Using a sketchbook: materials and techniques

Course Dates: 12/07/20 - 19/07/20
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street

Discover the enjoyment and benefits of a sketchbook through a series of practical exercises on location and in the studio. Develop your unique record of observations, ideas and experiments and learn how other artists use sketchbooks as part of their practice.


What is the course about?

- Exploring ways of gathering visual information and research using your sketchbook
- Developing your sketchbook further using explorative practical exercises
- Using your sketchbook with more confidence whilst off-site and in the studio
- Considering how artists use sketchbooks and the benefits of using a sketchbook as part of your art practice.

What will we cover?

On Saturday, we will start the day looking at how artists use sketchbooks, how they can serve as a means of recording visual information and a space for further experimentation and reflection. We will then complete a series of practical exercises centred on drawing techniques that will help with both observation and recording visual information. In the afternoon we will go out to work on location using your sketchbooks to record objects or spaces you find interesting or inspirational.

On Sunday, we will be back in the studio to develop your sketchbook work further, using a variety of methods and media that can help you explore your ideas. You can continue working in your sketchbooks, developing your original drawings into exciting new directions or you can transfer your sketchbook ideas into new drawings, paintings or mixed media work, with your sketchbook serving as source material and a place to develop your ideas in the future.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identify ways in which artists use sketchbooks and how they can be a key part to your practice
- Use various drawing techniques to record visual information
- Use a sketchbook whilst on location
- Use a sketchbook for further development and experimentation
- Translate sketchbook work into new drawings or paintings
- Introduce a more explorative and experimental approach to your artistic practice.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is for all levels. Beginners are welcome but previous drawing experience is useful.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Presentations, demonstrations, practical work, individual and group tutoring, and group discussion.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring an A4 hardback sketchbook and any drawing media you may have. All other basic materials are provided.

If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, City Lit students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at *Terms and conditions apply, visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

The sketchbook course, contemporary art sketchbook walk, large scale sketchbook courses and more.


Customer Reviews 2 item(s)

Write a review

Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

It is an inspiring course. It's interesting to try drawing in different locations and it made me think more creatively.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 23/07/2019)
Come to the course
Course Rating
Review by Motis (name of my dog) / (Posted on 22/07/2019)
Tutor Biographies
Mario Lautier Vella Tutor Website

Mario Lautier Vella is a cross-disciplinary, award-winning artist who began his art career at City Lit. After completing a number of short courses in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and textiles, Mario went on to do the two-year City Lit Fine Art course before going back to university to gain his Masters degree. Mario regularly exhibits in the UK and abroad and his work can be found in private collections around the world. Mario has enjoyed teaching at City Lit since 2011. For more info go to

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: VH775

Sun, day, 12 Jul - 19 Jul '20

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

Full fee: £149.00
Senior fee: £149.00
Concession: £149.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.