How to grow ideas with drawing: for artists, makers and crafters with Anna Marlen-Summers

Ref: SWE32927

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About this course

Using drawing, collage, photocopying and other processes, your tutor will guide you through inspiration, research, review and refinement to develop your initial ideas for making from first thoughts to something worthy of the time taken to realise.

Course Description

This course is designed for those with a practice in making, but who are looking for ways to fully develop their ideas before embarking on time and resource intensive processes. Whether your practice is in ceramics, glass, jewellery, sculpture, painting, textiles, fibre art, etc., two-dimensional or three-dimensional, you will learn and use processes to develop initial ideas to their fullest potential.

You are encouraged to bring images and objects that you are inspired by as a starting point; the tutor will provide some as well. You will explore their potential using a wide range of research to influence your ideas, and you will explore themes and think laterally, which can reveal rich veins of inspiration. You will use observational and non-observational drawing and collage techniques to explore and interrogate your inspiration, and find the shapes and forms that you wish to harvest for your own use.

Once you have your ingredients, you will look at ways of combining research and inspiration, exploring more drawing techniques and using the photocopier to its fullest potential to produce multiple iterations for each idea, combining, reviewing and refining with the freedom available with these multiple material and time light processes. We will work as a group to support each discovery and explore ways to be a critical friend in the creative process.

By the end of the course, you should have several ideas/ designs ready to be developed in your chosen media, as well as ideas you wish to develop and explore further with the new processes and practices you have used.


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 college will supply some materials, including cartridge paper, ink, use of photocopier, glue, masking tape and newsprint.

What students need to bring

  • Pens, pencils, ink, mixed media drawing materials of preference
  • Paintbrushes, mark-making tools
  • Craft knife/ scissors of preference
  • Glue of preference
  • Scrap paper, magazines
  • Sketchbook
  • It is essential that you bring:
  • Images of your own previous work
  • Image of artwork that inspires you (in a book or printed out)
  • Inspirational images, not of artwork (in a book or printed out)
  • An object that inspires you

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of art materials, including general drawing materials, brushes, craft knives, glue, paper and sketchbooks

Additional information

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


Anna Marlen-Summers

Trained in Fine art At Nottingham Trent University, Anna has worked in arts education for over 20 years.  Anna’s practice explores the material nature of thinking and “working out”, the much-maligned value of making something nice to look at, and the symbiotic relationships between learner, educator, artist, audience, art and place.


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.