Learn To Sketch From Life – Through Zoom!

One of the Lucky Dip sketches coming up!

Last March, I was teaching art to children, and the class was into its third or fourth session. One day, as I was wrapping up class, one of the mums approached me. “My friend works in the health service in Northern Italy,” she said. “There aren’t enough ventilators for everyone. They are deciding who lives and who doesn’t. If you’re under 65 you are prioritised.” I was shocked to my core. This wasn’t what happened in the West. “Just to give you a bit of advance warning,” she continued, “they’re going to close the schools on Friday.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – she was talking about three days’ time – but that is what happened (whatever other mistakes our government made, being slow to act wasn’t one of them).

Okay, we all know what happened next. The kids were locked up for the next two months, as was most of the world. We all felt very sorry for the children who couldn’t see anyone outside their family, and someone – no idea who – suggested I continue the classes on Zoom. Their wish was my command! Soon I had a bunch of children looking at me from my laptop screen in my studio. The first time I had them, I noticed the chat screen had lit up. A million “hi” and “hellos” drifted down the screen. I wondered why – I had already said hi to everyone. Then I realised…they were saying hello to each other. They had been starved of the company of other children. Over the next few weeks, I met their dogs – small ones looking a bit bemused, big ones hauled up onto laps, looking bemused and slightly nervous – I saw their baking efforts, their sketches from home; they continued to converse with each other while they drew the exercises I gave them, discussing their favourite avengers and so on, and I began to realise that to these children being on Zoom was easy and natural. It didn’t suit all the children, and one of my classes was decimated; even in my more popular classes I saw a big drop-off. But on the whole, I was proud to be able to keep the kids drawing, and many parents told me they were surprised and delighted at what the classes seem to do for them (I think the social side was every bit as important as the art side, if not more so).

This gave me an idea. Why not do the same for my followers online? I had been asked for years to put on online classes, but it was never the right time: I didn’t have a studio, I didn’t have the lights, I didn’t have the time. Now I have all of those things, and I had experienced how much fun they could be. I am very much a people person – it’s all about interaction for me – and I suspected that the live and interactive nature of zoom would mean getting to know my students in a real way. And that is what has happened.

I have had some beautiful testimonials for which I thank each student from the bottom of my heart, but I am choosing this one because it tells you comprehensively what happens in my class…

“Attending Roisin’s Wednesday zoom sessions have been the highlight of my week and I have attended four so far. I cannot recommend her classes enough! Roisin is such a great teacher sharing her knowledge with great ease and simplicity which makes it an enjoyable experience for a beginner like myself. The classes have been a lot of fun and it’s great to always see the same familiar faces from previous sessions tuning in from around the world. Beforehand Roisin emails us with some background information on the topic we’ll be learning about which gives me a better understanding going into the lesson. During the class we go through the different exercises sketching and painting scenes to help us apply what we’re learning. I laugh to myself when Roisin shows us the scene we’re going to create thinking there is no way I’m going to do that. But I do, and we all do it together! It’s amazing! I think one of the best things i’m seeing is how my daily sketches have improved with everything I’ve learned from Roisin who continuously tells us to be confident and keep going. Thanks very much Roisin these sessions have been amazing!”

There follows a few scenes that my students will paint and learn about with me, always delivered with a stream of instruction on how to apply it to life. We will cover the following topics:

  • Foliage – Near, Mid-distance and Far Away
  • Limited Palette Sketching (in a café) and Wood Grain
  • Accurate Drawing
  • Perspective Made Eas(ier)
  • Light and Shadow
  • Reflections – Low Water

Week 1: Foliage – Near, Mid-distance and Far Away

Week 2: Limited Palette Sketching (in a café) and Wood Grain

Week 3: Accurate Drawing

Week 4: Perspective – The Eas(ier) Way

Week 5: Light and Shadow

Week 6: Reflections – Low Water

Monday Classes

These topics were essential for the students to allow them to tackle common themes when they are out and about, and so they will be repeated. They will take place on Mondays from 4.00pm-6.00pm IST (which is GMT+1) – check your time zone and ask me if you’re not sure – for beginners: these classes will be aimed at beginners and the only difference between them and the “intermediate” classes is that I will go extremely slowly and explain everything as if you have never picked up a brush before. So if you don’t mind going slowly, or going over things you might have already heard, then it’s for you regardless of your level of experience. (Note I say “experience” and not “expertise”.)

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Saturday Class

Class for Allcomers

Saturday early class

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Saturday Intermediate Class

*Saturday class is sold out. Keep an eye out for the new term, at the start of August. Wednesday 4.00pm-6.00pm GMT still available*

The “intermediate” classes will take on new topics! My current students are champing at the bit to go onwards and upwards, and I will present topics such as drawing expressive people (I have just written a book on the topic, to be out in December), reflections in different circumstances, water in movement,skies and clouds and of course all the basics like adding drama and harmony to composition and using watercolours effectively and beautifully. There will be two classes each week, on Saturdays and Wednesdays, from 4.00-6.00pm and 5.00-7.00pm respectively (GMT+1).

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Wednesday Class

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If you buy a block of six classes you only pay for five, a saving of 20%. You are also guaranteed a place, and the classes are getting more popular each week, so it might be a good idea if you are really looking to improve your sketching game.

Saturday Morning Classes – Lucky Dip!

If you are a total sketching addict and can’t get enough art, I have something for you: every Saturday I offer a class for you to join, with something gorgeous from my collection to sketch. The topic is announced on Friday evening and the class takes place 11.00am-1.00pm IST (GMT+1) Here is one example, where I showed my students how to sketch wine, cheese, charcuterie and glass:

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  1. Jennifer

    June 24, 2020 at 11:28 am

    I truly wish I could join in on a class, and I know the live aspect is very important. Unfortunately for me over in Asia, class would be in the middle of the night. If you put together a lecture style format,broken up into lessons where maybe students could post their sketches, I would jump at the chance. I love your outlook on art and drawing from life.

    • Róisín Curé

      June 24, 2020 at 11:34 am

      Hi Jennifer! You’re in luck, I have spaces in a class at a time that would suit you, if you’re free. My Saturday morning classes are from 10.00am to 12.00pm GMT. If you tell me your time zone I can work it out, or you can put your town into the converter on my website (in this article) and it’ll tell you.

  2. Orla de Cogan

    June 17, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Lovely to read this. I’ve really enjoyed the classes and have learned so much in the first set of Saturday sessions, a wonderful teacher and a wonderful group! I’ve always enjoyed watercolours but am convinced that I can’t draw yet at the end of every class I have something passable that I have completed myself. Róisín, you have convinced me that I need to push my boundaries more and I will be forever grateful for that.

    • Róisín Curé

      June 17, 2020 at 6:29 pm

      That’s so great to hear Orla. It can be so frustrating to feel something is just out of your reach. So to realise it’s actually there for you can be quite the revelation! Delighted I’ve been of help to you. See you soon I hope.

  3. Annah Knight

    June 15, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    So wonderful to read all this, I thoroughly enjoyed the classes, both the content and the sense of indulgence in time for myself. E en though I have haven’t sketched much since, I feel so much more confident a out heading out. The key for me is in drawing the scene with accuracy from the beginning. I’m so looking forward to the cheese and wine tomorrow! Drawing it will be even nicer than indulging in it! Thanks again Róisín

    • Róisín Curé

      June 15, 2020 at 8:09 pm

      Hi Annah! So glad you’re finding it all so helpful. I am looking forward to the cheese and wine class too but so far I only have you! If I don’t get a few more I will have to postpone it but don’t worry, you’ll get it soon 🙂

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