The fluidity of ink with Deborah Petch

Ref: SLW31505

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About this course

Experiment with ink on paper to discover this fluid and exciting drawing material. Respond to the landscape with ink, including hand-made ink, and gain confidence with upscaling your work.

Course Description

Work predominantly with ink on paper in a fluid, joyous and expressive way. You will experience how ink behaves (and misbehaves), and learn how to control and encourage the medium to flow through experimentation and practice of various techniques. Starting small, you will learn about the properties of ink and how it reacts on different papers using a range of methods and tools to encourage a variety of effects to produce a library of ink experiments.

You will proceed to make your own inks using charcoal from West Dean and graphite powder. You may also gather nature from the grounds and use foraged materials such as twigs, feathers, moss and grass as natural tools to work with. You will experiment with the properties of your materials and tools from the land to create interesting marks in monotone on a variety of papers.

Working outside, ‘en plein air’, you will respond to the grounds of the College in an expressive way. (Working outdoors puts you at the mercy of the elements, so please come along with a waterproof and layers/hats/sunscreen.) If the weather is inclement, you will make quick sketches outdoors and work on them further in the studio. You will be encouraged to work on different scales, from small and gradually increasing to large works with confidence.

By the end of the course, you will have learnt about the joy of ink, its fluidity and unpredictability that leads to surprising results. You will have made your own ink from various natural sources. You will have embraced the elements with ‘en plein air’ sketching, learnt how this may affect your work and experienced working from small to large scale on a variety of papers.


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 most of the materials, including cartridge paper 300gsm, Bockingford NOT 300gsm watercolour paper, A4 Khadi paper 300gsm, a large piece of Fabriano cartridge paper 200gsm - approx 1m x 1.5m cut in half, Gum Arabic, some Indian ink, Quink ink, white ink, West Dean charcoal, graphite powder, masking tape and gum strip to be shared amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • Essential items:
  • Please bring a variety of brushes, including a large decorating brush 2 inch, 3 inch and a larger pasting brush, if you have one, to work on the final large scale pieces.
  • A water spritzer and an empty squeezy bottle
  • At least 4 jam jars with lids
  • Tools to work with such as: old credit cards/bits of plastic, feathers, sticks, grasses, nature, string, sponges, a toothbrush, plastic bags, drinking straws, lace, cotton buds, bamboo skewer
  • Most paper and ink is provided, but you may require some extra paper of your choice, such as cartridge 300gsm, watercolour 300gsm or Khadi 300gsm.
  • You will be working tonally, so bring along any extra inks you enjoy, such as Black Quink ink, Black Indian ink or white ink (some will be provided).
  • Optional items:
  • You can make ink from natural dry ingredients on this course such as earth, ash, charcoal, graphite powder and soot to make ink with or any other natural earthy dry pigments
  • Soluble graphite pencil
  • A small trolley/bag to help with transporting materials around the grounds
  • A gardener’s mat to kneel on or something similar when working outdoors (boards and portable chairs are provided)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials, including a good selection of papers, Indian ink., Quink ink (black), white ink. (some ink will be provided to start with), a good variety of brushes, soluble graphite stick/pencil, graphite powder, charcoal, masking tape

Additional information

Please wear old clothing that is suitable for the weather, including stout covered footwear. Lots of warm layers and a waterproof coat or hat if cold, sunglasses, sunhat and suncream if sunny. Portable chairs will be available to use. Please note, this is an energetic course, you will be working in the grounds, carrying materials and working large scale on the final day, which can be quite physically demanding. You will be sat at a desk at the beginning of the course and then working outdoors on boards, using portable chairs or working directly on the floor outdoors with larger scale work on the final day (weather permitting).


Deborah Petch

Deborah Petch studied locally at Brighton University and University of Chichester. Her masters degree culminated in a series of large scale abstract paintings which all evolved from drawing and printmaking processes. Deborah is primarily concerned with the exploration of being in the world which she expresses through her artwork. She enjoys working outdoors on ancient sites where the weather, sense of place and nuances of the past all influence her work. Deborah has worked with Arts Council England, Pallant House Gallery and University of Chichester. She has exhibited throughout the UK.


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

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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.