Improve your drawing skills with some hany tips and techniques to try. Artist Louise Bradley demonstrates great range of drawing techniques with charcoal, wax crayon, rubbers and textured paper. The large scale group work is ambitious but very effective.                                                                                                                            

Key Stage:

KS2 Art National Curriculum: Primary Art.

Learning Objectives:

Pupils should be taught: to increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials Elements covered in this workshop include: Drawing with a wax crayon Drawing negative space Drawing wth a brush Using charcoal on small and large scale The nine films show different ways of working with drawing materials both indivually and in a group.


The workshop was delivered on one day by artist Louise Bradley with a group of Year 6 pupils. We suggest you break the workshop into two sessions, individual and group drawing. We see the individual activities as skill development for the larger work. Watch the clips and replicate the stages. Drawing with a brush and drawing with wax crayons are activities involving water and are best put together. You may choose to concentrate on the activities that develop drawing skills using charcoal. Be aware charcoal can be messy. The end product of these sessions should be a series of drawings that may need fixing with hairspray to avoid smudging. Fumes can be dangerous. For the group drawing we recommend that you plan the design on a small scale and then scale the design up as large as you can physically manage to enable as many pupils as possible to be involved. Start from the middle and work out to the edges. The school hall or dining room is ideal for this activity.


A summary of the various techniques explored in the workshop. Introduction An overview of what is covered in this workshop

Wax crayon

Wax resist drawing using crayons without looking down at the paper. Drawing wth a wax candle This group were asked to draw without looking at the paper


Making fast, flowing, large drawings using a brush and dilute black paint. Drawing with a brush Drawing quickly with a brush


Producing a range of tones from charcoal, using different pressures and smudging. Step 4 Drawing tone with charcoal Still life drawing with charcoal


Observing and drawing shadows using charcoal. Drawing shadow More charcoal work on shadows and highlights

Negative space

Drawing negative space. Drawing negative space Exercise to make you think differently about space

Group part one

A large-scale group drawing, part one. Large group drawing workshop part one Working big with charcoal

Group part two

The group drawing - pupils' reflections. Large group drawing workshop part two Timelapse of the work

Teachers view

A teacher considers the benefits of the workshop. Teacher’s view Feedback on the activity, from a teacher.

Development Activity:

Using our interactive activity Figure it out pupils can learn about the proportions of the human body. This activity allows the user to animate a lay figure and draw around it to practise how figures change in different positions. You can also show the pupils the work of Sarah Dyer on Culture Street who draws animals at ZSL London Zoo. Follow this link and go to the techniques section

Research, Notes and Links:

We have produced a  lesson plan to accompany this workshop.