Botanical Studies
For the October holidays I decided to plan a workshop that was very drawing focussed – while we do do a lot of drawing in other workshops, it’s not always the main focus, because while I know the children love to draw, they can quite easily do this at home, at school or wherever else they can carry their pencils and notebooks. I like to give the children as many creative opportunities as possible that they may not be able to have outside of my workshops either due to not having access to the correct materials, lack of an inspirational starting point or as every parent knows, getting all the art stuff out can often take more time than the child is then prepared to actually create! From my own experience as a mum, before I had my workshop space set up, the endless hours I had spent setting projects up, only for the little person to lose interest after just a few minutes…. Oh, and then there’s the clear up which can take FOREVER!!! Hence the joy of my workshops – for parents they don’t have to worry about any of that, and for the children, they get to have fun, make, create and make mess!!

Anyway, I digress!! Back to drawing. So, because I know how much so many of the young creatives do like to draw, that was the focus of the October holiday art camp. And because of the changing seasons, I wanted this to have botanical focus – plus any excuse to bring a bit of nature into our making! Everyone was given their own sketchbook for the day, which they were encouraged to use throughout the day for noting their doodles, thoughts and ideas. These were great for using between activities if any of the young creatives finished ahead of the other children.

Armed with view finders, magnifying glasses, a range of pencils, charcoal and chalk pencils the children were encouraged to look closely and observe the details in the plants – looking at form, patterns and textures. We did a number of different exercises, each allowing the child to use different materials, create interesting marks, working on different types of surfaces therefore creating different outputs based around the same source material.

First off the children used their sketchbooks to practice their looking and drawing. They developed some of their ideas into larger sketches

Then we prepared both paper and canvas surfaces – simply adding a small amount of white paint with a ‘dry’ brush to brown paper can create an interesting background – and this takes away the fear of the ‘blank’ piece of paper! I used this process loads at art collage!! Once dried, we started with the brown paper for making drawings – playing with the different drawing materials, using our observational skills – we even had a go at drawing what we were looking at, but without looking at the drawing on the paper – just letting hands ‘trace’ what the eye was seeing (blind contour drawing). Some really interesting pieces were made, and it was great to see the children draw what they were actually looking at rather than what they thought they could see.

Secondly, we did what can be described as ‘process’ art and is an ace activity for really young children – basically water and coloured tissue paper on canvas can create a lovely watercolour/patchwork effect which is a great background to work into – so great for all ages!! We then worked in to the the multi-coloured patchwork canvas, on to which the young creatives made more detailed observational drawing, choosing to repeat patterns and design if they wanted to.

The final activity of the day was ‘going large’ with what they had been studying throughout the day. Looking at paintings by Georgia O’ Keeffe, the young creatives were encouraged to go big, bold and adventurous with their colour and paint – I used this as activity as a way of pulling them away from the very intricate detailed drawing they had been doing and exaggerating everything they had done. Some stunning results and a real colour fest – unfortunately I didn’t get many photographs of these pieces – sorry!

Another fab workshop and the young creatives were delighted go away with their wonderful creations with the promise of making more drawings in their sketchbooks until they were filled!


Leave a Reply