Drawing Paradise Exercise

May 12, 2020

Clare Newbolt, who is teaching Drawing Landscapes, Gardens and Natural Forms, asks us to embed our changing sensibilities in the natural forms we are drawing.

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Moleskine make 2 sizes of what they call a Japanese Notebook which I recommend. If you would prefer to make your own then prepare a long strip of paper (possibly two lengths taped together) w 9am c h 14cm. There are 60 folds in the Moleskine. I will leave the amount up to you. The paper doesn't have to be white.

Tyga Helme

For tonal drawing or line, ink (black or sepia) would be ideal. If you have walnut ink, even better. Tones of one colour whether watercolour or coloured pencil could also be used. Otherwise, all watercolours, gouache and inks are suitable.

Depending on your individual circumstances, this exercise invites you to move around the space, your space, to observe the plants or trees inside or outside. Later in the day you may remember and imagine the forms. 


The forms will have an effect on your sensibilities. I would like you to hold onto those feelings whilst you draw the plants and trees and the space they inhabit. Your feelings will alter a little as the atmospheric light changes during the day. 


Remember that everything you care about is permanent for you but in the world everything is in a state of flux. It is little wonder that we want to grasp the essence of what we see. In our attempts to express this essence properly, it has to proceed from within.


Make a new drawing in each square, like two lines of a poem, a couplet. The advantage of making drawings in sequence is flow - the flow helps you find a sense of unity. Your design will now show a rhythm, and reveal a pattern; everything in Nature shows these. 

City Gardens and Greenhouses 1

Hsieh Ho, a Chinese scholar of the 5th century, said that of all the qualities that a good drawing must have, the most important is depth of feeling with rhythm of all of all living things.

Kate Kirk print

Drawing Gardens, Landscapes and Natural Forms (4 weeks) starts on Tuesday 12 May. For more information and to book click here

Artworks from top: 

Aanal Chandaria, Wintering in the Palm House, Royal Botanic Garndens, Kew, pen and walnut ink in accordian book, 9 x 14cm, 2016-17 / Photos: Clare Newbolt

Drawings by alumni of The Drawing Year (in order) - Tyga Helme, Cheri Smith and Kate Kirk