watercolour paper/heavy cartridge paper (220gsm and 300gsm).
  • Ink, if you have any.
  • A variety of brushes from small to large (a 2 inch decorating brush or bakers brush).
  • Tools to work with such as: a wax candle, an old cutlery knife, old credit cards/bits of plastic, feathers, sticks, grasses, nature, string, sponges, a toothbrush, plastic bags, cling film, drinking straws, a glue spreader, lace, cotton buds, bamboo skewer, salt, oil, an old biro that doesn’t work (or something similar to make indentation marks on the paper).
  • A small ceramic saucer or plate
  • A water spritzer/empty squeezy bottle.
  • Pestel and mortar
  • At least 4 jam jars with lids
  • Kitchen roll/loo roll/rags
  • We will be working on un-stretched paper. If you would like to work on stretched paper, please bring gum strip, the tutor can demonstrate how to stretch paper, or you can work on a watercolour block (pad of watercolour paper gummed on 4 sides)
  • Please bring any items you may have from the available to buy list.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A variety of papers to experiment with (Cartridge (220gsm and above rough or smooth), watercolour (300gsm and above), Khadi cotton rag and tissue paper.
  • A concertina book/sketchbook - optional
  • Indian ink, Quink ink (black), white ink.
  • Plastic pipettes, glue spreader
  • Variety of brushes (baker brushes are good and inexpensive)
  • Soluble graphite stick/pencil
  • A hard pencil - H
  • Graphite powder, charcoal, chalk
  • Bull dog clips, masking tape and a plastic rubber
Please wear old clothing that is suitable for the weather. Lots of layers and waterproofs, hats and sunscreen if necessary. Portable chairs and easels will be available to use.


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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