Autumn 6 Week Roger Dean Art Course.

Autumn Course

Live lesson is every Wednesday 7pm Greenwich Mean Time from the 28th October

In the Autumn Roger Dean Art Course, like our Spring Course, we will be taking six weeks to complete a painting from your own idea to a final, finished piece. However, with our Spring course, the focus was on acrylic painting, this time we will be drawing, both with pencil and pen, and adding colour to your artwork with watercolour and other transparent media. Roger Dean is known for his large-scale acrylic paintings but some of his best loved pieces have been his ‘drawings’ in watercolour, for example Relayer and Asia Alpha. Each student will be asked to compose a landscape and during the course we will work on the design together. This can be based upon a real place that you love, or an entirely imagined place that you will love once you’ve created it. Our goal is to help each student manifest their own image and way of working, developing their comfort in the medium and unique artistic voice. Drawing in both pencil and watercolour is a technically challenging skill to master and as a result, this course will have a more meditative pace to reflect that. We will therefore, make sure that each student is at ease, and then set free by their skill to create whatever their imagination can conceive of. This will all be in the context of a supportive group where we will learn from each other as well as the tutorials. A lesson we learnt from our first Spring course was how incredible a resource the group of students became for each other, and it is into this encouraging environment that you will begin your exploration of drawing. All abilities are welcome, as this is a course about developing your own practice.

Week 1: Getting the mind-set right, creating and concept drawing

That first mark on pristine paper is always a challenge. We will talk about how to get the mind-set right, how to remove any anxiety and how important it is that this is a completely enjoyable process, how to distract that part of your mind that worries and interferes with your ability to perform and create. I believe that this is very important and no doubt I will repeat it often, in fact it is at least as important as developing a physical skill, not least because it makes developing a physical skill fun, something you will love doing and not a chore.

In your first week we will looking at drawing and watercolour as part of the creative process not as finished works, that will come later. You will start to get to know your materials and how they work. With pencil drawing, we will be learning how to control the line. Watercolour is less forgiving than opaque colour (like acrylic) but there are ways of using its unpredictability to your advantage, as well as tricks for controlling it and this will be covered in lesson 1.

Week 2: Playing with your ideas and the drawn line

In week 2, the subject of creativity and the where idea come from will be developed and discussed within the group. Composition, (the design) of your final work, will be explored. There will be a strong emphasis on drawing, to the extent that some of you may want your finished work to be a either a pencil or pen and ink drawing.

It should also be noted that some excellent watercolour artists put far less emphasis on drawing, but one of the reasons for the structure of this course was to satisfy the request by many people to explain and show how I produced such classic pieces as, Relayer or Asia’s Alpha both essentially coloured drawings. They were also both labour intensive, so we will also look at quicker ways to get the result you want.

We will get to a point where each student knows generally the subject of their painting, as they play with their ideas and develop them as a cohesive composition.

Week 3: Watercolour Techniques,

Part (1) the Bones

In week 3, we will begin discussing various different techniques, so we can explore different ways in which you can achieve the result you hope for.

Whatever your chosen composition/landscape whether real or imagined, an understanding of how to create texture with watercolour will make it convincing. We will be looking at how to paint water, rock formations, and skies, these are the building blocks and bones of your composition. In collaboration with the group, we can learn other techniques that you may wish to incorporate in your painting.

Part (2) Fleshing it Out

The second part of this weeks subjects are the properties of watercolour techniques and we will be looking at the flora and fauna of your composition. This lesson involves populating your landscape with animals, insects, trees and plants and elements of human intervention for example, buildings, pathways and bridges.

Week 4: Water colour with no or only very limited drawing

Water colour has some very interesting properties and this week we will look at two ways that you can achieve a satisfying result with almost no drawing. The first is a hard edged technique, painting each stage as the previous stage dries. The second technique is essentially soft working on paper saturated in colour.

Week 5: We Begin the Final Composition
The second half of the course will be focused on working on your final composition. We put together all the elements we have been working on together. We draw it all out in pencil and establish the scene.
Once we are happy with the drawn lines of the composition, we can begin to colour the painting. Using the techniques, we learnt in the previous lessons we can now start applying them. Taking our time and enjoying the process we fill in the world.

Week 6: We Bring our Painting to its End

In our final week, we will be completing the painting. Any last requests for particular techniques in watercolour can be asked as it applies to your painting and we now start to see the painting coming together. Although this will be the last lesson in the course, it won’t be the last feedback and of course, this is your painting so if you wish, you can continue and explore as long as you like with your work.

Course Outcomes:

By the end of this six week course you will learn how to create a painting, from the concept and composition to finally executing the work itself. You will learn from Roger his mindset and methodology and be able to incorporate these skills of creativity and technique into your own practice. You will receive a certificate of participation acknowledging your part in the founding of the Roger Dean Art Course. We all sincerely hope that as well as learning from Roger himself you will all have a wonderful and extraordinary experience during this six week course that will inspire your creative enthusiasm and be a wonderful memory.

What you will need

You will need a Facebook account for this course. As it will be live with Roger as opposed to recorded, the sessions will take place in a private group on Facebook. Once you have signed up and given us your Facebook name, we will add you to this closed group. We can chat, share images and discuss progress and the feedback which will be in the form of a weekly video that you can review in your own time. Also, if for whatever reason you can’t make a live tutoring session, the video will remain in the group until the end of the course so you can catch up whenever you have time.
I recommend you get yourself an audiobook or download a podcast series that will keep you engrossed throughout the course. This is so that while you are working on your assignments your attention can be occupied elsewhere.


It is not essential to spend a lot of money. There are differences in quality between materials but the important thing is that you have something to paint with (watercolour brushes and watercolour paints) and something to paint on (any watercolour paper, ideally either a heavy-weight (around 300gsm) or a gummed watercolour block (Arches do these in Hot Pressed, which is smooth or Cold Pressed, which is rough).

Paper for sketching
Watercolour sketchpad (Arches are good but you might want something bound so you can work on more than one image at a time, Arches are gummed around the edges, which means the paper doesn’t buckle but you can only work on one picture at a time unless of course you have more than one pad.)
Pencil (my preference is Mars Staedtler)
Watercolour paper for final composition (Any size you like is fine, but bear in mind the bigger it is, the more paint you’ll need to cover it).

Brushes: These come in a variety of price ranges and I wouldn’t worry too much. If you want to get a good set that will last you, I recommend Series 7. They start at size 0, which is incredibly fine. You will probably mostly be using size 2,3 and 4 but you might also like to get some larger, less expensive brushes for covering paper, e.g. when we paint skies. You will also need a dip pen such as the Meetory Comic pen holders which includes a dip pen with two holders and five nibs and Windsor and Newton Black liquid Indian Ink.

You will also need a basic watercolour paint set, choose a set and brand according to your budget until you can decide what colour palette you are most comfortable with. I like the, St Petersburg, White Knights watercolours as the intensity of colour is good and they are reasonably priced. I use M.Graham & Co watercolours they are pricey but I use them for their very intense colour, a consequence of being manufactured with a base of honey instead of gum Arabic.

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