From the Real
to the Imaginary

an online course by Susannah Garden
February 26 — March 26
4 weeks

Zoom conferences on Fridays from 6 to 7:15 p.m.
→ Course offered in English
As illustrators, we frequently describe ourselves as visual narrators, but we might actually imagine ourselves as visual scientists!

Indeed, we collect data in the form of sketches and notes, observe people's behaviour, gestures, poses and even eavesdrop on their conversations. We explore how light on a wall changes during the space of a day, or how a tiny dog runs around in circles in the park. But these observations often live just in sketchbooks, and many excellent ideas remain unrealised.

In this course we will translate our observational sketches to graphic drawings. We will move from the real to the imaginary and ask «what if…?»

We are going to approach our work step-by-step — with each decision bringing us closer to the execution of our final illustrations.
Whilst accumulating a collection of ideas we will discuss our concepts and the advantages of different versions, and then create a final work based on the best sketches. The final outcome could be a series of illustrations or comics.

Recommended for those who would like to:
– improve their drawing and observation skills;
– develop a way of thinking with the help of drawing;
– use resources of their sketchbooks for more serious projects;
– not get stuck in the brainstorming stage;
– boost their imaginative powers;
– take more risks with illustration;
– learn visual storytelling;
– study consistent narration;
– be inspired;
– improve their confidence in talking about their work in English.

• Some experience in observational drawing
• The ability to discuss ideas in English (the required level is at least pre-intermediate)
• The ability to compose, edit and adapt your illustrations

Estimated time
3-4 hours a week

Drawing techniques
Pencils, ink. For the final work: gouache, ink, coloured pencils, mixed media, (or digital — at the student’s request)

What will be developed
• Observational skills
• Participants’ ability to make a visual notes and think at the same time
• Participants’ ability to conduct effective visual research
• Overcomng a fear of a lack of good ideas
• Jumping from observational drawing to drawing from your head
• Visual narration, understanding of consistent narration techniques
• The ability to discuss ideas in English

You will receive
• Material and ideas for future exploration
• An inspiring collection of sketches and notes Ideas for developing observational drawings
• A final outcome — comic strips or a small series of illustrations

We will start with observational, quick sketches and by the end of the course we will produce completed illustrations based on our own narratives. The provocative tasks offered will encourage observation and exploration of the world using new methods. In this course not only drawing, but also reflection is key. We will discuss concepts, invent ideas, analyse, make decisions, plus edit and improve our drawings.
Susannah Gardner — educator
Australian illustrator and artist. Susannah currently lives in Berlin, and graduated from the British Higher School of Art & Design (Bachelor degree in Illustration, 2016) and the University of Melbourne in Australia (Bachelor of Fine Arts and Film, 2003).

Susannah has been conducting art seminars and workshops for about 6 years. She previously taught illustration in the British Higher School of Art & Design. She is currently the co-organiser of Sunday Sketching Berlin - themed fortnightly drawing sessions held in interesting locations around the city.

Discounts on request
16 000 ₽
Susannah's drawings
To participate you need to have computer or phone with a photo editing app
Internet connection
Provision of theoretical materials and assignments for the week, start of work
Susannah's comments (online Zoom discussion)
1.5 GHz
2 Gb
1 Mb/s
2.8 GHz
4 Gb
8 MB/s
Results to be posted and self-review of the work done
Minimum and recommended specifications
How do we work
If questions arise during the study process, they can be asked at any time and will be answered once a day
Screen capture from the online course «Two artists» by Dima Gorelyshev
We work using the Miro platform. The workspace looks like a huge virtual canvas and all the students have their own board.
Screen capture from the online course «Two artists» by Dima Gorelyshev
Materials and assignments — text with illustrations
Teacher’s feedback — video with shared screen and explanation

The manual will help you quickly understand how the process works (in Russian)
Course content
1. People
We will collect drawing observations according to a list of tips to make the process more intriguing.
For example: making sketches of someone in shadow/ someone with long limbs/ someone who looks like they don't belong there/ someone who moves unusually. Analysis of work will be held at the end of the week.

2. Places
We will observe 2-3 different places: for example — a park, a kiosk with takeaway food, a pet shop. We need to sketch everything that will help us to understand what the location is, and grasp the construction and function of it. We will make written and drawn notes about what is happening there, who visits this place and what interesting subjects are there.

3. Story creation
We will be writing simple stories based on feedback and recommendations. We will «fill in the gaps» in our stories about people or places. After creating a text version, we will make some simple storyboards for a drawing series or comic strips.

4. Story ending
We will create the final version of a series of images or comics.
Materials and techniques can be chosen by the participants, recommended format — A4 or A3.

• A high quality sketchbook with thick paper. Format — at least A5.
• Thick paper formats A4 or A3 — plain for graphic materials and textured for gouache.
• Pencils — graphite or black, soft at least 2B.
• Soft coloured pencils such as Faber-Castell Polychromos.
• Gouache — Susannah recommends Schmincke Designer's Gouache or Caran D'Ache — or water color markers as Ecoline Aquarell Watercolour Brush Pens.
• Black ink — required. Coloured ink — optional. Susannah recommends Windsor and Newton Drawing Ink.
• Different sized brushes - it would be good to have thin, medium-width and wider ones.
• A portable water container
• Markers like Faber-Castell. Tones from light-grey to black.

Participants' drawings from the previous intake
of the course
Ekaterina Bloshkina
Ekaterina Bloshkina
Ekaterina Bloshkina
Ekaterina Bloshkina
Olga Lukoyanova
Olga Lukoyanova
Maria Frolova
Maria Frolova
Ekaterina Voronina
Alexandra Zabelina
Lyubov Larkina
Elena Platonova

Berlin — a heaven for illustrators

Susannah Garden is an illustrator based in Berlin. She was born in Australia, and lived in Moscow, Russia for 10 years, where she graduated from the British Higher School of Art & Design and then started to work as a freelance illustrator.