How you can learn to draw

Become more creative

A palette of watercolours

Do you want to learn to draw? Do you want to overcome the feeling of “I can’t draw”? Do you want to use your creative side more effectively? We can help you do this.

Alongside our Woodworking Courses, an essential part of what we do here at Rowden is to help furniture makers learn to draw. It is a way of making sense of the world around us and allows us to build up an individual visual language.

Learn to draw: A dozen honest lines

We beginour drawing classes with simple exercises in looking. Sit down, put your head in one place, here is a sheet of paper, let’s put it vertically alongside what we want to draw. Just give me outlines. What we put in front of you are simple forms. Cubes and rectangles painted white on a white background. They are still and the lighting is constant. Looking very hard, that is where drawing starts…

This can be tricky to the untrained eye. One part of your brain, the lazy part, will want you to draw the symbol of a cup, a box, a bike etc. But the trick is not to let that happen. Relax, take it slow and think about where each line is in relation to the next.

Drawing… Looking hard, and thinking right.

Half of the battle is STOPPING the left-hand side of the brain telling you that “this is too much hard work” and “this is pointless, you can’t draw”. It’s inevitable that you will get these thoughts, but you need to learn to enjoy this visual thinking and get to the place where you recognise the peace and tranquillity of the Drawing Studio.

From simple exercises, we progress building your confidence in your ability. Step upon simple step. From these, we move to curves and tonal drawing from lines to light and dark. The exercises are very tiring and we will suggest walks in the country lanes around us and a trip to the beach. These are opportunities to bring back shells from the beach and leaves and flowers from the Devon lanes. These are shapes you want to draw, shapes you want to add to your individual visual vocabulary.

Still life drawing in pen and pencil

The important aspect here is to get you going. Later you will be able to create a personal visual library, a set of shapes and forms which can be stored in the back of your head. We can ONLY do this by drawing. If ever you see an object that interests you, draw it. If you see a shape that you quite like, draw it. Photographs are external. Drawings are internal, they never leave you and can be brought to life vivid and new forty years later.

Where, when, how much?

We have run drawing classes at the Rowden Atelier workshops in Shebbear, North Devon for over ten years. We have recently built a specialist Drawing Studio overlooking pasture going down to our lake.


A view of Rowden from the lake


Barn where new learning to draw classes are being held

Artist’s rendition for the new learning to draw short courses

Watercolour artists impression for new learning to draw classes

Classes will be intensive five-day classes with no more than six students. David Savage, director at Rowden will be taking the first series of classes. The cost of the class will be £600 per person all drawing and painting materials provided. PLACES LIMITED – CONTACT US NOW.

Learn To Draw with Still Life

Being able to transfer the information you see in front of you down on to paper can be tricky but it’s a task that we will focus on a lot while you are here.

We will go through the exercises needed to properly set up your paper, how to sit and look at the objects in relation to your paper and how to visually measure what is in front of you. You will be asked to draw various things such as white geometric objects and textured fruit, these drawing exercises will give you the ability to put down on paper what is front of you. A lot of the basic skills are covered within still life and will give you the knowledge to progress and learn to draw.

More information can be gathered from our still life drawing page.

Simple line drawing of still life

Learn to Draw through Life Drawing:

Drawing the human figure is a very established exercise when we learn to draw. Throughout history artists have proven that a healthy study of the human form can build up our ability to draw with our eyes, get the proportions right including all the dips and curves. It’s not an easy task this as it requires a lot of focus.

To find out more information about life drawing, why we do it and what you can expect on the course head over to our life drawing page.


October and November 2015 life drawings


The days will commence at 9am and finish at 5pm and cover the following:

  • Basic drawing exercises
  • Basic still life drawing
  • Advanced still life
  • Observational work with pencil, charcoal, ink and wash
  • The use of different grades and kinds of paper
  • Life drawing for two morning or afternoon  sessions
  • Organic form drawing. Discovering the patterns of nature
  • Using the watercolour medium

All materials are provided as well as tea and coffee. We suggest that you bring a packed lunch as we break between 1pm to 2pm.

Course fee and availability Please get in contact if you are interested in our learn to draw in a week course

The fee for the week is £600 sterling inclusive of all materials, pencils and paper. A deposit of £200 sterling is payable in advance and is only returnable should you cancel the course six weeks prior to the course starting date. The balance of £400 is payable four weeks before your course starts.