The instant sketchbook with Annabel Tilley

Ref: SWE31865

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About this course

Learn how to create an instant sketchbook. Make one, fill one and make another. Experiment with drawing, collage, composition and colour.

Course Description

The humble sketchbook is a magical component of any artist's practice. On this course, you will learn how to create an instant sketchbook using drawing and collage techniques. You will work quickly, instinctively and experimentally to create rapid images where one idea leads to another.

Daily, weekly, timed and subject-focused sketchbooks can be used as research tools to explore ideas and techniques (or to revitalise your practice). If you are short of time, an instant sketchbook will hold and represent your ideas and investigations in miniature.

The tutor will demonstrate how an instant sketchbook can be a joyful and liberating experience. You will learn how to overcome the hesitancy and indecision that can often eat away at precious studio time. You will also find yourself taking risks and trying new approaches in terms of technique, colour, form and composition.

To create the sketchbooks, basic sewing skills would be useful, for which the tutor will be on hand to assist, or there is the option to staple your sketchbook instead.

By the end of the course, you will have learned how to make a variety of sketchbooks, and you will have created and filled three of your own. You will have developed new ideas about drawing and collage and will have gained confidence in trusting your own judgement to work quickly and instinctively.


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 cost of providing some paper-based materials for the sketchbooks, including archival glue, needles, thread and some paper-based collage material, shared amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • A variety of collage material such as magazines, newsprint, wallpaper, tissue paper, foil and tracing paper, etc.
  • Drawing materials and a pair of scissors are essential.
  • A ruler, pens, pencils, coloured pens and/or pencils
  • Quick-drying paints like watercolour, gouache, acrylic and/or coloured inks
  • Brushes
  • Gluestick, e.g. Pritt Stick (archival PVA glue will be provided)
  • Have a look online at artists’ sketchbooks: Louise Bourgeois, David Hockney, Paul Klee, Georges Braque, Phyllida Barlow. Do some research on how artists, past and present, use sketchbooks and think about how you would like to use one in your own practice. Gather together general collage material – magazines, brochures and catalogues.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art and craft materials, including scissors, rulers, pens, pencils, coloured pens and/or pencils, watercolour paints, gouache, acrylic paints and/or coloured inks, brushes, Pritt Sticks, paper, textured papers, tracing paper and tissue paper

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals). Please note: The course is based in the Carrington Studio which is reached via a short walk through the walled garden. The Carrington Studio can also be accessed by vehicle, using the garden entrance, after registration. You will return to the main house for lunch, while morning coffee and afternoon tea will be available at the Carrington Studio.


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.

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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.