During 2015, I attended a 10 week art class, tutored by Katie Comley Jones. It was a nice sized group with 9 other people, and a class which saw us drawing and painting various things, in various styles. Katie was incredibly nice, and had a very structured approach to learning that I loved. I might even say; Katie’s the best master I’ve learnt from so far.

Katie set us a task of drawing a still life, we started by doing timed 1 minute, 2 minute and 5 minute quick sketches before taking on a 90 minute drawing/painting. While we were doing our big drawing, she came around and asked us each individually what we wanted out of the class, as well as handing us a little sketchbook to sketch in during the week. When she asked me, I said I’d like to start introducing colour into my work, to experiment with paint and to play with different textures. To which she informed us all that next week would be nothing but mark making with different mediums!

For the composition, we each selected some items that Katie brought in, arranged them in an interesting composition, than created a series of still life drawings. I selected two little objects, a leaf and a feather. She had brought in various things including a dead moth. I spent a few minutes just studying the moth up close, it was really interesting seeing a moth in that much detail but I decided I didn’t want to draw it lol

Katie Complete Jones Art Class - Still Life by Artist Sophie Lawson

Once everyone had selected and arranged their objects, we went about sketching and drawing our still life. I created a graphite drawing and a soft pastel drawing. Week one also saw us spend a good chunk of time talking about our goals for the course. Different to week two, where there was no time for talking Dr Jones, just drawing :)

Mark making and various drawing exercises were the order of the day this week. For the mark making we divided our page into twelve squares, each square seeing us place different graphite or charcoal marks down. This showed us how you can create lights and darks, just by placing the marks closer or further apart.

Katie Complete Jones Art Class - Mark Making by Artist Sophie Lawson

The first nine squares we copied Katie’s marks, the final three squares we could make up our own marks. I decided to make some Sophie inspired S marks for one of mine :) Katie then asked us to hold our non drawing hand in front of us and use it as the subject for a series of short drawing exercises. I’ve done this multiple times before as it’s one of the exercises in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards. These exercises each used various techniques such as blind contour drawing, drawing with your opposite hand and continuous line drawing where you couldn’t take your hand off the paper.

Katie Complete Jones Art Class - Drawing Hands by Artist Sophie Lawson

I really enjoyed doing these exercises. Especially the above hand drawings, it’s an exercise I’d tried before but forgotten about in all honesty, so it was nice to try that again. It was also good to just draw something without worrying about how the drawing would turn out. The complete list of exercises we did were

1. Mark making sketch
2. Continuous line sketch
3. Opposite hand sketch
4. Blind sketch
5. Charcoal shading
6. Negative space sketch
7. Opposite hand continuous sketch
8. Opposite hand with charcoal

– Katie Comley Jones

All these little exercises were timed. Ranging from one to five minutes, before we finished with a couple value sales and a drawing that we could spend a bit more time on, using whatever medium we liked. I selected pink and blue oil pastels, as I’ve not used them much before. It was fun experimenting with oil pastels, especially seeing the colours merging into lilac for the shadow areas – pink, blue and lilac – the three main colours of :)

Katie Complete Jones Art Class - Drawing Hands by Artist Sophie Lawson

It was a really fun class, very structured and the sort of exercises I love doing. Exercises that are not about creating beautiful works of art but improving how you see. Next week promises to be good too, we have to take in three items to draw. I’m trying to work out what to take. I’m thinking my little wooden cat statue, something feminine and something art related. Not sure, but I can’t wait.

On a random side note. I’m writing this blog post up the park, sat on a bench in the sun. An old couple sat next to me, apparently it’s their bench that they sit on every day! Aww. They sat for over half and hour, sometimes talking, sometimes sitting in silence just enjoying the peace. They left a few minutes ago and then two little birds showed up in the tree chirping away. The timing of the birds showing up, as if replacing the old couple was beautiful. Maybe I’ll take something bird related to art class next week instead :)

You can find Katie Comley Jones at


Thomas Merton