Keeping an Illustrated Journal

Ref: C3528176

Learn how to keep a sketchbook journal - a personal response to your surroundings by taking advantage of the collections of the City Museum and the opportunity to visit the Red Lodge and the Georgian House nearby. We will explore different approaches to drawing and journalling, and techniques to make your own journal to work in.

Additional information about this course

Students will be invited to contribute on a voluntary basis towards the cost of materials. No class on 31/05.

Course aim

Explore keeping a sketchbook journal in the stimulating environment of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Learn drawing and journalling techniques and work with the Museum's collections.

Who is the course for?

Anyone with an interest in keeping a sketchbook journal - no specific experience required.

What topics will this course cover

Each session will start with a different approach or technique, followed by time to explore it for yourself. In the first session you will make a simple journal and get started with drawing and journalling exercises. The aim is to share ideas and techniques as part of a supportive group, with plenty of discussion and feedback. Topics will include: What is an illustrated journal? How do I get started? What materials can I use? How do I make my own books? Looking at examples of personal and published illustrated journals. Looking at objects from the Museum collection; journalling in response to items in the collection and the Museum building. Further steps - sharing your work; online and offline communities and groups. Health and well being is approached through participating in a creative group and developing individual creativity. Cultural Education is addressed through relating individual journal practice to the tradition of artists keeping illustrated journals, and drawing on the resources of the Museum.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1.Choose appropriate drawing and writing techniques according to their interests and subject matter 2. Know what materials are suitable for use in sketchbooks and have explored a range of materials from those available to them 3. Make simple sketchbooks for their own use

How will I know I'm making progress?

Through ongoing group conversations and individual discussion with the tutor.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

Please bring any favourite (portable) drawing or sketching materials suitable for use in a sketchbook (eg a small watercolour kit, coloured pencils, water soluble pencils etc. No oil paints please!). A pencil or pen is enough to get started. Some materials will be available to use so don't worry if you don't have much to bring. In the first session we will discuss kit and what you might want to get.

Reading and information sources

A few artists/ books to start with if you want to (but reading isn't required): Danny Gregory: The Creative License, or see his short film The Art of Breakfast here: Cathy Johnson: Artist's Journal Workshop and the facebook group of the same name Hannah Hinchman: A Life in Hand:Creating the Illuminated Journal and more of her work here:

What could the course lead to?

Keeping an ongoing sketchbook journal; sharing your work via a blog or one of the many online illustrated journal/ sketching communities; joining a sketching group; other art classes.

Download full course outline

Keeping an Illustrated Journal Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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