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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.

 

At this point in time, most of Vic's workshops and courses are run online via Zoom, This means people all over the world can attend from the safety and comfort of their own home. 

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. 

The numbers attending his workshops are kept 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.

2023 WORKSHOPS

Start date: Thursday 26th October 2023                                                                                   

Subject: Sketching Animals in Black & White Ink

Medium: Black Ink Pen & White Gel Pen

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

Included in the workshop: All tuition, reference photos (emailed), feedback and an edited recording of each class.

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

Suitable for: Beginners and advanced artists.

Location: Live via Zoom – instructions emailed after booking.

Time: 7pm-8:30pm GMT (Please be ready with your materials by 6.45pm)

Price: £95

COURSE STARTED

Sketching and drawing animals with an ink pen is nothing new; indeed, some of you, like me, may already have experience with an ink pen. I personally love the medium and, on white paper, you can create eye-catching images with dramatic tonal contrast.

 

However, when you introduce a grey-toned paper, graphite pencil and white gel pen, the tonal range is greatly increased, whilst still maintaining that strong graphic illustration look of the finished sketch or drawing.

 

You can also create dramatic highlights that are not achievable on white paper, to enhance the three dimensional form.

 

New for this ink and gel pen course is the introduction of the graphite pencil to create softer mid/dark grey tones.

Lesson 1 - Thursday 26th October - African Elephant

The knobbly texture of an elephant's skin – especially around the face and trunk – makes it the perfect subject for lots of grey tones and strong highlights.

In this first lesson, we will concentrate on the face, tusks and part of the trunk. After the initial loose pencil sketch, we will start to build the textural form with the white gel pen and black ink pen; sketching in those wrinkles, using variably weighted pen strokes.

Rather than using a hatching technique with the pen to create mid tones, we will achieve these with the graphite pencil; giving softer shadows on the knobbly surface. The grey paper will naturally act as the lightest grey tone.

Lesson 2 - Thursday 2nd November - Badger

Unlike the elephant in lesson 1, this week's subject does not have knobbly skin, but there is plenty of contrast between the dark and light fur.

The badger is one of our most iconic native mammals, and has been the subject of many art mediums and styles, even paring the image down to stark, graphic black and white.

Of course, in reality there are many more subtle tones in the badger, which we can achieve with the pencil over and between the darker and lighter fur textures created with the ink and gel pen.

With a little imagination, we might even backlight our badger with light from a full moon!

Lesson 3 - Thursday 9th November - Polar Bear

From grey, to black/white to 'white' in the third lesson.

 Of course, in reality, polar bears aren't white, but with a touch of strong lighting in a monochrome image, then the highlighted fur will certainly appear to be quite a strong white. In this week's sketch, the ink pen creates the details for the facial features, while the gel pen creates the outline and form against the grey background. The bear's dark muzzle, along with the shadows around the ear, eye and mouth will all be added with the 2B pencil, softened by blending with a bit of paper towel. This promises to be a strong portrait all round.

Lesson 4 - Thursday 16th November - Zebra

I suppose the plains zebra is a fairly obvious choice of subject for a course using black and white pens, and it is the high contrast in those stripes that works so well on  grey-toned paper.

After 'mapping out' the zebra's stripes in pencil, the inking part - black and white - will be relatively straightforward.

Of course, we don't want our sketch to look flat, so we will need to use the graphite pencil to shade a fair proportion of the white stripes, in order to create a more three-dimensional form.                         

This profile portrait will certainly be a favourite for anyone who loves African wildlife.

Lesson 5 - Thursday 23rd November - Raccoon

Like our badger, the raccoon is, for some at least, a characterful, iconic American mammal.

For me, raccoons have always been a favourite to draw; their bandit masks and dark, shiny eyes adding to their often mischievous character.

Again, we will let the grey paper and the graphite pencil take care of the overall tones, leaving the ink and gel pens to handle the textures, details and highlights. As raccoons are known for 'washing' their paws (as in our reference photo), it would be good to suggest some water in the foreground.

Lesson 6 - Thursday 30th November - Tiger

By now, we should be well-practised in sketching with the pencil and pens, so we can focus on the shapes, proportions and features of our final subject.

The graphite pencil will help us to visually separate the tiger's 'orange' and white fur, while the black and white pens take care of the markings, details and highlights  – we might even add a little dappled jungle foliage in the background to enhance this one.

I'm sure that you're going to enjoy this one, and will want to give it your all for the final sketch of the course. So don't worry if you don't finish this, or any of the others to the standard you want the first time around, as you can always have another go from the recording.

There is a kit available to accompany this course, which includes:

MATERIALS REQUIRED/KIT CONTENTS

  • A4 grey-toned paper (12 sheets)

  • Black ink pen (0.4mm point)

  • White gel pen (0,8mm point)

  • 2B graphite pencil

  • Kneadable eraser

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

SKETCHING LIGHT & DARK – LIVE 6 WEEK ZOOM COURSE

LEOPARD PORTRAIT IN PASTEL – 2 PART WORKSHOP

Date: Sunday 19th & Sunday 26th November 2023                                                                                  

Subject: Leopard

Medium: Pastel on Velour

Course length: 2 x 3 hour workshops (6 hours total)

Included in the workshop: All tuition, reference photos (emailed), feedback and an edited recording from the workshop.

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

Suitable for: Beginners and advanced artists.

Location: Live via Zoom – instructions emailed after booking.

Time: 1pm-4pm GMT (Please be ready with your materials by 12.45pm)

Price: £65

WORKSHOP ENDED

Textures and lighting are both important elements in this 2-part workshop, painting a stunning

leopard resting on a tree branch. However, as with any portrait, the eyes are probably the most

important element of all, and they will certainly be high on our list of pastel techniques in this

one.

The warm hues of the leopard's fur are enhanced by the cool greens in the tree branch and

background; the latter being created by my soft focus technique, creating depth in the painting

and bringing the subject closer to the viewer.

Because there are so many techniques employed to create different textures, details, highlights,

etc., the workshop will be run in two parts:

Part 1 - Sunday 19th November

The tonal sketch (underpainting) is expected to take up quite a chunk of the total painting with all those leopard spots, as well as the textures in the branch and tonal values. Naturally, we want to make sure that those initial details are resolved as accurately as possible in this important foundation stage.

We will then aim to finish 80/90% of the soft focus background, using layers of tone and colour.

This will allow us to paint the leopard in front of the background, whilst allowing is a little room to

adjust the lighting/colours later on.

Part 2  - Sunday 26th November

With the tonal sketch completed and most of the background painted, we can turn our attention to the main subject.

We begin by applying the warm and cool base colours to the leopard, the next important

foundation of the painting.

Then we will start adding more 'glazed' layers of pastel, refining colours, textures and details

steadily through these layers, with particular focus on those relaxed, but intense eyes.

Finally, we will sharpen up those final details which we decide are the most important, before

adding our final highlights to complete the painting.

A full materials kit is available to accompany the workshop, which includes:

MATERIALS REQUIRED/KIT CONTENTS

  • Dark Grey Velour (approx. 25x35cm)

  • Black and White Hard Pastels

  • Mid green, pink, light brown and yellow ochre Soft Pastels

  • Reference Photo

Don't worry if you don't finish this to the standard you want the first time around. You can always have another go from the recording.

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

Leopard ref.jpg

Start date: Tuesday 5th December 2023                                                                                   

Subject: Introduction to painting animals in watercolour

Medium: Watercolour

Course length: 3 x 1.5 hour classes (4.5 hours total)

Included in the course: All tuition, reference photos (emailed), feedback and an edited recording of each class.

A course kit containing everything you need is available to purchase.

Suitable for: Beginners and advanced artists.

Location: Live via Zoom – instructions emailed after booking.

Time: 7pm-8:30pm GMT (Please be ready with your materials by 6.45pm)

Price: £50

3 PLACES REMAINING

Watercolour is without doubt a popular medium; but it can also be difficult to master. The pigment is

prone to being reactivated once dry, making it trickier than acrylics or oils to glaze several layers.

For me, working with watercolours is made somewhat easier when painted over a sketch or detailed

drawing, rather than directly onto a blank sheet of paper; once a mark has been made, it's very difficult to remove or paint over.

I personally find watercolours more fun to use when painting animals – adding a few transparent layers over a sketch or drawing. This technique generally gives me more control over this otherwise hard to control medium.

In this short introductory course, we will be sketching and painting a varied selection of wildlife, using

just four colours and a single brush.

Lesson 1 - Tuesday 5th December 2023 - Giraffe

In the first lesson, we will be creating a characterful watercolour sketch of the weird and wonderful giraffe. After creating the initial sketch in the first half of the lesson we will paint a simple, loose background before going on to balance warm and cool hues against the white of the paper to show strong highlights, warm mid tones and soft, cool shadows.

We will then look at mixing colours to make a dark colour for adding details – eye, nose and mouth areas.

Finally we will mix an overall glazing colour to add more warmth and unify the various tones and hues in the sketch.

Lesson 2 - Tuesday 12th December 2023 - Macaw

This week's lesson is definitely colour-driven. The blue and yellow macaw begs to be painted, rather than sketched in monochrome.

Of course, we will begin with a sketch before going on to add layers of colour – keeping in mind that

watercolour paintings work best when light is allowed to reflect back through light layers from the white paper underneath, rather than the paint being applied too thickly.

Did I spot a touch of green in the macaw? Perhaps we can pop some in the background to, because we can mix any shade of green we want from our blue and yellow.

Lesson 3 - Tuesday 19th December 2023 - Polar Bear

Cool and warm – probably a good way to visualise painting a polar bear. The cool blues of the bear's icy habitat, against the yellow-brown warm hues of its fur.

Once again, after we have sketched the polar bear, we will look at some subtle colour mixing, along with suggesting fur texture – leaving out highlights in particular.

Glazing-wise, there will be darker blue-greys around the muzzle as well as even darker details in the eye, nose and mouth – all balanced against the warm yellow-brown of the fur.

Don't worry if you don't finish this or any of the others to the standard you want the first time around, as you can always have another go from the recording, which you receive the next day.

There is a kit available to accompany this course, which includes:

MATERIALS REQUIRED/KIT CONTENTS

  • 2B graphite pencil

  • Watercolour paint  - 4 colours (burnt umber, natural grey, French ultramarine, cadmium yellow)

  • 6 x A4 sheets of watercolour paper

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

  • #6 round brush

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

WILDLIFE IN WATERCOLOUR - 3 PART TUESDAY TASTER COURSE

Giraffe.jpg
Book Wildlife in Watercolour Course
Order Wildlife in Watercolour Kit

Start date: Thursday 11th January 2024                                                                                

Subject: Sketching Flora & Fauna

Medium: Ink & Coloured Pencils

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

Included in the workshop: All tuition, reference photos (emailed), feedback and an edited recording of each class.

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

Suitable for: Beginners and advanced artists.

Location: Live via Zoom – instructions emailed after booking.

Time: 7pm-8:30pm GMT (Please be ready with your materials by 6.45pm)

Price: £99

11 PLACES REMAINING

I love walking in nature and, because I'm out walking every morning, I try to observe the changes

occurring in nature throughout the year; with always something interesting to look at from the first day of spring to the last day of winter.

I also love nature journals; whether in the form of a diary, filled with daily musings, observations and

illustrations, or simply a sketch on a blank page with accompanying notes on the subject.

I will often photograph something that I find to be interesting, and sometimes sketch and make notes of these things in my 'journal' sketchbook. These types of illustrations invariably come in various mediums and styles, from basic sketches to more complete, realistic renditions.

This course will be aimed at somewhere in between – sketching, made more substantial with coloured

pencils and ink (outlining and hatching), along with some useful and interesting facts along the way.

Hopefully this will help to set you on your way to observing and recording the flora and fauna in your

area – or perhaps even in your own garden.

Lesson 1 - Thursday 11th January - Squirrel & Acorns

As summer fades into shorter days, we find our wildlife busier than ever, as they forage to put on valuable body fat, or to build up stores for the cold months ahead.

Squirrels are probably the experts in foraging and storing in our woodlands, parks and gardens. Acorns are a particular and fairly widespread favourite, and squirrels will bury them all around their territory; having an extraordinary ability to later remember where around 50% or more are hidden. Of course, the ones that are left buried will then have a chance to germinate into oak tree saplings, therefore playing a vital part in our oak tree regeneration.

Our first sketch will see a grey squirrel, enjoying an acorn on the branch of an oak tree. We will also leave space in a corner to illustrate an acorn and oak leaf in more close-up detail.

Lesson 2 - Thursday 18th January - Fox & Blackberries

Foxes, like many canids, are not 100% carnivorous. As our husky likes to forage for blackberries and other wild fruits, then so does the red fox. In fact, blackberries, which can keep going well into a mild autumn, are a particular foxy favourite. If you know of an area where there are foxes, you might well come across some very dark scat, as a result of blackberry feasting!

This week we will be sketching a UK wildlife favourite – the red fox – checking out some juicy

blackberries, just as the bramble leaves are beginning to take on their autumn colours.

Lesson 3 - Thursday 25th January - Hedgehog in Autumn Leaves

One of the reasons we don't like to throw away the autumn leaves from our garden is that they are very useful for wildlife. If you're lucky, you might find a hedgehog making a nest out of leaves, twigs, etc, in a corner of your garden as they prepare to hibernate over winter.

Hedgehogs don't go into full hibernation, rather they enter a deep state of torpor, saving them valuable energy during the cold months when food (slugs and insects) are scarce. They might indeed move around a little, especially if the weather is mild, but not too much.

Hedgehogs can be tricky to draw, mainly because of all those spines, but I will show you how to create

believable spines in this week's sketch. Of course, there will be some colourful autumn leaves involved

too, and maybe the odd mushroom peeping out!

Lesson 4 - Thursday 1st February - Goldfinch & Teasels

Teasels are amazing plants. Bees love them in the summer, when they're flowering, and birds love them in the autumn and winter when they are seeding. Aside from that, teasels add a touch of architectural structure to an area.

Goldfinches are a fairly common sight feasting on teasel seeds in autumn/winter, so this week's sketch

will capture a colourful goldfinch on a teasel head. In addition we'll do a 'corner sketch', showing what the teasel looks like in summer bloom

Lesson 5 - Thursday 8th February - Badger & Crab Apples

The crab apple tree is a familiar sight in our woodlands and hedgerows, with its small yellow-green fruit that has been used for making wine and jelly for centuries. The fallen fruit – which starts to fall from early autumn – is also a valuable source of food for birds, small mammals and larger mammals, like foxes and badgers, who will also pick the fruit from reachable branches.

This week's sketch will be a close up portrait study of a badger about to pick a crab apple from a branch.

I thought it might also be fun to add in a corner sketch of a jar of crab apple jelly for your homework this week.

Lesson 6 - Thursday 15th February - Robin & Hawthorn Berries

Hawthorn berries or 'haws' are in plentiful supply from early autumn, and they will certainly adorn the trees for a long time – providing birds with a valuable food source through to spring.

Our final sketch will feature a robin on a winter branch of hawthorns, adding some warm reds to an

otherwise sparsely coloured scene.

As this is the final, 'seasonal' sketch of the course, we will add a corner sketch of another winter food

favourite, holly berries...and their distinctive leaves of course.

Should you want to use these sketches as part of an ongoing nature journal, I will pass on some tips for adding 'field notes' to your sketches throughout the course.

If you missed out on part 1 or the 'Flora & Fauna live sessions (Spring & Summer), don't worry, as you can still purchase the full set of recorded lessons and materials.

A full materials kit is available to purchase for this course.

There is a kit available to accompany this course, which includes:

MATERIALS REQUIRED/KIT CONTENTS

  • A4 sketch pad

  • 2B graphite pencil

  • kneadable eraser

  • 0.4mm nib sketch pen

  • Set of 12 coloured pencils

  • Reference photos (12)

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

SKETCHGING FLORA & FAUNA - PART 2 - 'AUTUMN & WINTER' 6 WEEK COURSE

hedgehog.jpg
Book Flora & Fauna  'Autumn & Winter' Course
Order Wildlife in Watercolour Kit

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.​

MORE WORKSHOPS AND COURSES COMING SOON...

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