UK WORKSHOPS

Vic offers a variety of teaching workshops in different mediums throughout the UK. Subjects vary from wildlife paintings and portraits, to seascapes, people, children and pets. With mediums in pastel, pencil, oil, acrylic and watercolour, there's something to suit everyone.

Vic's workshops are suitable for complete beginners and advanced artists, and you will learn a great deal about the subject and medium you're working in.

Vic holds most of his private workshops near Newark, Nottinghamshire, which has easy access from all main motorways such as the A1 and M1. 

Vic's most popular workshops are still the big cat workshops at the Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent. A large percentage is donated to the sanctuary to help with their international conservation projects. These workshops are also a fantastic way to meet 'n' greet their big cats, and also get lots of great close-up photographs as references for your own paintings!

Vic keeps the numbers attending his workshops fairly small. This ensures everyone gets individual tuition and guidance throughout the day so they can learn a lot about the medium they're working in and achieve great results.

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£60 WORKSHOP VOUCHER
Suitable for Vic's Nottinghamshire workshops
* Voucher can be posted or emailed '
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£140 WORKSHOP VOUCHER
Suitable for Vic's Big Cat Sanctuary workshops
* Voucher can be posted or emailed '

2021 WORKSHOPS

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Start date: Thursday 14th October 2021

Subject: Sketching African Wildlife

Medium: Graphite Pencil

Course length: 6 x 1.5-hour classes (9-hours total)

Included in the workshop: All Tuition, Reference Photos (emailed), Feedback, Recording of the Workshop.

A workshop kit containing everything you need is available to purchase for this class.

Suitable for: Beginners & Advanced Artists.
Location: Live via Zoom - Instructions sent after booking
Time: 7pm-8.30pm GMT (Please be ready with your materials by 6.45pm)

Price: £90

** COURSE STARTED **

My Zoom sketching courses have proved to be very popular and, it seems, attendees are getting a lot out of them, both by actively using their sketchbooks more as well as producing some wonderful sketches along the way.

Sketching, for me, is a fundamental part of an artist’s life and I am particularly fond of sketching animals.

I am now offering a totally new six part sketching course, featuring some of Africa’s favourite and most iconic wildlife.

Each week the course will take one subject and study its essential and individual features before going on to create a sketch of that week’s subject, using my own techniques.

During the lesson I will also give you some background information on the subjects, both informative and hopefully entertainting.

You can also consolidate what you learn in each lesson by having a go at the homework, which I will gladly appraise for you each week, along with a free appraisal of the main subject.

Don’t worry if you find you can’t keep up with the live sessions. You will receive a recording of each lesson (usually within two days) to allow you to have a go at a more relaxed pace.

 

Lesson 1 – October 14th – Black Rhino

With its double horns and distinctive ‘hooked’ lip for browsing vegetation, the black rhino’s profile makes  strong image for our first sketch.

Using a ‘scribble sketch’ technique (probably my personal favourite sketching techniques), I’ll show you how to build up textures and tones to create a strong foundation.

The point of the loose scribble sketch technique is to create a lively, energetic sketch in which details become highlights, pulling all the loose work together.

The addition of a fairly simple tonal background will help to give more strength to this iconic shape.

Lesson 2 – October 21st – Giraffe

Animals come in all shapes and sizes, and possibly few as strange yet as familiar as the world’s tallest animal, the giraffe. With its long neck, crazy paving coat patterns and bony horn-like features on its head, the giraffe has intrigued many cultures.

Our subject this week is a northern giraffe – also known as the three-horned giraffe, which is native to North Africa.

For this sketch I’ll show you how to use simple basic shapes, lines and angles to create the basic foundation. Aside from the distinctive horns and coat patterns, giraffes have the most beautiful doe-eyes, which will be the focus of this head-on portrait study.

A reference photo is provided for you to complete your characterful sketch of one of Africa’s most curious and endearing mammals.

Lesson 3 – October 28th – Lion

Possibly one of the most widely used animal symbols in human culture, the male lion with his magnificent mane needs very little introduction. A favourite of many wildlife artists – myself included – means that the lion had to be included in this course.

Again, we will begin with the simple shapes/line technique to help with the proportions before looking at how to represent both short fur and the lion’s mane in a relatively quick sketch.

Any details will be restricted to facial features to provide a focal point.

I’m guessing that there will also be a lot to talk about with this week’s subject, and your homework challenge will be to create a suitable background or embellished border that goes with your ‘King of the Jungle’ sketch.

Lesson 4 – November 4th – Baboon

The Guinea baboon is one of six species of baboon belonging to the family of ‘old world monkeys’.

I imagine there aren’t many of us that find baboons particularly attractive and, therefore, they wouldn’t necessarily be high on a sketching wish list.

However, they do have some interesting ape-like features that make for good sketching practice.

On a visit to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park some time ago, we found ourselves lingering for quite a while at their guinea baboon enclosure, mainly because there were several infants playing around at that time.

Like any young animals, these infants were also curious at just about anything and everything.

I happened to photograph one of these infants, in profile, on a rock, looking down at its mother. In a simple, almost silhouetted photograph, there seemed to so much information and character that I thought it just had to be included to show that you don’t even need facial features to create a lovely, characterful sketch.

 

Lesson 5 – November 11th – Shoebill

With so many species and so much variety of African wildlife to choose from (enough to fill a small library of sketchbooks), I decided after lengthy deliberation to include a bird on this course.

Being Africa, this is no ordinary bird of course, but a huge one; a shoebill in fact.

The shoebill, a type of stork, is a rather unusual-looking bird. Very large with stary, almost menacing looking eyes and that enormous shoe-shaped bill that gives the bird its name.

Despite its looks, the shoebill is actually quite a docile bird and, for us, has some rather interesting shapes to set down as the foundation for our sketch.

This is most definitely a character sketch, concentrating more on the shape, stance and strange look of a primeval-looking bird that lives in the swamps of central Africa.

Try to take a little time after the class to research the shoebill’s environment to create suitable background to your shoebill sketch for homework.

Lesson 6 – November 18th – Zebra

When we’re sketching animals with markings, it’s easy to start getting bogged down trying to draw spots or stripes too accurately –  or identical to the reference photo we’re working from.

I want to show you that it is possible to sketch animals with markings without needlessly stressing over which stripe goes where, or how many spots should be there.

Once again, the scribble sketch technique, some lines and angles will give us a lively foundation to build on. An overall mid tone layer of graphite then allows us to add layers of graphite (black stripes) and remove graphite (white stripes); gradually refining some details. Feel free to be creative with your background for this week’s homework.

As I am anticipating and hoping that you might want to sketch even more African wildlife, there is a kit available to accompany this course which includes the materials that I personally use in my sketches.

MATERIALS REQUIRED

  • 2B graphite pencil

  • Kneadable eraser

  • Paper blenders

  • A4 150 gsm hardback sketchbook (40 sheets) – for all your British bird sketches and field notes

  • Reference photos (emailed before the class, or included in the kit)

​** Kits are posted out a couple of weeks before the course starts **

LIVE ZOOM COURSE - SKETCHING AFRICAN WILDLIFE

LIVE ZOOM AFRICAN LION ILLUSTRATION WORKSHOP

Date: Sunday 31st October 2021

Subject: African Lion

Medium: Ink & Pastel

Workshop length: 3 hours

Included in the workshop: All Tuition, Reference Photos (emailed), Feedback, Recording of the Workshop.

Suitable for: Beginners & Advanced Artists.
Location: Live via Zoom - Instructions sent after booking
Time: 1-4pm GMT (Please be ready with your materials by 12.45pm)

Price: £30

5 PLACES REMAINING

Join me in this live and fully interactive workshop, using ink pen and pastels to create a story book style illustration of ‘Tiny’, an African lion from the Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent.

You may not have thought of using ink and pastels together before, but this workshop will show you not only the practicalities of mixing the two mediums, but also what subtle illustrative effects can be achieved.

First I will show you how to create a snow-covered mountain and  the other background elements using pastels, paper towels and a kneadable eraser.

Then we will explore the various ink pen hatching/shading techniques needed to draw Tiny – his fur texture and magnificent mane, before adding layers of soft pastel tones over the drawing.

The final step will be to further enhance important details with the pen before lifting out the final highlights with the eraser.

This is the ideal workshop for those who are new to pastels and/or ink pens who would like to try the combination, as well as those used to painting animals who might like the opportunity to try something a little different.

You can either paint along with me or, if you prefer, just sit back and watch. Either way, the workshop recording will be available for you to view exclusively after the event.

A home workshop kit containing everything you need, including outlined watercolour paper, is available to purchase for £6.99 plus postage. Once you have secured a place, please allow a minimum of 1 week to receive your kit.

MATERIALS

  • A4 watercolour paper (min 150gm)

  • Soft pastels: Prussian blue, mid brown, light green and yellow ochre

  • Fine-tipped ink pen

  • kneadable eraser

  • Reference Photo (emailed or included in the kit)

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Book African Lion Illustration Workshop

PLEASE ONLY ORDER THE ZOOM KIT ONCE YOU HAVE BOOKED YOUR PLACE ON THE WORKSHOP

2022 WORKSHOPS

Start date: Thursday 6th January 2022

Subject: Sketching Indian Wildlife

Medium: Graphite Pencil

Course length: 7 x 1.5 hour classes (10.5 hours total)

Included in the workshop: All Tuition, Reference Photos (emailed), Feedback, Recording of the Workshop.

A workshop kit containing everything you need is available to purchase for this class.

Suitable for: Beginners & Advanced Artists.
Location: Live via Zoom - Instructions sent after booking
Time: 7pm-8.30pm GMT (Please be ready with your materials by 6.45pm)

Price: £100

1 PLACES REMAINING

Sketching, for me, is a fundamental part of an artist’s life and my Zoom sketching courses are proving to be very popular. From what I have seen and from the positive feedback, attendees are getting a lot out of them; actively using their sketchbooks more, going back to basic, uncomplicated art and producing some wonderful sketches along the way.

I am now offering a totally new seven part loose, creative sketching course, celebrating my fondness since childhood of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books. Each week the course will take one subject, on which Kipling’s characters were based, and create a sketch of that animal with a suggestion of an appropriate setting – jungle, rocks, trees, maybe even an Indian temple. Along the way, we’ll explore some interesting traits about both real life subjects and their fictional counterparts.

This course is all about the fundamentals of sketching; directional hatching, scribble shading, light and shade rather than hard outlines and too much detail.

You can also consolidate what you learn in each lesson by having a go at the homework, which I will gladly appraise for you each week.

Don’t worry if you find you can’t keep up with the live sessions. You will receive a recording of each lesson (usually within two days) to allow you to have a go at a more relaxed pace.

Lesson 1 – January 6th - ‘Bagheera’ – Black leopard

We begin the course one of my favourite characters, and many others’ too I would imagine.

Bagheera, a black leopard, is friend, protector and mentor to Mowgli. Born in captivity and escaping to the jungle, Bagheera has a special understanding of men and their ways.

Our real life model for Bagheera is Khan, a handsome cat, who is like any other leopard to be found in India, complete with rosettes, except for a recessive gene which causes melanism, resulting in dark rather than the usual yellow-brown fur.

As he would be often on the lookout for danger, our sketch will portray Bagheera/Khan high on a tree branch at the edge of the jungle.

Lesson 2 – September 13th January – ‘Hathi’ – Asian elephant

Hathi – one of oldest animals in the jungle – is the leader of the elephant troop. He is famed for his patience and obedience to the Law of the Jungle.

This week we will be looking at ‘scribble sketch’ techniques as the starting point to creating a portrait study of the wise old tusker with a dense foliage background, created with a haphazard hatching technique.

Lesson 3 – January 20th - Kaa – Rock python

Unlike some modern depictions, Kaa is actually an ally of Mowgli, Baloo and Bagheera; helping to rescue the man-cub from the clutches of the monkeys.

Described as ‘a huge and powerful snake – more than 100 years old and still in his prime’.

The sketch for this week will see Kaa coiled around a branch as he makes his way through the trees to the monkeys’ lair.

The focus this week will be creating the coils and markings of the snake with a loose sketching technique.

Lesson 4 – January 27th – ‘Bandar-log’ – Macaque monkey

The term ‘Bandar-log’ means ‘monkey people’. Depicted in the original story as a scatterbrained, anarchic bunch who ‘have no king’ and whose communication is essentially repetition of other animals’ speech.

Light and shade will be the main focus of this week’s sketch, faint, textural sketching of temple ruins being the backdrop for this week’s sketch of a rhesus macaque walking on top of an ancient wall.

 

Lesson 5 – February 3rd – ‘Baloo’ – sloth bear

In the original Jungle Book stories by Rudyard Kipling and illustrations by his father John Lockwood Kipling, Baloo is clearly depicted as an Indian sloth bear, quite different from his more modern depictions.

Baloo, described as ‘the sleepy brown bear’, is a strict teacher of the wolf cubs and Mowgli, showing him how to find nuts and honey among other things.

Baloo, the shaggy-coated sloth bear is visualised in this week’s sketch scratching his back against a tree; the one and only nod to Disney’s Baloo and his ‘bear necessities’.

Lesson 6 – February 10th - ‘Shere Khan’ – Tiger

Shere Khan is, of course, the main antagonist in the original story as well as the versions that followed. ‘Shere’ meaning ‘tiger’ and ‘Khan’ a title of distinction, indicates that he is the chief of all tigers.

Shere Khan’s mission is to hunt and kill Mowgli, and he fears nothing and no-one, except fire.

This week’s sketch, featuring another of the Big Cat Sanctuary’s tigers will see Shere Khan emerging from the dense undergrowth, his mind set on only one thing... to capture the man-cub!

Lesson 7 – February 17th - ‘Akela’ – Indian wolf

Akela, an Indian wolf is the leader of the Seeonee pack and oversees the council meetings on the council rock. Akela is another of Mowgli’s mentors.

Indian wolves are a sub-species of the grey wolf, and is smaller with a much less dense coat.

Our final sketch of the course, but hopefully not yours of the Jungle Book series, again focuses on light and shade, and finds Akela atop the council rock, addressing the pack under a full moon.

As I am anticipating and hoping that you might want to sketch even more real life Jungle Book characters and add to your collection, there is a kit available to accompany this course which includes:

MATERIALS REQUIRED

  • 2B graphite pencil

  • Kneadable eraser

  • Paper blenders

  • A4 150 gsm hardback sketchbook (40 sheets) – for all your British bird sketches and field notes

  • Reference photos (emailed before the class, or included in the kit)

​** Kits are posted out a couple of weeks before the course starts **

LIVE ZOOM COURSE - SKETCHING THE JUNGLE BOOK

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Buy The Jungle Book Course Kit
Book 'The Jungle Book' Sketching Course

PLEASE ONLY ORDER THE ZOOM KIT ONCE YOU HAVE BOOKED YOUR PLACE ON THE WORKSHOP

MORE WORKSHOPS COMING SOON...

Saturday 25th April 2020

Subject: Lion

Medium: Pastel on Velour
Length: 1-day

Included in the workshop: All materials, light refreshments, all tuition.

Suitable for: Beginners & Advanced Artists.
Location: Big Cat Sanctuary, Headcorn Road, Smarden, Ashford, Kent. TN27 8PJ
Times: 10am-4pm (arrive 9.30am)

Price: £120

 

2 PLACES REMAINING

Something new for me and hopefully for you, for the first of my Big Cat Sanctuary workshops in 2020; a full colour lion portrait in pastels on black velour.

The subject of this workshop is the handsome African lion, Kasanga, who you will get to meet and take your own reference photos, like this one, on the morning of the workshop.

The use of black velour gives much more depth of tone than other colours, such as the sand-coloured velour, as well as allowing you to create dramatic highlights that can give an otherwise ‘standard’ portrait much more atmosphere.

Whether you are an experienced artist or a beginner, Vic will guide you step by step through the process of painting with pastels on velour; how to create fur texture, realistic eyes, all important highlights and, of course, the special techniques required when using black velour.

As always, the big cat/art experience begins with a guided photography tour, starting at around 10am. This is a unique opportunity to gather your own reference photos of  wide variety of big and wild cats at very close quarters for future use in your artworks.

The tour finishes at lunchtime, during which you are free to visit the on-site shop for souvenirs and enjoy your lunch under the watchful gaze of mountain lions and the famous ‘Maya’, whose enclosure is next to where we will be working.

The workshop itself begins after lunch and ends at around 4pm, after which you are free to admire and take more photographs of the beautiful Maya in the late afternoon light before leaving for home.

All materials and light refreshments provided. Please bring your lunch, an easel (table or standing) if you need one, and sensible shoes for walking around the enclosures (no sandals or flip flops please). And don't forget your camera!

The day will begin at 10am promptly, so please try to arrive around 9:30am.

For every booking, we donate £50 to the Big Cat Sanctuary. These funds help the sanctuary with upkeep and conservation projects.

LIVE ZOOM COURSE - PORTRAIT IN OILS

BIG CAT SANCTUARY LION WORKSHOP

Stating date: Thursday 7th January 2021

Subject: Portrait

Medium: Oils on canvas
Course length: 4 x 1 1/2 hour classes

Included in the workshop: All Tuition, Reference Photo (emailed), Recording of the Workshop.

Other Info: The portrait course kit is available to order in advance for this workshop

Suitable for: Beginners & Advanced Artists.
Location: Live via Zoom - Instructions sent after booking
Time: 7pm-8.30pm (Please be ready with your materials by 6.45pm)

Price: £60

 

COURSE STARTED

‘Portrait in oils’ is a complete course aimed at artists who want to learn or improve their oil painting skills.

Each lesson will focus on a particular stage in the oil painting process, using the techniques that I have used myself for many years.

Lesson 1 – Underpainting part 1

(7th January 2021)

We begin the course with probably the most important stage in any painting, a burnt umber underpainting, using the dry brush technique.

Once completed, the underpainting acts as a tonal foundation for subsequent layers, giving both basic details and all important tones to create form.

 

Lesson 2 – Underpainting part 2

(14th January 2021)

Once the burnt umber underpainting is dry, which will be just a few days, we can begin to create more subtle mid tones and key highlights.

This will be achieved by using varied mixes of burnt umber and titanium white, thinned slightly with linseed oil for easier control and flow.

Note: There will be a two week gap before the next lesson to ensure that the whole underpainting is completely dry before lesson three

Lesson 3 – Glazing

(28th January 2021)

Once the underpainting is completely dry, we can begin to add colour in the form of transparent glazes, a traditional oil painting technique.

Using the additional colours of cadmium red, yellow ochre and French ultramarine, thinned with linseed oil, we will ‘tint’ the underpainting with various colour mixes to create skin tones, and background.

Lesson 4 – Final details

(4th February 2021)

Using the rigger brush and thinned mixes of burnt umber, French ultramarine and titanium white, we will refine the portrait with finer details in the hair, eyes, nose and mouth, adding a few finishing highlights here and there.

Please note, the course is £60 per person, however, if more than one person is using the same Zoom connection, then the fee covers all participants from the same household.

MATERIALS

  • 290gm oil painting paper (14x10 inches)

  • #6 oil/acrylic round brush

  • Watercolour rigger brush

  • Oil paints:  Burnt umber, titanium white, cadmium red, yellow ochre, French ultramarine

  • Linseed oil.

  • Reference photo (emailed upon booking)

A kit is available for this course, which contains all the materials you'll need to complete the oil painting. Please take into account delivery times when ordering the kit. This kit is posted in a large postal tube.

The great things about Vic's Zoom classes is that you also receive a recording after each class/workshop. So, if you cannot attend one of the lessons, or would just like to re-watch the tutorial, you have the recording to watch as often as you like.​