“Developing Sketchbooks as a Rich Resource” Workshop with Amanda Hislop

Wow! What a workshop! I think I might say that about every workshop but I really did come away buzzing with ideas and full of things to think about in regards to my own work practice!

Amanda’s workshop was a two day creative workshop working freely and generating ideas by establishing a working sketchbook, exploring abstract ideas and personal ideas relating to land and seascapes. We started off with Amanda talking about her own sketchbook practice and showing us some of  her amazing books – I have to say, my own sketchbooks are very much what I call a workbook, full of scribbles & notes, very rough sketches of ideas, some samples etc so to see how someone takes her sketchbooks from rough marks to forming ideas to building up the start of finished pieces, was fascinating! Like I have said above, I came away with quite a few things to think about in regards to my own work and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one!

We moved quickly onto our first task of the weekend making very free expressive marks with inks and a cola pen and using tissue paper or wax to change up the surface and create resists.



It’s hard to see what we were supposed to be doing, I mean that last photo (mine btw!) – looks like.. nothing! But actually.. wow! was the response when we moved onto the next step! Amanda showed us several different ways to make mini books. Some of us had done similar books before but the idea was new to others. The 2 photos of completed books below have added lines, colour and stitch and you can see the potential of those simple  marks above when you look at how someone has taken the idea and expanded it can’t you?


After lunch on day 1, we moved onto next task – getting rid of the scary white page and creating bases for working into at a later date. Amanda discussed lots of different ways we could do this but for the workshop, we focused on using inks, creating resists, using scraps of leftover paper from the first task and adding tissue paper etc to the page to create texture.


Day 2, we started off by carrying on with the last task from day 1 before while waiting for everyone arrive then we gathered round while Amanda discussed more about her daily practice and the mark a day or page a day challenge that quite a few artists do as part of their own daily practice. Helen Terry for example discussed her own daily practice on her blog a few years ago. It’s such a simple idea and a sketchbook only needs to be a tiny book that fits in the palm of your hand or a coat pocket, so it’s not big pages or massive amounts of work. In fact, after this discussion and further discussion, 2 friends and I have decided to do our own 40 day challenge to get us in the daily practice habit with a mark a day.

We then discussed the tasks for the rest  of the  day – building up bases for future sketchbook pages this time adding in fabric, threads and stitch along with pen or pencil marks. And finally, playing with colour using oil pastels, wax and Koh-i-nor dye paints on one of the bases we’d created to develop a sea or landscape or even, just abstract marking. The idea was to play with colour and become more comfortable with the tools we had.

A base created using strips of paper from task 1:IMAG2084a

Photo 1 showing a base created by mark making with different inks and photo 2 showing how the base was added to by adding thick and thin pen marks:IMAG2042aIMAG2076a

Photos below show some of the finished pieces:


Some amazing work and that is just a sample of all that was created! In all, we had a fantastic weekend and I would like to say a huge thank you, again, to Amanda for coming to teach and for being such a fantastic tutor! And also to the students – for being so fab too! I’m always amazed at how far some have travelled, this time the furthest north was The Lakes and furthest east was Worthing!

I’m busy sorting out more workshops and will pop a post up soon once I have some details finalised but if you’d like a hint, Amanda is coming back and Caroline Bartlett is also going to be coming to teach! I cannot wait! The next workshop coming up is in June  with Julia Triston, there are spaces available so please hop over to the workshop page for more information.

Becca x


4 thoughts on ““Developing Sketchbooks as a Rich Resource” Workshop with Amanda Hislop

    1. Won’t be for a while I’m afraid – October 2019 is the next date for Amanda to teach but do keep an eye on the website, lots of other workshops being booked x


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