Creative sketchbooks


Creative Sketchbooks

Discover how to develop an exciting and dynamic artist sketchbook that will become a key part of how you develop and transform your creative ideas.  

Sketchbooks are your creative engine

Learn a variety of processes to help you collect ideas, experiment with techniques, develop your vision, and travel a creative journey to exciting possibilities you may not have previously considered.

Transform your creativity

Creative sketchbooks is an essential course for all artists who want to discover the transformative power of sketchbooks.

Manchester is an art destination
Stay a little longer | City Art Break >


“Really enjoyable, Brian has a great approach to teaching, informative, encouraging and fun! Learnt more in a weekend than in a previous beginners course of 10 weeks.”
Wendy B

“It was a really enjoyable course which offered me a good understanding of the tools and techniques that I needed to learn to draw.  I would highly recommend Brian as a teacher.”
James E

“A very good introduction to a range of drawing and painting techniques, ideal for someone like me who has not picked up a pencil or brush for 40 years.”
Steve J



Sat + Sun


Includes most materials

Nov 30 + Dec 1

10 – 4pm

Adult Beginner, Improver, Intermediate

Contact me to add your name to the waiting list

Sat + Sun


Includes most materials

June 6 + 7

10 – 4pm

Adult Beginner, Improver, Intermediate

Places available

Mon x 4


Includes most materials

June 22, 29, July 6, 13

10 – 12.30pm

Adult Absolute-beginner, Beginner

Places available

Starting Art course series
by Ancoats Visual Arts

Course details

This course shows you the difference between an artist’s sketchbook, a journal, scrapbook or diary?

You will be shown how to develop a themed idea flowing from one page to the next developing ideas, combining techniques (drawing, paint techniques, mixed media, print, stitch, etc), deconstructing your sketchbook and re-making it into a personal response to a given theme.

By the end of the course your sketchbook will become a valuable resource of exciting ideas and techniques you can use towards your next painting, sculpture, design or craft project. 

Click the green Materials to bring tab
to see what you need to bring.

Session 1
You will explore the differences between keeping an artists sketchbook, journals and scrap books.  We will cover techniques that include different ways to include annotation, background textures, and clever ways of adding extra pages to make your sketchbook begin to reflect your personality.

Session 2
Observational drawing is key to exciting art, but embracing the need to allow your drawings to ‘fail’, learning how to keep working on drawings that are not working and push them into successful drawings is what an artist’s sketchbook is all about.  This session will give you the skills and techniques to accomplish this.

Session 3
This session will help you to consider how imagery and ideas thread and link through your sketchbook developing your ideas as they progress.  You will also learn about composing pages and investigating your subject matter thoroughly through drawing using a variety of materials.

Session 4
This session will show you the importance of being aware of other artist’s work and allowing their work to influence you.  We will work on incorporating another artists work into your sketchbook and you will be shown the power this has of transforming your own ideas in new directions.  The remainder of the session will be dedicated to developing a mini project and discovering how to pull your ideas together towards your own preferred outcome – painting, sculpture, craft object, or design.

You will leave having learnt how to use the sketchbook to develop ideas and your creativity and that it is so much more than simply ‘a place to draw’.

  • Essential items to bring

    1. Pencil: 4B, 6B, 8B or 9B
    2. Plastic erasor
    3. Kneadable ‘putty’ rubber
    4. Drawing paper:
      Sketchbook – size A4 or A5
      thick cartridge paper
      spiral bound if possible

    Optional items to bring
    Cloth for cleaning your hands
    Rag (old cloth) for smudging charcoal or paint when drawing
    Wear old clothes or bring an apron
    Pen and notebook for taking notes

  • Group Size
    Min 6 – Max 10

    Course includes tea, coffee & biscuits. Please provide your own lunch on full day courses,workshops and classes.

  • Brian has a background as a fine artist, community artist and adult tutor. 
    Brian is passionate about teaching and enthuses his students with excitement for creativity and making art.  His teaching style is supportive, relaxed and friendly, yet focused on ensuring everyone is able to progress to their potential.  He is Lead tutor at Creative Art Courses.

    More >

  • Diaries from all previous courses


  • Future course dates


What can I expect

Structured learning
Carefully structured teaching that will lead you step by step, giving you the confidence to try new things.  

Individual attention
Loads of individual 1:1 encouragement to explore, experiment and discover.

Inclusive + personalised learning
A teaching style that focuses on your individual needs and is fully accepting of your individuality.

Creativity and technical skills
Teaching that allows you to learn new technical skills and develop your creativity, and leave inspired to continue to develop your skills further at home.

Welcoming studio
The Gallery Studio is a warm, creative and friendly space offering a relaxed informal, yet focused, teaching style.

Choose this course if you want to find out how sketchbooks can help you create more exciting and creative work.

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“If you want to find inspiration for unlocking your ideas, this course is perfect.  Brian takes you through using different materials, techniques and research and development to ensure that you always know where to take an idea to next.  I loved everything!”
Kieran D

“Innovative, expressive, opportunities, friendly, relaxed, creative.  [The highlight was] feeling inspired and empowered.”
Sudesh N

Choosing the right course

Courses are grouped into 4 strands, each with a different focus. 
Create your own patchwork of courses depending on your interest and availability. 
There is no specific starting point.


Fundamental building blocks applicable to all art styles


Materials + techniques to fall in love with


Stand out – learn to develop a strong artistic voice.


Ongoing development away from formal courses


  1. Jane Farrelly
    9 September 2018 @ 12:47 pm

    Hi Brian, very interested in the Creative Sketchbooks course but not been able to do it when you have run it so far. Would you run this course externally at another venue as a visiting tutor?


    • artfulantics
      9 September 2018 @ 5:21 pm

      HI Jane
      Thank you for your interest in the Creative Sketchbooks course. I will email you directly to discuss your request. Kind regards, Brian


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