Free up your Sketchbook and Grow (Oct 21)

Looking for that push to grow as an artist?

This course will run again in 2022. Enrolment will open on January 31st for seven days. The course starts Monday February 7th. Please press the sign up button to register your interest.

When you enrol you will receive an email on Monday 7th with the first lessons, or you can log into www.coursecraft with your email and password.

Many past participants are from USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South America...when you enrol you have the option to pay with Stripe or Paypal and it configures the exchange rate and fee.

I am so looking forward to welcoming a new group of sketchbook enthusiasts!

I love using my concertina sketchbooks as a starting point for further work. 

In this course I want to share my way of working with you; to help you free up, to really enjoy the process of sketchbook development, and break through that block of moving forwards.

Many ask "But how do I take the next step and move my sketchbook work into more resolved work?" Throughout the course we will work to unlock your creativity, through open ended exercises that will help you find your own style.

As a professional artist and teacher I love nothing more than travelling and collecting in my sketchbooks. I have taught 1,000's of people on workshops, online workshops since 2016, art holidays and in the classroom. I truly enjoy motivating others with my no fuss, positive, give it a go style.

If you are looking for a way to push your work forwards and find your own style, in a non-rigid way, with room to be independent and do your own thing, then this is the course for you.

Sign up to get notified when enrollment is open!

Find freedom and joy with your own unique style

You thought that sketchbooks were just for pencil drawings?

I travelled for many years with a sketchbook and a few pens, but gradually I started collecting collage papers along the way. With these few materials I began to develop a lively, layered way to record my journeys.

My mission is to teach you my way of developing your sketchbooks, as we explore together from my garden studio. I will show you new starting points with mixed media techniques, that work really well for me. We will keep revisiting pages to select and develop ideas in layers, with mark making tools, collage, inks and paint.

With my easy to follow videos you will soon find that you have filled a book with exciting work ready to develop further!

Be inspired with my creative techniques and learn with ease

Is this you?

You think that you should be doing beautiful drawings like everyone else.

You have good intentions but don't know where to start.

You buy all the 'correct' pens, brushes, paints and then you are afraid to use them!

You spend hours on Pintrest researching but not doing.

You loose momentum after a few lines because 'it doesn't look good'.

You follow drawing tutorials that show techniques but not creativity.

Your sketchbooks are only half completed with a few pencil drawings and no energy or life.

Let me show you an easier way

Do you want to move quickly from empty pages to a lively sketchbook bursting with meaningful ideas?

I know what it takes to create stunning sketchbooks, I also know how hard it can be to free up, let go and get on with it! With my clear 'just do it and see' approach you will soon feel liberated and enlivened by your own work.

In short videos I will give you permission to make a mess; to not worry about perfection, to build on layers, to edit, select and resolve and grow as an artist. I want you to be totally absorbed with my adaptable process and keen to try more. 

After three weeks of mark making I will then show you how to work back into your pages, to begin to develop ideas for more resolved work. I will encourage you to look at what interest you and find the right techniques to move it forwards.

This is an artist/tutor-led experience and I will encourage you as individuals to find your own strengths, preferences and style. It will require more independent input than my other courses, as you will increasingly take ownership of your work, unlike the shorter courses which are much more about learning techniques.

By the end of our six weeks together you will be confident to listen to your inner voice to develop your own ideas. 

How much does it cost? £290

How does it work?

The course is divided into six weeks. Each week there are recorded lessons with around 12 short videos (5-10 minutes) and instructions. I will demonstrate and you can, stop, start and rewind whilst working in your sketchbook, or watch the videos first. I would allow 3 hours a week to do just what I demonstrate, but honestly, to really develop your work, I would allow more. 

My short courses are based around one weekend workshop, this six-week course is more like six weekends! The amount of time and momentum builds as you layer up your sketchbook pages and discover your own lines of enquiry. It is open ended.

The lessons will drip feed each week in short recorded videos. You can stay with the schedule of six weeks or take your time and complete at your leisure. You have access to the course for one year.

Each week there is a recorded weekly interview/chat with an artist, from the UK, America and Australia, who has a strong sketchbook practice. 

The course will be open for enrollment for ten days only - from 7th October and the closing date is the 17th October. The first lesson will start on Monday 18th October.

It is suitable for new artists and those more experienced who want to get back to their sketchbooks to play! 

This is not a live course, it is recorded. If you have questions you can contact me in the Coursecraft comment boxes, after each lesson. You will also benefit from the online community created just for this course, using a closed Facebook group, where you can share your work with other participants. I will be available for two live zoom sessions during the course.

Is this course right for you?

Yes! If you....

Are looking for that push to grow as an artist.

Want to have FUN in your book!

Are you enthusiastic and curious about moving your sketchbook work forwards?

Want to try creative mark making but don't know where to start.

Desperate to loosen up and work freely, with no rules.

Too busy to attend classes and cannot find a suitable course.

Happy to work around your own commitments.

Would you just like to take time to play with materials and see what happens?

Not if you....

Want to learn technical rules on how to draw

Want to learn how to paint in acrylics step by step.

Need to know exactly how something is going to look before you do it!

Like everything well planned, and neat and tidy!

Want to learn how to mix colours.

Want to learn the rules of composition. 

Want to have the same outcome as everyone else

Enter your name and email to be the first to hear when the course opens

Table of Contents

Week 1 -    Mark making with inks and drawing tools to break the white pages and loosen up using a variety of tools. Recompose with collage.

Week 2 -  Make your own collage papers, collect and alter found papers.

Week 3 -  Be bold and playful with acrylics, adding colour and glazes.

Week 4 -  Developing your pages by adding, editing, layering, extending.

Week 5 -  Review, research and prepare your supports.

Week 6 -  Push forwards, moving on in various different directions.

What you will learn

How to use mixed media in your sketchbook
How to develop exciting mark making from simple starting points
How to let go and play!
How to free up and respond to the marks that you make
How to easily fill page after page with creative mark making
How to build on techniques lesson by lesson
How to select what interests you and develop it further

The course will be open for enrollment for seven days only - from 31st January and the closing date is the 6th February. The first lesson will start on Monday 7th February 2022.

Below are some wonderful double A5 sketchbook pages form participants: Harry Bell, Anne Armes and Mandy Oliphant. I hope that they inspire you!


I’ve just enrolled, and just love it. It’s a real motivator, beautifully structured – and it makes me hungry. Got so excited I gobbled my way through the videos and I am now looking forward to playing them quietly.

What a totally immersive journey you took me on, your sketchbook course came at just the right time to lift my spirits and ideas.
I learnt so much from making unique tissues papers, mixing media’s and ‘freeing up’ my own mind, and I’m sure that I will continue to take elements of these techniques into my practice...and I’ll think of you and all the other wonderful artists that have shared their stories. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Dear Karen, I just want to mirror all the positive comments below and say ‘thank you’ for being so inclusive and informed with everything you have shared. It truly has been a wonderful creative sketchbook few weeks which I don’t want to end. I will definitely be expanding into more pages, trying ‘not’ to be too controlled but more play like with masses of lose mark making.
I loved the tissue making exercise, the freeness of using inks with acrylic and the layers of mixed media. Even if I only take 1 thing from all of these processes into my work, it is the ‘experimentation’ and ‘play’ that has refreshed me (something we so often forget)!
I look forward to working with you again and promise to share any positive outcomes on this ‘concertina’ journey.

You have brought alive the possibilities of preparing and exploring my concertina sketchbooks in a way that is so freeing and playful that I can’t wait to take my books that I’ve prepared off on my travels.
Really amazing course. Thankyou

God I’m enjoying this, rewind and more rewind... pen and think.... it’s the best learning and positive procrastination! I’m so with you, looking at how to use things in a different way... thanks Karen super excited all over again!

Enjoyed every second of opened a new world to me, you are a great teacher..the freedom of movement & fluctuation in a structured work is beautiful. Thank you.

Thank you Karen. I love how you encourage working with a sense of freedom without judgement, allowing the work you do to speak for itself, and how you celebrate when your work gives back those “unexpected surprises”.

I am including the materials list - to help you decide.

1. Concertina Sketchbook A5. I do love Seawhite books as the paper is perfect, you can buy direct from Artsaver I have used others but always come back to Seawhite for the quality and price (if you add the code KS10 I do get a small rebate) You can also google Leporello and Zigzag books.
You can also buy from Sennelier Hahnemuhle Moleskine

You van also make your own book. Lydia Rink shows here 

Two links for UK Artsaver Amazon

2. About 8 sheets of Tissue or carnival paper  My preference is this paper

3. Collage papers - napkins, old envelopes, stamps, patterned papers, photocopies, photographs, tickets, labels, wrapping paper, dress making patterns. You will only need small amounts. Start collecting!

4. Magazines (collect beautiful colours, patterns, lettering, objects)

5. Small amount Masking Tape

6. Small amount Sticky labels - address labels sticky labels

7. Small set of Acrylic Paint acrylic paints

8. Acrylic gloss or matt medium small bottle

9. Glue stick and pva glue

10. Gesso gesso

11. Inks. Any inks will work Artsaver

12. Artgraf( you could also use inktense or water soluble crayons) Artgraf

13. Charcoal small amount Charcoal

14. Graphite small amount Graphite stick

15. Posca pens posca pens I would buy one big 7-17K Black and one White to start.

16. Water soluble crayons, nice but not vital

17. Woody crayons

18. Spray bottle Amazon

19. Acetate 2/3 pieces Inkjet write on film

20. A3/A4 cartridge/sketchbook paper

21. Water container, painting palette, kitchen roll, scalpel, scissors, salt, eraser, wax candle, pipette, plastic bag/white bin liner

22. A range of paint brushes. A big soft mop brush is good. (Windsor & Newton 999 mop 19mm/3/4”)


How long do I have access to the course?

For a year. Once you've enrolled and paid, you'll have access to the course material for one year. Some people will complete each workshop as it is released others will do them at their own pace. It's your choice!

What materials will I need?

You will use quite simple materials such as ink, collage papers, pva glue. The most expensive items are your sketchbook (you can make your own), small amount of Acrylic paints. The materials list is based on my demonstrations and what I use, but of course you can develop these ideas with other materials. Following are the basics that you need and rough prices. Links to suppliers are given on the course. Concertina sketchbook (or make your own) £10, Posca pens £15, Ink £4, Gesso £7, Acrylics (set £12), Acrylic medium (£12) Spray bottle £2, Pva glue £3, Tissue paper (£10), Woody/Water soluble crayons (£15). Equipment that you will need, but probably have - scissors, brushes, kitchen roll, sandpaper, pencils, magazines, brown paper, own collage papers, maps, glue stick, biro, sticky labels,

How much time will I need?

If you just do the lessons as I show you I would say 3 hours a week, but honestly, if I was doing the course I would continue working into my pages much longer!

Are the classes weekly?

On the open date 7th February, you will receive your first lesson and then weekly each Monday. You can complete them by date, or in your own time.

Do I need to be able to draw?

Not at all. My sketchbooks are much more about mark making and exciting surfaces. I want sketchbooking to be accessible to all. In this course there is very little drawing, but it is up to participants if they want to add drawing to their books.

Can I share content, videos, notes from the lessons?

As I am sure that you will appreciate it takes a lot of time and energy to prepare online courses. Please do not share any of the content. All the information is for the sole use of the individual subscriber and not to be used in any form without written agreement from Karen Stamper. This includes direct teaching to others. I am happy for you to share your work on social media, but please tag/give me a mention.

What if I'm unhappy with my purchase?

Well, I would be sad. But if you're really unhappy with the course, just email me within 14 days to get a full refund.

What this course is not

This is not a course about learning drawing or painting techniques rules. It is not about the rules of colour mixing or composition. It will not give you all the answers to your work, but it will set you on a journey of development.

Is it a live course?

The course is all pre-recorded, so you can watch it in your own time. I will have two zoom sessions in November, for a chat and catch up.

I still have a question, how can I contact you?

I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Send me an email at

I want freedom in my sketchbook! Where do I sign up?

Right below, just press the sign up button. See you in the studio!

I have done some of your courses, will this build on what I have learnt so far?

If you have completed some of my other courses you will be familiar with my way of working and will be able to make progress quickly. This course will consolidate your learning and style as you become more selective and sophisticated in your own work. Please bring some of the techniques from past courses in to this one, keep pushing them until they work for you.

I haven't done any of your other courses. Is that ok?

Yes, this course is accessible at all levels so that you can step right in and start having fun. This course also works as an excellent foundation for my other courses.

Do I have to use a concertina sketchbook?

You could work in a normal book, or on paper. The joy of the concertina format is that your work flows and compositions appear almost by accident.

How much does it cost? £290

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