This course has concessions available

Painting and Drawing: Beginners L1

Learn the basics of drawing and painting in an experimental, practical and informative way. During the course you will build your creative skills and gain confidence, whilst in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.
If you would like enrol at the concession rate, please request and complete your enrolment by contacting: or calling 020 7269 6000 Mon- Thu

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

This course is for beginners. No previous experience or skill is required. Each course is one term long but the 3 terms are structured to run over the year. Beginners may also enter in terms 2 or 3, when they can benefit from working alongside those with a little more experience.
Each term will have a different focus: in term one drawing, term two painting and term three mixed media and collage, but this is not exclusive and each term will include practical exercises using all of these different disciplines.

What does this course cover

Term 1 is devoted to drawing: to begin with you will experiment with a variety of black and white media (including pencil, ink and charcoal). You will work mainly from observation, starting with simple still-life exercises: developing basic pictorial skills such as mark-making, line, tone, perspective and composition. Colour will be introduced towards the end of term one, firstly with coloured drawing materials (pencils, chalks) and then using acrylic paint. You will learn about basic colour mixing, the colour wheel and tone in colour as well as continuing to develop your skills in observation and composition.
The focus of term 2 will be colour and painting projects, including still life, the figure, abstract painting, and landscapes. In term 2 you will also continue to build on drawing skills to compliment and enhance painting. You will learn how important drawing can be as the starting point for a painting, and how the two mediums can work together.
In term 3 we will work with mixed media and collage. We will concentrate on developing themes and draw and paint from the imagination. This term will also include drawing and painting outside and using sketchbooks to develop ideas. By now you will know which methods and materials you prefer to work with, and you will be starting to build your own visual language.
Each term there will be several sessions with a life model, using various materials including charcoal and paints. There will also be a trip to a gallery or museum each term to look at a chosen exhibition and sketch from the work.
Over the 3 terms strategies for collecting and collating source material as well as discussion/ reflection/ appreciation skills are developed. At the beginning of each class we will look at a selection of images of relevant artists' work, and talk about how these can inform your work during the class. At the end of each lesson we will look at all students work and have a brief peer discussion about the outcomes.
By the end of the year you will be able to:?
1. Draw and paint from observation using various approaches and techniques.
2. Work with colour, mix colour and understand basic colour theory.
3. Begin to develop an individual approach to composition and the use of media.
4. Discuss, appreciate and learn from your own work and that of your fellows.
5. Have a greater knowledge of artists and art history.

What will it be like

Each session or project is structured round a particular exercise or subject to develop basic pictorial elements and skills.
Teaching during each session is on an individual as well as group basis.
Work produced is displayed at the end of the classes in order for the group to develop analytical skills - and ability to learn from your own work and that of others.
Examples ( eg. Images, books, postcards) of other artists' work will be shown where relevant.
Verbal guidance and feedback is given individually on a weekly basis. During the course there is also the opportunity for a short individual portfolio review, where strengths, weaknesses and onward progress can be discussed. We will gather student feedback on individual progress and the course in general.

What else do you need to buy or do

You will need: an A4 or A3 sketch book, paint, brushes, masking tape and a variety of coloured drawing materials. The tutor will advise in the first couple of weeks of term and also give students a list of London Art Shops
You will need to buy a range of basic acrylic paints at a cost of 15 pounds and upwards. Unless you have already bought acrylic paints, you should purchase: lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, white, black, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, alizarin crimson (or rose madder), cadmium red, viridian, ultramarine, burnt sienna. A black and white paint also.
You may also be asked to collect materials for collage, black and white and colour. You may be asked to bring in various objects that you might be interested in for the still life projects.

What this course could lead to

Other Art courses at The Mary Ward Centre, eventually including Foundaton, Pre-foundation, Advanced Creative Practice. Tutor can advise.

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: and from the following websites:;;;;

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

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Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’