Last year, the Art Fund published a report on the importance of participating in creative activities. They emphasised that 'people need places where they can relax, learn, contemplate and wander.' 

Social prescribing has been on the rise recently, as a method of tackling and improving people’s feelings of loneliness, mental health or long-term health conditions. Data shows that making art positively impacts emotional wellbeing, the nervous system, and can raise serotonin levels.

We try to reach as many people as we can, including those who might find it difficult to join our creative activities at The Lightbox. That’s why we asked one of our wonderful volunteers, Marianne Frost, to share some tips on how to enjoy drawing and painting at home.

Marianne is an artist who regularly runs our free Drawing for Adults sessions, twice a month.

While I’m running the Drawing for Adults sessions, I can help participants with getting proportions, angles and perspectives right, but frankly, if people draw in their own style these details can be different and often amount to more creative approaches. After all, no one has to copy what’s in front of them. How can one know what was originally in front of the artist that produced the work? The models Picasso painted in his Cubism style certainly wouldn't have looked like that in reality.

I always encourage those who attend the workshops to take any approach they feel comfortable with and draw their chosen subject in a style that is uniquely theirs. As L.S. Lowry said to his mother: 'I can't help myself, I have to paint like this'.

For this blog, I've made three drawings of the same artwork that was on display in The Lightbox. It's a landscape and each drawing is a different close up, one using line, the second in various tones of grey and the third in colour.

Image: Moira Huntly, Chapel nr Dinorwic, N Wales, Watercolour and Gouache, 55 x 73 cm

To keep it simple I decided to hone in on three groups of cottages as there is quite a lot of detail in this landscape. Not just in the fields, lanes, houses, shrubs and trees, but also the rolling aspect of the country side.

  1. Line sketch

Materials used: graphite pencil HB, rubber, non-bleed ink pen

I first drew everything in a light outline using a black pencil. Don't worry if it's not exactly as the original, a sketch is not meant to be exact. It doesn't matter if the house is smaller or the lane is more curved. I used an ink pen for shading and a clean outline.

Extra tip: Hatching is sketching lines quickly in black or colour. The closer the lines the deeper the colour. The lines often follow the direction of the object to give it depth.

In the example above, the lines should have been following the direction of the edge of the road. Instead, the lines are vertical. Looking at it, I thought that it seems as if the land has a steep drop, so really, it can stay as it is!

  1. Tonal sketch

Materials used: graphite pencils HB, 2B, 6B

Again, I lightly drew the outlines first. Working from light to dark, I hatched in the lighter sides, from the roofs of the cottages and the fields. I then worked in the darker areas with a softer pencil, going to almost black.

  1. Colour sketch

Materials used: watercolour pencils, brush with water holding reservoir, non-bleed ink pen

First, I used watercolour pencils to hatch in the colours and then blended the pencil lines with a brush which has a water reservoir. No need to have water separately, you fill the reservoir and gently press on the reservoir to fill the brush with water. Here and there I defined areas with a black pen.

Anyone can draw. There really are no wrong answers. It’s a great way to just get away from it all and take a break doing something fun. What I enjoy most is to see my group of participants leave at the end of the morning with a smile on their face.

So whether you’re a seasoned creative or a complete beginner, why not grab some art supplies and have a go at recreating the artwork above? We’d love to see what you come up with, so please feel free to share your work with us via social media.