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Inspired by Nature
Video Duration: 31 mins
Estimated time to complete the lesson: 2-3 hours
(pause video as needed to complete steps, but please complete at your own pace)
This tutorial is recommended for adults and children 10+.
Use mixed media...
be guided step by step
design an attractive composition inspired by nature
learn how to layer media
pick up handy tips
Drawing paper, A3 or bigger
Black drawing ink
Small twig from the garden, with a small
Willow charcoal, thin stick
Compressed charcoal, soft and hard
Pastels, earth tones (2-3 colours only)
REMEMBER – there are no rules, don’t be afraid of experimenting!
These are my tips, to be used as as a guideline for creating this particular work, in conjunction with the video. Pause the video after each step and then complete that stage at your own pace. You can always go back to gain clarification on a particular aspect of the process:
Before starting on the artwork, collect 4 interesting things from the garden, such as flowers, leaves and
seed pods. Save your favourite one of these for step 5. Grab yourself a small twig (the drier, the better)
whilst you’re out there.
INK SKETCH - choose one of your shapes and draw this loosely using the twig dipped in drawing
ink, taking up most of your page
WILLOW CHARCOAL SKETCH - choose another object and draw this directly over the top of the
first sketch, again loose and large, using your stick of willow charcoal
FILL IN BACKGROUND - use the willow charcoal to fill in the whole background area around this
second sketch, then blend with your fingers and soften with a piece of paper towel
ERASER SKETCH - taking your third object, now use your eraser to do a reverse sketch by rubbing
away charcoal to leave white or light lines. Again, go straight across the top of the other sketches,
taking up most of the page space
COMPRESSED CHARCOAL SKETCH - this shape will become the main focus. Use your hard
compressed charcoal to draw over everything else. Press firmly so that this shape is obvious
ERASE INSIDE MAIN SHAPES - use your eraser to rub away most of what’s visible inside this last
sketch, so that it comes forward and is more obvious
ADD BLACK AREAS AND DETAILS - fill in black areas in the background spaces. Pick out small
spaces and vary between solid spaces, blended spaces, small details, lines and patterns. Aim to
make the background varied and interesting with a range of tones and effects… be brave and bold!
ERASE MORE AREAS - decide if any more areas need taking away and do this now
ADD EARTH COLOURS TO BACKGROUND LAYERS - working in the background only (as we
want the main object to have the highest contrast and most white areas) add areas of colour using
the earth pastels. No need to add a lot of colour; little additions and details will stand out. Again,
experiment with interesting ways to add the colour
FINISHING DETAILS - use any or all of the above to finish. Pay attention to every space, all the
way to your edges.
NOTE: charcoal works should be sprayed with an artist’s fixative spray once finished, to protect them from
smudging. Try not to put your hand down on the page as you work, charcoal is messy and smudges easily!
QUESTIONS: Please feel free to send me an email at