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© 2019 Este MacLeod

© 2019 Explore Colour

Explore Shapes

For those who would also like to do something fun and different around Easter time I am repeating the watercolour and ink based course from 29 March until 19 April. 


Explore Shapes in Ink and Watercolour is a three week long course with daily mini-projects perfectly suited to expand creativity by exploring traditional and alternative techniques in water-based media on paper. The course is structured to develop a vocabulary of new shapes and ideas suitable for use in individual art projects. 

The main aim of this course is to explore colours and techniques by creating projects starting with simple shapes from a variety of everyday sources. Inspiration comes from basic geometric shapes, organic forms found in vegetable and fruit, handwriting and letters and more. By using traditional art materials and innovative 'outside the box' thinking, new directions are explored.

Fifteen daily topics for projects range from fabulous fish to flowers, hats, paisley patterns, landscapes and more. The course has three bigger weekend artwork assignments based on the techniques shown during the week.

Early bird registration (before 20 December) is £120, regular price is £150.

Basic Material List


Here's a list of the materials that will be used throughout the course:

Watercolour set

I recommend the Golden QoR set of 12 colours available here or here. These cost around £40, but you are welcome to use another professional quality watercolour set. 

Do bear in mind though that I will be exploring colour combinations from the tubes found in the set and this will be different to what you will find in other brands. 

Using professional watercolours is important, Suitable brands include Holbein or Sennelier. Pans are suitable instead of tubes, especially if you're having to travel during the course (I prefer using the tubes though).


  • Golden Paints’ High Flow Carbon Black and Titanium White will be used for ink drawing. The manufacturer describes these as paint but they're actually similar to acrylic ink. 
    Other brands include Windsor and Newton and Daler Rowney’s FW ink, I prefer Golden’s High Flow since it is very concentrated.

  • Matte paint medium (note, it has to be matte! There are other paint mediums, but Golden offers the best surface to be worked upon with other mediums).

  • Black fine liner pigment ink 0,5mm or a set with different size pens. Rotring or Sakuru are suitable

  • Watercolour paper: Arches cold press paper block NOT 140lb 300gm size 12”x16” or 10”x14” size. I am using 12”x16” in projects. Other watercolour papers are also good, not less than 300gsm paper weight. The Arches paper has a slight texture, not smooth, and is 100% cotton.



  • Moleskine A4 sketchbooks with watercolour sheets or similar, these are for additional drawings and experimenting and must be suitable to hold water and mixed media. 

  • Extra sheets of watercolour, at least 300gm NOT are required for the weekend projects. I use NOT cold pressed paper, but you can use the paper you prefer. Having paper on glued pads are easier than using loose sheets to be sized, but these are fine as well. 

  • Masking fluid

  • Pencil. 

  • Dip pen. I use Speedball’s map set.

  • Regular medium sketchbook with paper suitable for mixed media

  • (Optional) One sheet of heavier watercolour paper 450-500gm 

  • A box of regular matches.

  • Balloon

  • Fruit, including banana and lemons. Vegetables, including Romano peppers, spring onions and (optional) sugar snaps. Mixed nuts will be used as props (I will explain more in the follow up email!)




Good quality brushes suitable for acrylic and watercolour. I recommend nylon brushes since it can become quite expensive to buy professional watercolour brushes. It is up to you though.

  • One large round pointed brush with a fine tip see link below, I use size 4

  • Flat brush 3/4”

  • Dagger brush, medium

  • A medium soft hair fan blender brush, smaller than 2"

  • Flat comber brush also known as rake 1/2"

  • One fine tipped brush, medium or alternatively get a triangular brush no 10 (I use this instead of a fine pointed brush)


I like Rosemary’s brushes and Princeton has a good selection too, suitable for different budgets. Here are the brushes I regularly use:




Most art materials are available from Jacksons’ Art and Ken Bromley in the UK, they also ship abroad. In the United States the supplier is Dick Blick. Please get in touch if you are stuck with regards to supplies. Golden Acrylic paints has a store locator here.