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Total Drawing

Total Drawing

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Ilga Leimanis


Total Drawing will help you develop core skills that have a wide range of creative applications. Whether you are a beginner or has done some drawing before, you will explore a variety of drawing materials and approaches. 

One half of the course will be spent working through short, simple exercises that introduce new ways of looking at individual objects, the still life and the model. To strengthen the abstract qualities in your work and help overcome literal-mindedness, time will be given to analysing form in space, studying light and shade and considering composition and pictorial design.   

In the other half of the course, you will be introduced to simple techniques and experimental processes which enable you to develop a more personal or meaningful interpretation of your subject matter.

Topics covered

  • Observational drawing (still life and from the model)
  • Understanding the use of line, tone and texture
  • Using charcoal, Conte Crayons, ink and graphite sticks
  • Exploring ways of capturing motion
  • How to compose an image
  • Creating perspective
  • Visual research – building a sketchbook
  • Using sketches – idea generation and creative next steps.

drawing materials including charcoal, Conte crayons, ink and graphite sticks

Course outcomes:

  • You will be more confident in observational drawing
  • You will have drawings in several media, for use in a portfolio
  • You will have experienced what makes drawing such a uniquely satisfying activity.

Level: This course is appropriate for students of all levels

Entry requirements: None

Who should take this course?

This course is suitable for newcomers or professionals who wish to improve their drawing skills. It has been taken by students who are building a portfolio and who wish to show a variety of skills.

Read more about this course on the CSM Short Course blog

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Ilga Leimanis MA is a London-based artist and writer. She is a member of Five Years, an artist-run gallery, and her own practice is collaborative and interdisciplinary. Her teaching experience of 10 years is varied and extensive. She helps prepare students for degree courses and many of her previous students have gained places at their preferred schools. She also works with professionals looking to develop their communication and creativity skills, as well as people taking courses for personal interest.

Ilga delivers workshops for the University of the Arts (UAL) Academic Support department, working across six UAL art and design colleges. She teaches manual drawing skills for architects and engineers working at leading offices in London, including at Foster+Partners, and she also works internationally.

Ilga is author of three chapters in Creative Sketching Workshop, published by Apple Press (UK), North Light Books (North America) and Tan Yang International (Asia).

Take a look ar Ilga's website


Students should bring the following materials to the first session:   

  • A thin drawing pen (0.2)    
  • A thick pen (0.5)    
  • An inexpensive A4 sketchbook

Please note that all other materials will be provided by the college, and may include: 

  • Paper white, grey and black (A1 – A4)
  • Charcoal (willow and compressed)
  • Graphite sticks
  • Markers (fineliner, medium point and chisel tip)
  • Soft pastels
  • Oil pastels
  • Inks
  • Reed pens
  • Dip pens
  • Palettes
  • Brushes
  • Wash
  • Conte crayon
  • Erasers (kneaded and plastic)
  • Fixative
  • Two life models 

Available dates