Ink drawing – light and reflection with Maxine Relton

Ref: SLW13473

Book now

Places available

About this course

Explore ink techniques as you interpret light and water reflections. Develop your visual vocabulary and build confidence in your work.

Course Description

Inks are vibrant, transparent, mixable and extremely fluid pigments, ideal for experimental drawing using diverse tools.

Learn how to use inks to interpret both light and water reflections. This often unheeded realm will enrich your visual experience by revealing unexpected and surprising discoveries as you notice more light and reflection in your everyday environment.

Explore a wide range of approaches to drawing with this versatile medium. Ink types include carbon, pigment, Sumi, Indian and Oriental stick inks - either waterbased or waterproof. You will also learn about ink from organic sources, such as walnuts and blackberries, which you can make at home. You will combine inks with other mediums, such as watercolour washes. You will experiment with a broad range of tools, including pens (fude, bamboo, dip, calligraphy), brushes and invented drawing implements. Through exploration, you will find the tools that suit your own style.

Demonstrations by your tutor will take you through a series of imaginative projects, introducing you to treatments of the two topics by different artists. You will explore working from your imagination and visual references, as well as direct observation in and around the College. There will be excursions to Bosham and Midhurst Pond. Your tutor will bring examples of her own work and sketchbooks to supplement your learning.

By the end of the course, you will have enjoyed playful and lively explorations of inks, revitalised your creative thinking, usefully extended your visual vocabulary and built your confidence to look for original solutions in unexpected places. You will also know how to make inks in your own home or studio.


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 some materials to try out shared amongst the group including inks, brushes, pens, drawing implements, pencils, chinagraphs, tracing paper, masking and acid-free tape, glue, L-mounts and viewfinders, clear acetate.

What students need to bring

  • Sketchbook (easiest for outdoor locations) or loose sheets of good-quality cartridge paper (minimum 160gsm) and watercolour paper (min 300 gsm)
  • Any black and/or coloured inks and pens, plus special ink drawing tools (eg reed, bamboo pens) you already have
  • Water-based paints/brushes of your choice to combine with inks if you wish
  • Pencils, rubber, sharpener
  • Any small water-tight containers you have for taking ink to outdoor locations

Available to buy

A good variety of art materials including: 160gsm cartridge paper, 300gsm watercolour paper and a wide selection of sketchbooks.

Additional information

If you wish to speak to the tutor in advance to discuss any aspect of the course, please let the bookings office know at [email protected] who will forward your details to the tutor. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Maxine Relton

Teaching at West Dean since 2005, Maxine works across drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking and mixed media. Exhibits widely, runs a 3-floor gallery of her work in Gloucestershire, included in public and private collections around the world. Trained in London at Camberwell and the Slade. An elected member of the Royal West of England Academy.


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.