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Current and Upcoming Sessions

BEGINNERS : Duration : 8 weeks
We start with the basic techniques and then, step-by-step, I'll help you progress your drawing skills towards Intermediate level. Limited to 10 places per class.

There is also a budget self-directed version of this course with video support.

INTERMEDIATE : Duration : 8 weeks
A little more academic than the Beginners course, it features exercises and tuition on improved techniques such as Negative Drawing, advanced shading, using Negative Space, and a lot more. Limited to 10 places per class. Just Read the details and click to sign up before the next session begins. Or take the self-directed class at any time and learn at your own pace.



ADVANCED : Duration : 8 weeks
If you're comfortable with techniques and want to advance the scope of your art, this is the course for you. It covers subjects not fully explored in my book "Drawing from Line to Life", such as Perspective and Proportion, the Science of Shadows, Composition, and the creation of Composite Studies. Go to and enrol before the next session begins.

SHADING : Duration : 6 weeks
I'm now running the TRADITIONAL SHADING course, authored by Brenda Hoddinott, that covers the fundamental three-dimensional shading techniques.

Thanks for all your help and support Mike. As a true beginner with no real drawing experience, I can see it has already made a significant difference in the way I see and approach things. Your feedback has been invaluable and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this program to others. Thanks again!
Shelly - Beginners
I cannot thank you enough for the class! You have helped me heighten my perception in ways I never thought I could. And the techniques you teach have been priceless! It has helped me so very, very much!!
Carol - Beginners
I have to tell you that this evening, as we were driving, I realized that I was seeing 3D in the trees and the light was long. It has changed how I look at things. I have re-kindled my passion to draw. I think you rock as a teacher and compassionate guy!
Shanti - Beginners
I wanted to say a big thank-you for all your help in the two Drawspace courses I completed with you. You really have inspired and encouraged me and you pushed me further than I would ever have gone alone.
Wendy - Intermediate
I'm really impressed. The simple initial exercises have us drawing without any 'threat' to the artistically-challenged amongst us. Most of us have been taught that we can't draw, but your course progression is nicely judged from a psychological perspective (and I am qualified to say that!).
Dawn - Beginner
This class has been an amazing experience for me. I have learned new techniques, new ways of seeing things (the fabulous negative drawing), and am beginning to trust that I can create something entirely from my imagination. I now have the tools to move forward. Your critiques have been insightful and understandable, and you have been so generous with your time. I can't thank you enough, and I envy those lucky new student who get to begin the journey with you next week.
Christine - Intermediate
Your course was exceptional in the content and sequencing of important ideas. Just right for an 8 week experience, with challenges that invite continued work and practice. I particularly appreciate the open-ended access to your expertise through your website in the future. Your book and course interactions will serve as a resource with "return value" - I will return to it often for review and additional clarifications. Many thanks!
Karen - Advanced
The last 16 weeks have been an incredible journey for me and I am sad to see it come to an end. Your feedback has been invaluable and I have truly enjoyed every single week. You are a great teacher and I have learned so much. Hopefully, my skills will continue to develop so I am ready for your Advanced class at some point in the future. Many thanks.
Shelly - Beginners & Intermediate

About Drawspace is one of the largest art education websites on the Internet, featuring high-quality courses authored by world-renowned artists, art educators, and authors.

Drawing forms the foundation of all visual arts, and is the main focus of the Drawspace foundation-level program, which emphasises teacher-to-student and student-to-student interaction. Drawspace focuses primarily on the enjoyment aspects while gently introducing the technical and academic. So, in creating a passion for the subject matter, the quest for knowledge also becomes enjoyable.

Drawspace The Drawspace Beginner Certification Program provides adult level courses, teaching the fundamental skills and techniques needed to support whatever further academic aspirations students may have. Students, who satisfactorily complete all the requirements of this beginner-level program are awarded a certificate of completion.

Drawspace As a Drawspace student, you work toward your Drawspace certification:
  • By building your knowledge online in state-of-the-art virtual classrooms.
  • At home, in your own time schedule, without the pressure of showing up in a traditional classroom at specific times.
  • Under the guidance of highly-qualified instructors who are also practicing artists (rather than "theory-only" instructors).
  • Without the expenses of traditional learning venues (for example: textbooks, child-care, and accommodation).
  • Through a "learn by doing" approach to curriculum.
  • With curriculum choices based on your individual preferences.
  • With a goal of acquiring the skills, confidence, and motivational tools to pursue more advanced art studies.

How do we work? We work together in a virtual classroom where you can post your work, comments and questions. It's my job to steer you along the right path and to help me do that I use my experience of running international Drawing Workshops.

Each week you download a PDF document from the classroom that contains notes on the current technique and a few exercises. As I can't look over your shoulder as you work, I purposefully designed the exercises to allow for that. You upload your work into the classroom and I'll critique it for you. Sometimes I'll ask you to have another go if I think you haven't quite understood something. At other times I'll digitally work on your images myself to help you understand more completely. You can write in at any time for assistance or post a part-completed exercise if you need more assistance than you gained from the notes. The PDFs are yours to keep and will build into a handy reference source. And I'll give you much more information in my critiques and classroom posts than is included in the text.

In the classroom you can view and comment on everyone else's exercise results and read my individual critiques and advice. And sometimes I'll post advice generally within the classroom itself if I see a few of you having the same problem. There is a "private" option, which prevents anyone but you and me seeing your posts - that facility is very rarely used and I don't recommend it, because you can learn from each other too, not just from me.

On the completion of the course, you may not have finished the final exercise. Don't worry - the assistance doesn't end with the course and you can use my website's Workshop Plus page for further assistance and a final critique.

BEGINNERS COURSE This class is for artists who have a little knowledge and a desire to progress to a higher level and is based on my comprehensive how-to-draw book "Drawing from Line to Life".

The course uses the same natural progression of drawing techniques that I teach in my UK and USA physical workshops, which has benefited artists who work in many mediums - from watercolour to pen & ink, and sculptors to pastelists. Initially, I'll prepare the guideline drawings for you, which will remove a major headache and allow you to concentrate on techniques rather than the ability to draw accurately.

You will be taken step-by-step through the fundamental drawing techniques - each technique leading naturally to the next. Using a series of drawing exercises, you'll learn not only the 'How' but also the more important 'Why', which I will explain in depth. This course can even be undertaken by absolute beginners, although some prior knowledge of the basics might be helpful. You need to devote a minimum of four to six hours per week, and possibly more in the final two weeks.

Exploring pencils and what each can do.
Shading techniques using tone, including Burnishing, Blending and Layering.
Shading techniques using line, Cross-hatching and Understanding shape and form.
Erasing techniques.
Indenting methods.
Methods of dividing and simplifying your drawings.
Preparation methods and the secret ingredient.
Telling a simple story with our final drawing - fixing the focal point, handling secondary features, and more...
Read the full Course Outline
There is now a BUDGET SELF-DIRECTED VERSION of this online course available. Take it at any time. Self-paced - you decide when you start and finish - and with comprehensive video support:

INTERMEDIATE COURSE If you're an artist who has some experience of drawing, knows the basic techniques, and now wants to learn more - this is the course for you. You may have completed my Beginners Course but that's not essential. A little more academic than the Beginners course, it features exercises and tuition on improved techniques and other necessary skills, such as Negative Drawing and Advanced Shading.

As your skills progress, you begin to leave thoughts of technique behind and instead think about the message within your art - be it a simple story, a trigger for an emotional response, or just to emphasise the beauty of something. This course moves into that area - the mental preparation and mindset required to lift your art above the mundane.

As always, the course features weekly exercises, so I can watch your progress and advise you, and I've prepared many of the guideline drawings for you, so you can concentrate on the principles involved. And I'll explain both the 'How' and the more important 'Why' as I take you step-by-step through the intermediate level techniques and introduce you to the artist's way of working.

Shading Techniques
Negative Space - the artists' salvation
Negative Drawing techniques - making white available, and much more...
Exploring Key Values and Contrasts
Advanced Shading, Textures and Lighting
Drawing Hair methods
Drawing Foliage, Grass and Weeds
Putting it all together in our final drawing
Read the full Course Outline

ADVANCED COURSE This class is for artists who are familiar with technique and wish to progress further. More academic than the Beginners and Intermediate Courses, it doesn't feature pencil techniques but concentrates on how to turn your drawing skills into top-rate artwork.

I'll take you step-by-step through the fundamental techniques and mental gymnastics of art creation. As usual I'll strive to explain the more important 'Why' as well as the 'How'. Each week will include a couple of exercises - so I can check on your progress, not because I doubt your drawing skills!

Extracting and using Visual Clues to clearly describe surfaces and textures
Perspective - zero to three-point, Linear and Atmospheric, Ellipses, and using diagonals to plot recession
Correct Proportion using perspective, Problem Solving, and Manipulating Proportion to suit your composition
Composition 1/3 - the Basics, Placing the Centre of Interest, the Principle Rules explained, and more...
Composition 2/3 - the major Designs and Layouts, using False Perspective, Creating balance, and more...
Composition 3/3 - using Visual Guides, Dressing the scene, the Animator's way, creating your Own World...
The science of shadows - how to construct them, use them effectively, and break the rules...
Computer composition - all the basic commands, and how to put your composition together
Read the full Course Outline

TRADITIONAL SHADING Traditional realism is a style of art in which living beings and objects are drawn as they appear in real life – without stylization or distortion. Traditional realism describes the edges (contours) of the subject by the use of shading rather than outlining with lines, which are a purely man-made and unnatural device.

Authored by Brenda Hoddinot and run by Mike Sibley.

This 6-week course is designed to enable absolute beginners and experienced artists to:
  • Discover how highlights, shadows, reflected light, and cast shadows help create the illusion of a three-dimensional reality on a flat sheet of paper
  • Prepare five grades of pencils with a chisel point for traditional shading, and then use them to shade value scales
  • Outline straight-sided shapes and add shading with four grades of pencils
  • Examine values on drawing subjects to find clues that identify the direction of a light source
  • Learn a four-step process to help you plan an appropriate method for adding shading to a drawing
  • Outline three shapes and their value maps, and then use graduated shading to turn a circle, cube, and rectangle into realistic three-dimensional forms
  • Use traditional shading techniques and five grades of pencils to render a three-dimensional form
  • Sketch the proportions of a plant, practice a step-by-step process used to add traditional shading, and then add realistic textured and patterned shading
Identifying Light and Shadow on Forms
Shade Simple Value Scales
Shade an Optical Illusion
Identifying Primary Light Sources
Shade Graduations of Values
How to Use a Value Map
Part 1: Use Shading to Create Forms
Part 2: Use Shading to Create Forms
Turn a Shape into a Form
Part 1: Shade the Realistic Forms of Leaves
Part 2: Shade the Realistic Forms of Leaves
Read the full Course Outline

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