Classical Art Atelier

Essential Drawing & Painting Skills

3-Day Workshop with Adrian Cooke

This workshop focuses on the essential skills and techniques of classical drawing and painting combined over one weekend. Choose one day drawing, two days painting, or all three days of drawing and painting.*

This format follows the traditional atelier method (albeit compressed into one weekend) by beginning with drawing skills where you will learn the basics of design, line, value and form using pencil and charcoal, and then progressing into monochrome oil painting, or grisaille, where you will become acquainted with the unique characteristics of this medium. Finally you will work colour but with a limited palette. This workshop is suitable not only for beginners, but also for advanced artists, as quite often some very basic skills and techniques need to be practised and reinforced.

This workshop will take place at St. Patrick's Gateway Centre, WATERFORD CITY on 08-10 November 2019.
*Please not that priority will be given to students enrolling for the full 3 days.

Classical Drawing

Design, Line, Value and Form

The week begins with two days of drawing, introducing you to the time-tested classical methods and techniques, from beginning marks and lines that create the initial design and contour of your drawing, to a full range of values that describe form and give your drawing the illusion of depth.

Essential techniques like shading, hatching and blending, sight-size and comparative measuring, choosing and handling materials, and much more will be covered through a range of standard as well as innovative exercises.

The skills and knowledge acquired through drawing are a fundamental prerequisite, which are too often overlooked, before progressing into painting.

Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad. Salvador Dalí
Realist Painting

From Monochrome Studies to Colour Paintings

The first steps in painting make no use of colour - instead, they focus on a technique known as grisaille, which uses only monochrome tones (usually of grey, hence the French, "gris" in "grisaille"). This technique allows you to become accustomed to the unique characteristics of the oil paint medium, how to work with it (and your brushes) and how to mix, understand and apply values and render form.

You will work on several exercises over the three days including matching a value strip, rendering an object, painting a plaster cast and a 5-value master copy image. By the end of the week, you will have learned a step-by-step method for creating a realistic full colour painting. Organising your palette, colour theory and mixing, dry brush method, and edge quality will also be covered, discussed and demonstrated.

Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do. Edgar Degas


Friday will focus entirely on drawing, and Saturday and Sunday will be spent painting.


The first day of drawing will introduce you to the four key pictorial elements: design, line, value and form. You will look at each of these building blocks in detail and work on exercises that develop your understanding of each of them. You will also practise some key drawing techniques such as shading, blending, and hatching, and learn about drawing media and materials.


On day two, you will transition seamlessly from drawing to painting, beginning with an introduction to grisaille painting in oils, and working on exercises that rely on this technique. Finally, you will work on a 5-value master copy painting exercise, copying works by Anders Zorn, Joaquin Sorolla and John Singer Sargent.


The final day will concentrate on setting up a limited colour palette and doing a flesh-toned value exercise, which will prepare you for the final overpainting stage of your master copy painting. You will be encouraged to pay even greater attention to paint handling, edge quality, and bringing each area of your painting to a beautiful finish.

Booking Details

The Essential Drawing & Painting Skills Workshop will be held at St. Patrick's Gateway Centre, Waterford, on 08-10 November 2019. See details below, or contact us to find out more and to enrol.

# Venue Duration Dates Times Price
1 St. Patrick's Gateway Centre, Waterford 3 days 08-10 November 2019 10am-5pm each day € 250
2 Drawing Only 1 day 08 November 2019 10am-5pm each day € 100
3 Painting Only 2 days 09-10 November 2019 10am-5pm each day € 200

Important Notes

  • Fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
  • Classical Art Atelier reserves the right to cancel any course or workshop at any time if the minimum number of students required is not reached. In such cases, your fee will be fully refunded.

About Adrian Cooke


Coming from a rigorous formal training in classical music - piano and music composition - Adrian is a largely self-taught visual artist. He has selected areas of study and interest, such as the classical atelier method, to inform the style and ethos of his work. He works predominantly in traditional drawing and painting media, regarding these fundamental skills and techniques as essential building blocks in his work. His style, however, would be better described as Abstract Realism. His first exhibition was a series of classical portraits and master copy drawings at 33 The Mall, Waterford, in 2014.

Materials Lists


Basic materials including cartridge and newsprint paper will be provided by the academy. However, you will need to bring a certain amount of drawing materials yourself and some high-quality paper for your longer studies. All materials and equipment are available at Cork Art Supplies, where you will be entitled to a 10% discount upon enrolling for this workshop, or at Jackson's Art Supplies UK

  • A range of pencils including
    2H, H, HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B
    (preferably Staedtler Mars Lumograph)
  • Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B (optional)
  • Graphite Powder (optional)
Charcoals (optional)
  • Vine Charcoal (Nitram)
  • Charcoal Pencils B, 2B & 4B
  • Stonehenge: White, 18x24in
  • Strathmore 400 Series: White, 14x17in
  • Kneadable Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Skewer or Knitting Needle
  • Tombow Mono Zero Eraser (optional)
  • Maulstick (optional)


Stretched and unstretched canvas will be provided by the academy. However, it is imperative that you bring a portfolio case large enough to fit a canvas 50x40cm or some other means of taking your wet canvases home with you. Your work will not be stored by the academy.

Oil Colours
  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Vermillion (or Cadmium Red Light)
  • 4 x Bristle Filbert (size 6)
  • 2 x Soft Synthetic Filbert (size 8)
  • 1 x Soft Filbert (size 12)
  • 1 x Soft Round (size 1)
  • 1 x Soft Fan Brush (size 6 or 8)
  • Liquin
  • Fast Drying Linseed Oil
  • Mineral Spirits (or Turpentine
  • Wooden Palette
  • Palette Knife
  • Palette Cups
  • Glass Jar
  • Paper Towels
  • Portfolio Case
Essential Drawing & Painting Skills Workshop

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