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Light and Dark Tonal Drawing for 11 to 15 Year Olds Online Short Course

Course description

Understanding light and tone is a hugely important skill for anyone with an interest in drawing. Using a number of varied exercises across two sessions, this online course explores the meaning of tone, and how to apply it in observational drawings.

Using pen, pencil, paint and collage, learners will focus on mark making and layering, as well as experimenting with lighting, photography and props. Using simple materials and subject matter found in and around the home, this is an opportunity to learn new skills and build on existing knowledge.

Who should attend

Anyone aged 11 to 15 who is interested in art and design.

Course outcomes

  • Development of drawing skills, to expand the ability to draw from life
  • Investigate the figure-ground
  • Positive-negative spatial relationships

All our online short courses include:

  • Live online lessons
  • Clear, explanations and easy to understand lessons
  • Live demonstrations, you can see exactly how things should be done
  • Live interaction with your classmates from around the world, our students come from far and wide
  • Ask questions of your tutor, using your microphone and camera, or if you're not feeling brave, in the chat box
  • Receive feedback on your work

Digital Credentials (badges and certificates)

Students will receive a UAL Short Courses digital badge and certificate on completion of the course. Digital credentials are a great way to celebrate your accomplishments and stand out from the crowd. Find out more about our digital badges and credentials.

How to book:

  • Click add to basket
  • If you are an adult booking a place for a child or teenager, you will need two email addresses one for your booking confirmation email and one for the student *
  • Select the option to book for someone else
  • Add the bookers details under Your details
  • And the students details under Delegate 1

* In the case that your child does not have an email address, please create their account with an alternative email address.

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time.

Online courses are closed to all new bookings 48 hours prior to the course starting.

Available dates


Topics covered

Session 1

  • What is tone?
  • Tonal exercises for shading and mark making
  • Exercise 1: drawing a kitchen item
  • Exercise 2: drawing a crumpled item

We start by talking about tone and practicing mark making, before completing two contrasting exercises. The first uses a solid object with clear shape and contours. The second is more challenging as it involves a more abstract object with a complex form and texture.

Session 2

  • Discussing key terms and concepts connected with tone
  • Experiment with mark making to produce a series of tonal scales
  • Produce a ‘set up box’ to photograph a set up of objects
  • Editing photographs to see tonal relationships more clearly
  • Explore incremental use of tone and observation of tonal shapes through use of collage and mark making

This follow up session explores the principles of tonal representation through an experimental and incremental approach. Using collage, mark making and photography, key concepts about tonal scale, light as shape and the importance of the figure ground relationship are explored.


  • Plain paper (a few pieces), or sketchbook
  • Pencil (ideally a range of sketching pencils including 2B etc, but regular HB is fine if only thing available)
  • Biro (black or blue)
  • Piece of foil / paper / fabric - a material with a good ‘crumple value’
  • Kitchen item such as a mug, jug, bottle or teapot
  • Lamp, torch or other bright light source (optional)

Online short course materials

To take part in the Online sessions you will need:

  • An up-to-date web browser (we recommend Chrome)
  • Microphone and headphones (a headset with a microphone function is recommended. The built-in microphone in your device would also be fine)
  • Webcam
  • Strong Internet connection - we recommend a minimum of 2 Mbps download, and 1 Mbps upload, faster if possible. You can test your network speed here -
Meet the Tutor:

Understanding light is fundamental to understanding drawing. This online drawing course for 11 to 15 year olds uses a number of varied exercises allowing students to understand the meaning of tone, and how to apply it in observational drawings.

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