Creative Concertina Sketchbooks 3 (Abstracts)

Hello and welcome to my third online concertina sketchbook course.

I am a professional artist and teacher who loves nothing more than travelling and collecting in my sketchbooks. I have taught 1000's of people on workshops, art holidays and in the classroom. I truly enjoy sharing the sketchbook techniques that I have learnt through the years, which I have developed from my own collage paintings and observation drawing.

On my first course (based around Buildings) I shared techniques using drawing and collage. In the second course  (based on Allotment/Gardens) I introduce more new materials, and we built on the techniques learnt in the previous course. 

I recommend that you complete Creative Concertina Sketchbooks 1 before 2 as you will build on techniques learnt.

You can take Creative Concertina Sketchbooks 3 Abstracts independently of the first two.

The course is divided into six lessons with thirty three short video lessons and instructions. It is suitable for new artists and those more experienced who want to get back to their sketchbooks to play! 

You may also benefit from the online community using a closed Facebook group, Sketchbooks with Karen Stamper where you can share your work with other participants as well as myself. You can also contact me in the comment boxes, after each lesson.

If you would like to find out a bit more about my art practice and studio time I do have a monthly art newsletter Arty News

Is this course for you?

Stuck?...Not even opened your lovely new sketchbook and don't know where to start on those pristine white pages?

Wanting to try abstract but don't know where to start?

Desperate to loosen up but don't know where to start?

Too busy to attend classes and cannot find a suitable sketchbook class?

Happy to work around your own commitments?

Ready to fall in love with the continuous story of a concertina book?

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

Want more than tentative pencil sketches in your book??

After enrollment you have the course for life!

Table of Contents

Lesson One -  Wallpaper Surface effects

Lesson Two - Corrugated Card compositions

Lesson Three - Tissue,Teabags and Coffee wash

Lesson Four - Brown Papers

Lesson Five - Maps

Lesson Six - Painting into Collage

What you will learn

  • How to use mixed media in your sketchbook
  • How to develop and 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 exciting images
  • How to build on techniques learnt in Creative Concertina 1 and 2
  • How to develop ideas for bigger compositions

Testimonials from Concertina 1 and 2

And I spent most of this afternoon binging on your videos - just like Netflix! Your lessons are so very wonderful - great examples, good images, volume & clarity etc. and great info. about how to use all these , some new to me, supplies as well as info about line, composition, etc. Im so delighted to be inspired all over again! Susan

Yes, I'd like to add a note of encouragement too! My own paintings and drawings are quite controlled and I have always avoided collage as it was something I didn't feel fitted in with "that style" and to be honest I didn't think it was something I would be any good at. I admired from afar! What was liberating for me was the building up of the backgrounds without relation to the thing I was drawing. I just pop anything I have to hand on, following Karen's guidance, - anything that gives me that intuitive harmony of shapes and textures. I now like taking that idea and making the bits and bobs I stick on relevant to the place, but still without considering the actual buildings etc until the background is done. Marvelous fun. Anabel (CC1)

I just love the process -it’s like it opened a door for me as to what is possible. The process seems to take away the fear of putting the first marks on a blank page and spoiling the book- especially one as long as the concertina sketchbook! Cathy

Having completely fallen in love with Karen's Allotment sketchbook ❤️ I thought I had better rein myself in, and start at the beginning with the first concertina book! I have not worked in this format before, so I was a little anxious as to what would happen - I needn't have worried however, as the whole process was inspiring and thought provoking. Sarah

I came across a reference to Karen Stamper on a facebook sketchers group post earlier this week. Four days later I've joined the beginners creative concertina sketchbooks 1 and absolutely loving it. Browsing Karen's website and course offering her whole approach truly resonated with my inner artist - I've only discovered art recently. I didn't have a concertina sketchbook and found an old carton box which I easily converted into a concertina. Thanks Karen and all of you who contribute to this great community of collaging sketchers. Roy. 

I’ve really enjoyed having two very different ideas going at the same time .... I use the concertina process to inform my next series of paintings, it works really well for me. Charlotte

Frequently asked Questions

How long do I have access to the course?

Forever! Once you've enrolled and paid, you'll have access to the course material for as long as you need. So devour it all in one weekend or take things slow. It's your choice!

What materials will I need? See full list in the last question

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), Graphik pens and a small amount of acrylic. The materials list is based on my demonstrations and what I use, but of course you can develop these ideas with other materials. Following is what you will need to buy 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) Spray bottle £2, Pva glue £3, Ink pad £4, Wallpaper samples - free. Equipment that you will need, but probably have - scissors, brushes, kitchen roll, sandpaper, pencils, magazines, brown paper, corrugated card, maps, glue stick, biro, sticky labels,

How long will I have access to the course?

Forever! As with all my courses once you've enrolled and paid, you'll have access to the course material for as long as you need. So you can devour it all in one weekend or take things slow. It's your choice! (It is not a class that you join with the tutor each week)

How much time will I need?

These lessons are based an a two day workshop. In this online version you have the time and opportunity to actually sketch on location, so it could be completed in a weekend or an hour for each lesson = six/eight hours.

Are the classes weekly or can I have instant access to all the lessons?

The course is self paced; you can complete it when you have time. It may be a binge for a day or spread over 6 weeks. You have life time access to the course. You log on and off when you want to. No weekly timetable.

Do I have to be able to draw?

Not at all. My sketchbooks are much more about mark making and exciting surfaces, with as little or as much drawing as you like. some participants draw lots, some collage lots.

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, please tag/give me a mention.

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

Will there be more sketchbook workshops to follow?

Yes! There is a second part to Abstracts in the making.

What if I'm unhappy with my purchase?

Once you have signed up, I am not able to give refunds. But if you're really unhappy with the course email me.

This sounds just what I wanted. Where do I sign up?

Right below, just press the signup button. Happy sketchbooking!

What materials do I need? Full list

Here is a list of the equipment that you will need to complete the course. If you have completed an earlier course you will have some of this equipment already.

I have added links in details when you sign up. You will find many items on the high street ie.biro, glue stick, labels, spray bottles. My apologies, this is mainly UK based, please feel free to add comments on suppliers for other countries.

It may look like a long list but you may have many items already!

  1. Wallpaper samples ( usually free in DIY stores)

  2. Brown papers (parcel paper, envelopes etc) Corrugated card

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

  4. Dress making patterns and Maps

  5. Sticky labels

  6. Ink pad

  7. PVA and Glue stick

  8. Biro, Oil pastel

  9. Gesso

  10. Inks and paint brushes

  11. Graphik pens

  12. Posca pens (one big, one small black and white)

  13. Teabags, Coffee and String/thread

  14. Stencils of your choice (or make some from my instructions)

  15. Small set of acrylic paints (gouache would work too)

  16. Spray bottle small

  17. Water container, kitchen roll, scalpel, scissors, salt

  18. Tissue paper

UPDATE - In USA people have suggested - (I haven't tried these)

Buffered acid free interleaving tissue paper

Art tissue by Spectra 11lb, Japanese tissue 22gsm, Deli paper ( Kabnet wax box from Walmart), Model making Tissue.

  1. Concertina sketchbook A5 + 2 big elastic bands.

I do love Seawhite books as the paper is perfect 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)

After enrollment you have the course for life!