How to use a sketchbook with Kate Boucher

Ref: SWE32222

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About this course

Learn how to work on a theme and sequence your ideas in a sketchbook. Progress your ideas towards finished works and hold the sparks of inspiration in your sketchbooks. Develop themes with a variety of media, find joy in experimentation and build confidence in expressing your ideas.

Course Description

There are many ways of keeping a sketchbook and this course will help you find yours.

Discover why and how you can use a sketchbook to both develop ideas towards finished works and creatively record those little sparks of inspiration. You will learn how to develop ideas from a variety of starting points, using drawing, painting, collage and found objects. The tutor will encourage you to embrace the accidental and find joy in experimentation, to build your confidence in expressing your ideas through sketchbooks. You will work on a theme and learn how to sequence your ideas in a sketchbook.

On the first evening, the tutor will show you her sketchbooks and those of other artists and discuss different ways that a sketchbook can be used. There will be some set tasks, demonstrations and top tips to help you begin to explore the images, photographs and papers you bring along. Each task will build new skills to guide you towards being able to create interesting and imaginative sketchbooks that are individual to you.

By the end of the course, you will have learned some of the processes by which you can be creative and develop ideas in a sketchbook using a range of media.


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


  • An A6 sketchbook, some cartridge paper and a plastic rubber each, and to share amongst the group: masking tape, acrylic medium, decorators caulk, carbon paper and fixative.

What students need to bring

  • Sketchbook – rectangle, square or long and thin are all fine but not ring bound
  • Water-based paints – watercolour, gouache or acrylic (whichever you have is fine) - a red, blue and yellow, plus white. It does not matter which red, blue and yellow.
  • Two paintbrushes, one thin, one larger (approx. the width of your thumb), which can be a decorating type brush
  • 2 x pencils, any grade
  • Apron
  • Smartphone, tablet (for taking photographs)
  • A sandwich bag's worth of ephemera, for example: newspaper clippings, coloured magazine page, sweet wrappers, envelopes, wrapping paper
  • 3 or 4 photographs that you've taken of subjects that interest you – these photos should be related in a way that makes sense to you.
  • A small handheld object that also relates to your theme
  • 2 printouts of artworks by artists you admire

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials are available to buy, including sketchbooks in various dimensions and paper types, a good variety of watercolour, gouache and acrylic paints, a good variety of paintbrushes in various sizes, matt or satin acrylic varnishing/glazing medium, pencils and black compressed charcoal sticks.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Kate Boucher

Kate Boucher is an experienced, enthusiastic and inspirational tutor who specialises in building students' creative confidence in a supportive teaching environment. She trained at Chelsea School of Art and recently gained a Master of Fine Art from West Dean College. She was awarded a prestigious QEST scholarship, was the Edward James Foundation Scholar in 2015/16 and winner of the Valarie Power Prize for Visual Arts. Her dark and evocative charcoal drawings often have unnaturally tilted horizons, hints of a double exposure and foregrounds that appear to shift and slip. Her practice also includes handmade felt and forged metal structures also created as a response to landscape.


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.