Acrylic ink painting – methodologies from the East with Christine Forbes

Ref: S3D33357

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About this course

Develop brush techniques based on simple plant forms and landscape imagery. Explore colour, form and wash, enabling a more intuitive approach to painting.

Course Description

Working through a range of brush and wash techniques, you will learn the many different ways a simple brush can be used to create vibrant and dynamic studies. Build your confidence with acrylic ink as you progress your skills from demonstrated exercises, to finding how the flow of the ink interacts with the paper surface. Finally, you will create vibrant ink paintings from small studies to larger landscapes as you learn to manipulate this bright, full-on medium.

You will draw and paint from both plant life and landscape, predominantly from images brought by the tutor. The structured programme of this course opens up towards more intuitive and explorative ways with the medium. As your confidence grows, your techniques will become more refined as you are encouraged to investigate the ink's versatile mobility. Lastly, you will be encouraged to explore your colour knowledge and visual vocabulary by choosing some unusual landscape tints.

An opening talk will be followed by some observational drawing work. The tutor will present classical and contemporary Eastern approaches to ink drawing, then she will encourage you to extend this further to develop your own interpretations of your subject. You will be shown how to use the brush to the best advantage and engage with the tactility of the ink. You will also learn how the paper can behave in relation to the flow of the ink. Visual aesthetics, as well as working techniques, will then be brought together as you move towards some final pieces and a more intuitive and creative way of painting.

There will be plenty of one-to-one guidance and demonstrations to help you open up and extend your painting experience within a mutually supportive environment.

By the end of this course, you will have explored a new and exciting medium and gained a solid, practical base on which to develop new work.

Techniques include:

Exercise based drawing

Mark-making, colour and brush handling

Finding the flow of the ink

Exploring transparency and rich colour

The paper surface

Incorporating additional ideas and motifs

Group review


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


  • The course fee includes the cost of providing you with a set of inks and some newsprint.

What students need to bring

  • Please wear old clothes as ink stains. Bring drawing materials to the first session.
  • HB Pencil, graphite stick 8B, plastic eraser, craft knife/pencil sharpener, A4/5 sketchbook, 2/3 sheets (A1) cartridge paper (140gsm cut into 8 sheets), 1 sheet (A1) Hot Pressed Fabriano paper (300 gsm cut into 8 sheets), masking tape, glue stick (Pritt), 2 daisy palettes
  • Flat soft real hair (ox hair) wash brush (size 20)
  • Nylon round brushes (sizes 10, 6 and 2)
  • Rigger brush (size 2)
  • Additional round nylon brushes (approx size 6) will be useful.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of art materials are available to buy, including HB pencils, graphite sticks: 8B, plastic eraser, craft knives, pencil sharpeners, A4 and A5 sketchbooks, A1 cartridge paper - 140gsm, A1 Hot Pressed Fabriano paper - 300 gsm, masking tape, glue stick (Pritt), daisy palettes, soft flat ox hair wash brushes - size 20, nylon round brushes – sizes 10, 6 and 2, rigger brushes - size 2.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Christine Forbes, tutor at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Christine Forbes

Christine Forbes is a Sussex artist and graduate of Northbrook College, Worthing. Her background is in design, acting, fashion and catering. She has been teaching for over 16 years (both adults and children) and includes: The National association of Gifted Children and HMP Ford. She continues to work for private, club and corporate clients. Christine exhibits regularly and is a member of the Sussex Watercolour Society. She runs her own gift card business.


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

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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.