Young Artists Drawing from Home Exercise: An Imaginary Feast

Dec. 1, 2022

This festive period, can you dream up an imaginary feast to draw from? Naomi Workman, one of our Young Artists tutors is here to tell you how...

drawing exercise

Where: Indoors, at a table 

With: Solo or with a friend, family member, pet...

What: You will need a dinner table still life set up which you can create using household crockery, cups and cutlery. You could add food - think beautiful vegetables, bright oranges, interesting textures.  

  • Paper scissors 
  • Drawing materials:
  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Coloured pencils
  • Biro (whatever you have to hand!) 
  • Coloured or plain paper
  • Collage materials: Tissue, recycled scraps from magazines, newspapers, cardboard 
  • Glue stick 

How: This exercise will take one to two hours. You will be folding, sticking, cutting, looking, drawing, and imagining. 

Setting up the still life: We will be creating a dining scene today, inspired by seasonal banquets and fantastical feasts. This can be linked to anywhere in the world, you can use your imagination to invent who, what, where, why, and when!

How does your family eat together this season? You could add decorations to the scene such as ivy, holly, or objects like candle holders. Use whatever you have to hand; crackers, bright napkins, and crowns make great additions! In the image above I've hand-made a cracker, crowns and napkins, and drawn different patterns on them in pen. A colourful patterned piece of clothing can act as a table cloth.


Part 1: Start by folding a piece of paper into three equal sections. Fold away the top and bottom segment so they are out of sight. We begin our drawing on the middle section. This is now our table. Using your scissors as a drawing tool, cut out silhouettes of the dinner setting in front of you and glue them down onto the table into a collage, you can draw the shapes before you cut them and have some of them coming off the page. Experiment with different sizes and overlapping silhouettes, look at your scene from different viewpoints moving up and down observing the scene. Have fun investigating what you see. Aim to capture the essence of your scene, the overall shapes, the sizes of the objects. Sometimes an offcut from the floor can be the perfect shape!

drawing exercise

Part 2: And voila! You now have your central table scene. Now we move on to the space above/behind the table. Here is where your real or imaginary guests will gather. Who would you like to invite to your dream feast? Someone imaginary, famous, family members, animals, spirits, fictional characters - these are your guests - you decide! Use your imagination to draw the figures and space around them. You can use pencil, pen and colour! Remember the bottom edge leads into the table.

drawing exercise

drawing exercise

Part 3: Unfold and take a quick peek, memorise the composition and now fold away, leaving your final empty panel! This area is under the table - perhaps you add furniture, legs, feet, pets, personal objects, shoes, perhaps there’s a narrative emerging! Could the dog have stolen some food?

drawing exercise

Part 4: You are doing great! We are coming to the end now - unfold your paper to reveal the whole scene. Now go ahead and work on the composition using drawing and collage. Go back to observing your still life, draw any patterns and details you see, use mark-making to add texture. Are there shadows? What is the floor made of? Is it inside or outside? Are there walls or a landscape? What’s happening with the weather - you could add a window or a door, perhaps it's snowing or raining outside! 

drawing exercise

If you take part in this exercise over the holidays, please do photograph your wonderful creations and tag @royaldrawingschool on Instagram. We can’t wait to see your fantastical feasts! 

Tutor Naomi Workman is teaching on our one-day workshop Drawing Fantastical Feasts.