How you can learn to draw

Become more creative

A palette of watercolours

Do you want to learn to draw? Do you want to overcome the feeling of “I can’t draw”? Do you want to use your creative side more effectively? We can help you do this.

Alongside our Woodworking Courses, an essential part of what we do here at Rowden is to help furniture makers learn to draw. It is a way of making sense of the world around us and allows us to build up an individual visual language.

Learn to draw: A dozen honest lines

We beginour drawing classes with simple exercises in looking. Sit down, put your head in one place, here is a sheet of paper, let’s put it vertically alongside what we want to draw. Just give me outlines. What we put in front of you are simple forms. Cubes and rectangles painted white on a white background. They are still and the lighting is constant. Looking very hard, that is where drawing starts…

This can be tricky to the untrained eye. One part of your brain, the lazy part, will want you to draw the symbol of a cup, a box, a bike etc. But the trick is not to let that happen. Relax, take it slow and think about where each line is in relation to the next.

Drawing… Looking hard, and thinking right.

Half of the battle is STOPPING the left-hand side of the brain telling you that “this is too much hard work” and “this is pointless, you can’t draw”. It’s inevitable that you will get these thoughts, but you need to learn to enjoy this visual thinking and get to the place where you recognise the peace and tranquillity of the Drawing Studio.

From simple exercises, we progress building your confidence in your ability. Step upon simple step. From these, we move to curves and tonal drawing from lines to light and dark. The exercises are very tiring and we will suggest walks in the country lanes around us and a trip to the beach. These are opportunities to bring back shells from the beach and leaves and flowers from the Devon lanes. These are shapes you want to draw, shapes you want to add to your individual visual vocabulary.

Still life drawing in pen and pencil

The important aspect here is to get you going. Later you will be able to create a personal visual library, a set of shapes and forms which can be stored in the back of your head. We can ONLY do this by drawing. If ever you see an object that interests you, draw it. If you see a shape that you quite like, draw it. Photographs are external. Drawings are internal, they never leave you and can be brought to life vivid and new forty years later.

Where, when, how much?

We have run drawing classes at the Rowden Atelier workshops in Shebbear, North Devon for over ten years. We have recently built a specialist Drawing Studio overlooking pasture going down to our lake.


A view of Rowden from the lake


Barn where new learning to draw classes are being held

Artist’s rendition for the new learning to draw short courses

Watercolour artists impression for new learning to draw classes

Simple line drawing of still life

October and November 2015 life drawings

Learn to Draw through Life Drawing:

Drawing the human figure is a very established exercise when we learn to draw. Throughout history artists have proven that a healthy study of the human form can build up our ability to draw with our eyes, get the proportions right including all the dips and curves. It’s not an easy task this as it requires a lot of focus.

To find out more information about life drawing, why we do it and what you can expect on the course head over to our life drawing page.