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Online | Sketching People in Watercolour with Tanya Baily

Course Overview

In this fun and fast-moving workshop, you will learn tips for quickly capturing the human figure and the portrait in watercolour.

Helped by demonstrations, you will practice techniques for capturing the character of your subject with quick strokes in 5 minutes and then, with more detail and colour in 20 minutes. By working fast, you will learn to quickly gauge proportions, simplify colour, and understand what details are necessary and what can be discarded.

You will learn to organise your palette efficiently and to limit your materials to the minimum for a quicker start and a fresher looking outcome. We will also discuss the large range of sketching materials available, and understand which might be useful and relevant for your works.

What to expect

  • To start, we’ll dive straight into quick sketch exercises, guided by live demos from Tanya. Tanya will show the best approaches to take for different time frames and subjects, and students will practice different styles.
  • We will then re-group in the middle of the workshop for questions, and to share individual and group challenges.
  • During the latter part of the workshop, students will concentrate on developing their own preferred sketch styles and can work from images of their own, with one-on-one help from Tanya.

What you will learn

By the end of the workshops, students will:

  • Have the confidence to tackle the portrait and people in their sketchbooks, and will gain invaluable tips on how to get to the essence of a subject in the minimum of time.
  • Be confident to simplify what they see as they paint, and will gain a greater understanding of how to organise their materials for sketching.
  • Be confident in colour mixing.

Is this course right for me?

This workshop is good for beginners to watercolour as well as those with more experience.

Recommended Material List

  • Paint Colours: tubes or dry palettes

Students are welcome to bring their preferred colours but basic essential colours include: pthalo blue (Windsor blue green shade), ultramarine blue, lemon yellow, Quinacrodone gold, permanent rose.

Additional colours to consider include:pthalo turquoise, permanent magenta, pthalo green (Windsor green blue shade).

Note: Your tutor recommends Windsor and Newton brand, Schminke, Daniel Smith (or equivalent quality). Student quality watercolour paints are cheaper, but are made with inks and synthetic dyes, not pigments. They don’t last as long or work as well and the colour quality is not good.

  • Paint Brushes: Synthetic quality cheaper watercolour brushes are fine, approx sizes 4, 8, and 12. A useful extra would be an additional smaller brush size 1 or 2, or a “rigger” size 1
  • Palette: 1x small 6-8 pan palette – deeper pan watercolour palettes are preferred
  • Paper: You will need a maximum total of 25 sheets watercolour paper size approx A5. Ideally, a mix of:

Cheaper watercolour sketch paper (min weight 200gsm). Common brands are Reeves and Canson.
300gsm, 100% Cotton, cold pressed, medium grain watercolour paper. Common brands are Arches and Fabriano.

  • HB Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Sharpener
  • Roll of Kitchen paper
  • 2x water containers

This class will run online

Due to Sydney’s COVID-19 restrictions, our classes have been designed to run online. Click here to see our detailed guide to setting up, and having a smooth online class.

Fees for adult classes exclude art materials. Click here to see a list of local art supply retailers.

Read FAQs Terms + Conditions


Use Your NSW Discover Voucher

This class is eligible for the NSW Discover Voucher so you can save $25 on your total cost. To book with your Discover Voucher, simply use our online form in the link below or book over the phone. Please ensure you have your voucher in the form of a PDF ready when you book (this would have been emailed to you by Service NSW).

Book with your NSW Discover Voucher

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.