Drawing and painting with pattern with Annabel Tilley

Ref: S2D13075

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About this course

This mixed media drawing and painting course uses the motifs and patterns found in our everyday environment as a starting point for a series of drawn, painted or collaged abstract or semi-abstract works.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to drawing and painting with pattern and how the motifs found in our everyday environment can be used as a starting point for a series of abstract and semi-abstract works.

To begin with, you will be introduced to the various ways that pattern can transform a drawing or painting, and how it can add variety to a composition, reflect patterns used in the real world or help create a sense of rhythm, movement or unity.

Through a series of exercises, beginning on the first evening, you will look at how pattern can be used as substitution, enhancement, decoration or ornamentation. You will experiment with the way pattern can be applied or utilised to enhance or disrupt the background or foreground of a picture.

You will draw inspiration from patterns found in the everyday urban and natural world as well as the artistic imagination. You will be able to work from material supplied by the tutor as well as ideas and images you have brought in. You will have the opportunity to try out a variety of mediums and papers.

There are different types of pattern. In this introductory course, you will be concentrating on irregular pattern. Being irregular, it is easy to create by hand and does not have to conform to set rules. This style is easy to recognise in artists like: Paul Klee, Sophie Tauber-Arp, Anni Albers, Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt.

By the end of the course, you will have begun to form an individual visual vocabulary; you will have been introduced to the work of artists who use pattern, and, through your own experimentation, you will leave the course with new work and ideas about how pattern can transform your drawing and painting.


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 until 9pm, 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 tutor will supply some of the materials, including: a variety of different drawing and watercolour papers to try out; ink and watercolours.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring any paper-based drawing and painting materials you usually like to work with, as well as your own paint brushes and paint mixing trays.
  • Bring some physical examples or pictures of patterns that you notice in your everyday life, and may like to use as a starting point for some drawing or painting. This could be anything from a design or pattern found in a magazine, on a piece of material, in your kitchen cupboard, on a paper bag or patterns found in nature in the park or from your garden.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • General art materials are available to purchase from the shop.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Annabel Tilley: Old masters ink on paper

Annabel Tilley

Annabel Tilley, graduate of the University of Brighton and shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, has a drawing-based and sketchbook practice and has exhibited widely and undertaken several residencies. She is a lecturer, co-author of What they didn't teach you in art school (Octopus Books, 2016) and co-Founder of Zeitgeist Arts Projects (2012-2015).


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.