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Drawing Practices: Experimenting with Materials (10 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course will allow students to develop personal and expressive approaches within drawing through a series of short research projects. Students will explore fusing drawing materials, found surfaces and collage, consider the use of colour, scales and tools, experimenting with formats, processes and techniques to develop their own ideas. A fusion of approaches, acting as a catalyst, to create a body of drawings.

Course Details

Special Information

This course will include a limited supply of basic papers and cards. However please do acquire the materials recommended for this course.

Materials you will need to bring to the first class:

  • Compressed and Willow Charcoal

  • Graphite Stick 4b

  • Plastic Rubber

  • Sketchbook A4

  • Chalk Pastels (small set)

  • Oil Pastels (small set)

  • Black Quink ink

In addition to the course fee, students are expected to provide the following list of indicative tools, materials and equipment:

  • Compressed and Willow Charcoal

  • Graphite Stick 4b

  • Pencil 2b & 6b

  • Plastic Rubber

  • Masking Tape

  • Craft Knife

  • Sketchbook A4

  • Gum Arabic

  • Colourless Oil Bar

  • Chalk Pastels (small set)

  • Oil Pastels (small set)

  • Black Quink ink

  • A digital camera or smartphone to document work in the studio or on location

  • A range of drawing paper, as suggested each week by the tutor i.e. good quality white cartridge paper, newsprint, other drawing surfaces such as bread & Butter paper, tissue paper and card

Content of Course

Over the class sessions the course will cover:

1. Employing the use of the sketchbook for recording, researching and evidencing work.

2. Develop a series of works based on directed and personal references themes and subjects.

3. Explore formats, composition and editing.

4. Explore working with colour through chalk and oil pastels.

5. Explore expressive possibilities through scale and materials.

6. Make site-specific observational drawings (as required).

7. Explore fusing dry and wet drawing materials and introduce the use of mixed media.

8. Employing non-traditional drawing materials and tools.

9. Explore the use of mono-printing.

10. Working on found surfaces and prepared grounds.

11. Use photographic references to support ideas and project themes.

12. A series of discussions and group critiques relating to the various exercises and project themes.

13. Introduction to a range of relevant artists.

14. Keep a log/blog during the period of the course to record learning, achievements and challenges.

Teaching method(s)

The teaching will be based and delivered in specialist art and design studios or workshops and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Over the course, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor.  Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

For work required to be undertaken after the class hours are complete, the course tutor will set students a ‘directed study plan’ which can be undertaken without the need for specialist workshops or access to models.

Directed study will include research into a range of suggested artists and their associated movements to engender a contextual awareness. Students are expected to demonstrate how their research has informed their work through annotated sketchbooks, a visual digital journal and practical outcomes. 

The Directed Study Plan will include preparing evidence of research and practical work to form an appropriate presentation for assessment.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a range of drawing approaches and strategies for recording and developing visual information, supported by contextual research.

  • Show a confident and enquiring use of drawing materials and processes to create a range of personal and expressive visual studies and resolved artworks.

  • Demonstrate appropriate judgement to document, select, edit and present a body of drawings to reveal its value.


Core Readings


  • MASLEN, M., 2011, Drawing Project: an exploration of the language of drawing, London: Black Dog Publishing

  • KOVATS, T. 2005. The Drawing Book, a survey of drawing: the primary means of expression. Black Dogs Publishing.

  • DAVIDSON, M., 2011, Contemporary Drawing, Watson-Guptill.

  • DEXTER, E. 2010. Vitamin D:New Perspectives in Drawing. Phaidon Press.

  • SCHAMA, S. 2005, John Virtue London Paintings, National Gallery, London.

  • DE ZEGHER, 2007. Julie Mehretu: The drawings, Rizzoli International Publications.

  • GODFREY, T. & TUCKER, M. 1996, Ian McKeever: Works on Paper 1981-1996, G&B Arts International.

Documentary video:

  • GRAHAM-DIXON, A. The Secrets of Drawing, BBC.

Web Sources


Details of the Art and Design assessment requirements can be found on the short course website. Please click on the following link for more information: Submission and Assessment Information

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.