Pablo Picasso said, “I am always doing things that I don't know how to do, that's how I get to do them.”

The Sketchbook Club is a space where artists of any level – absolute beginner or experienced alike – can practise using different techniques and materials.This inspiring course is all about playing, experimenting, having the freedom to “see what happens if...” 

A sketchbook is a private space where no one is judging you. It is a tool to help you push yourself artistically, that you can use to improve techniques, whatever your existing level. 

The course

Each week your tutor, Brenda Holtam, will present different techniques from art history with examples of artists’ work. Brenda is passionate about drawing, as a skill and as a tool. She believes that drawing takes as many forms as there are artists; it is a personal language that develops through use. This is why sketchbooks are such a fruitful way to gather ideas or experiment with new methods.

This course is for artists of all levels and backgrounds. With Brenda’s expert guidance, you will improve your art skills, whatever your existing experience.


On this course you will experience:

  • Introductions to the work and methods of a variety of artists

  • Practical work and the cultivation of your own sketchbook

  • Demonstrations of materials and techniques

  • Trying things out in a supportive, friendly environment

There is emphatically no exhibition at the end of this course: it is all about practising art for yourself, with no pressure to reach a certain level or produce a particular work.

Brenda not only shares her brilliant sketching techniques with us, she also gives us the confidence to find our own style. The lessons fly by. Brenda shares her own talents generously.
— Rosalind Clayton

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for artists of any experience – beginners or accomplished artists are all welcome. Everyone will receive individual attention from the tutor. You will be encouraged to broaden your artistic experience and hone your skills. The atmosphere is fun, relaxed and supportive. All are welcome.

This course is definitely for you if:

  • You want to get into painting or illustration but are not sure how to get started...

  • You want help getting started again after a break, or when ideas have dried up...

  • You want to connect with others, to be inspired through shared time...

  • You want to build your confidence as an artist in an encouraging environment...

  • You want to explore new methods or media...

  • You have limited time and space but want the fun of being creative...

  • You want to build a handcrafted memory bank of your life...

  • You want to experience the buzz of making images...

Do I need special equipment?

The first session of the term is a taster session. You do not need any equipment at all – the aim of this first session is to introduce you to the materials, and give you the details you need for you to buy your own.


Meet your tutor

Brenda Holtam

Brenda Holtam teaches art at Hampton Court House and is a portrait artist by training. She has been keeping sketchbooks as long as she can remember, using them to practise techniques and capture ideas. She has been teaching since 1989 and especially loves helping complete beginners to get into drawing and painting. Brenda studied painting at Falmouth School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools. She is an elected member of the Royal Watercolour Society.

Brenda Holtam

Brenda Holtam


How to book

Reserve your place for this intimate and inspiring course

  • This course will run on Thursday evenings from 7.00 to 8.30 pm, starting on 19 September, with a two week break at half term

  • The course fee is £175 and covers the whole term's classes. Your tutor can advise you on suitable materials you can obtain inexpensively at local art shops. Refreshments are served at 6.30 pm each week before class

  • Numbers are capped in order to ensure personal attention from the tutor, so we recommend reserving a place soon

  • The first class is a taster session; if you decide that the course is not for you, we offer a full no-quibble refund