Phantasmagoria: Drawing with light with Tabatha Andrews

Ref: S2D32771

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About this course

Explore light as a drawing and sculpting material. Learn about analogue and digital projection techniques and create your own projection work, revealing and concealing the extraordinary environment of West Dean College and Gardens at night.

Course Description

Drawing is a primal act. Our most primitive experiences of drawing were formed first in the body, and then in the cave. Projection also has a long history, from the story of Plato’s Cave to the Phantasmagoria of magic lanterns, hi-tech urban illuminations and dreams.

This course will introduce you to projection equipment, materials, techniques, a range of optical instruments and different approaches to drawing and sculpting with light. The emphasis will be on playful creativity and experimentation; enjoying the fantastical aspects of imagination.

On the first evening we will embark on a walk by torchlight just before bedtime, through West Dean House and Gardens, exploring sites and themes to work with. How can light reveal and conceal? How can drawing with light be sculptural and performative? What happens when we play with perspective and ‘pictorial’ space, working beyond the frame and screen?

You will work with digital and analogue drawing and projection techniques in the studio, followed by experimentation in the historic interiors of West Dean College. You will make your own image-projecting slides and screens with a range of supports from found objects to plastic, glass, fabric, wax and water. You will explore light-absorbing and light-reflecting materials, gathering a range of digital footage as you go. On the following evening you will have an exciting group screening, interacting with the environment of West Dean as the darkness comes in.

The course will include a talk and discussion exploring the rich history of artists, scientists and thinkers working with light and darkness as material and metaphor, introducing the science of vision and perception. Artists include Lilianne Lijn, James Turrell, Athanasius Kircher, Olaffur Elliasson, Lis Rhodes, Anthony McCall, Lindsey Seers, and many more.

We will be asking questions like: Can you project darkness? Can perception be a ‘medium’? Is light a material?

You will leave the course with a diverse range of outcomes including: a deeper understanding of the history and techniques of projected art works and installation, more confidence in drawing and sculpting your surroundings with light, a handmade optical instrument/toy and photographic documentation of your own projection work in situ.

Note: we will not be working with 16 mm movie film.


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 College will supply some equipment including digital projectors, overhead projectors and slide projectors to use during the course.
  • The College will provide some material including cartridge paper, tracing paper, glue, black marker pens, Indian ink, black acrylic paint, acetate sheets, glassed 35 mm slide mounts.

What students need to bring

  • A memory stick to save your work onto (2GB minimum). If you have your own laptop or camera with you, you may also wish to bring an SD card.
  • Please bring Mobile phones/iPads with charging leads. (If you have an iPad you may wish to install ProCreate which is a cheap drawing app but this is not essential)
  • Any torches/head torches/other battery operated portable lights, LED or other
  • Sellotape
  • A mixture of marker pens from thin to thick – coloured and black
  • A craft knife, a palette, coloured acrylic paints and/or inks/watercolours if you have them
  • Further materials: don’t worry if you can’t find everything as there will be some spares available.
  • An old white sheet, a few recycled transparent/translucent plastic containers (bottle, dish etc.), thicker flat rectangles of plastic from food packaging windows etc.
  • Coloured cellophane from sweet wrappers etc.
  • Samples of net eg. sheets of muslin, voile, nets for fruit, etc.
  • Sheets of card, toilet rolls/tubes, cardboard boxes – could be small or larger
  • Any mirrors, prisms, lenses etc
  • String, threads, fishing line if you have it
  • Screw in hooks and eyes
  • Thicker flat rectangles of plastic from food packaging windows etc.
  • Any optical instruments you would like to show to the group
  • Anything else you think works well with light and shadow

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of art materials including A1 cartridge paper, A1 tracing paper, paints, inks, acetate sheets and permanent marker pens/fine liners.

Additional information

Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. There may be restrictions on equipment available to students in tutor’s absence.


Tabatha Andrews

Tabatha Andrews makes sculptures, performances and installations exploring memory and communication. She works with a range of materials including drawing, wood, felt, glass, bronze, light and sound. Her award-winning work engages with a wide variety of contexts, from hospitals to forests, cathedrals and galleries. She has collaborated with composers, choreographers, scientists and community groups. 


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

Courses of interest

Further study options

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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.