Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Design Matters - Creative Sketchbooks online course

By Amanda Smith

I have always admired work done by mother and daughter Linda and Laura Kemshall and some years ago was given an annual subscription to their online TV videos which I have found very useful and have enjoyed dipping in and out of. However, what I really wanted to do was to have a go at producing sketchbooks that were something closer to the works of arts they produce than I was coming up with. Hey presto! An online Creative Sketchbooks course! How could I resist?!

Amanda Smith

The course gives you access, over the period of a year, to four modules. Technically you are supposed to complete one module before going on to the next but I believe not everyone has followed that system. You have an allocated tutor whom you can contact if you have any problems or uncertain as to whether something 'works'. Each module covers a different set of instructions and different ways of creatively covering pages in your sketchbook. They start with a theme of 'my place' and it is suggested that you look in your cupboards and drawers for inspiration.

Amanda Smith

The first module covers some drawing but also tone, rubbing, line. The second goes on to collage and painted papers. The third is mono printing and lino cutting, and we finish up with construction, fold outs and pockets. All through the course there are short videos giving in depth explanation and showing techniques and, of course, there are pages and pages of wonderful inspiration drawn from their own sketchbooks. After each module the student simply photographs or scans however many pages of their book they like and e-mails them to their tutor for feedback. Personally I enjoy drawing but not everyone does. However – do not despair! There is no need to draw if you really don’t like it or don’t feel confident. There are suggestions about using photographs and gessoing out sections and re-drawing them or collaging bits of photos with cut outs from painted papers. There is a lot of help with design and suggestions for going back into earlier pages. I loved it!

Amanda Smith

Sadly my time with the course runs out in August but I can print off some of the online pages if I like (there is too much and it’s too expensive to print it all). I still have the last module to complete. I have got a lot out of it and lots of ideas for how to present pages. If you’re interested taking a look at