Printmaker Eric Gaskell on why making art is something we should all try…

Eric Gaskell talks about what you can expect from an art class, and points out that for printmaking you don’t need to be an expert at drawing…

Why make art? Because it opens up the world to you. You start seeing with more clarity; colour and shape become important; line and texture take on different meanings…

And depending on what you are creating at the time, all those things change in the blink of an eye.

‘…being a skilled drawer is not essential. In some cases it is a drawback – no pun intended.’

However art is not, from my viewpoint, a frivolous activity. It takes a great deal of thought and careful planning, whether you are painting, drawing or printmaking. Even art that appears spontaneous takes time to mull over. There are many things you need to consider before starting; what medium to use, how big will it be, will it be landscape, still-life, figure.


The key though, and it doesn’t matter if it’s abstract, patterned or figurative, is drawing. Drawing forms the preparation.

You don’t have to be academically good at drawing, that comes with time, but it’s drawing that lets you try out future possibilities. It makes you “see” things because you look and think longer.

This is one reason why people admire the rough drawing more than the finished piece, it gives them a personal view through the eyes of the artist.

From the artist’s perspective it lets you work things out (take notes), try new viewpoints, new ideas – before you commit.

Eric is giving a workshop ‘Copy, Proof, Print’ as part of the RBSA Winter Workshop Programme. 

Although my workshop is not a ‘drawing’ class, being open to trying out lots of ideas by drawing is essential. Drawing is fast, printmaking slow, so it makes sense to see what might happen beforehand.

But remember, being a skilled drawer is not essential. In some cases it is a drawback – no pun intended. Often a skilled drawer will be too refined, too exact, which can be at odds with relief printmaking imagery which tends to be strong, graphic and immediate.

hillmorton locks by eric gaskell _ wonderstreet

Hillmorton Locks

The linocut is quite a meditative process; cutting is done slowly and precisely, inking the block is done carefully and you handle the paper delicately.

In printmaking, the way it’s put together is important. The majority of the time you aren’t dealing so much with the art side as you are with the process. I can start with a loose idea, or quite a lot of detail, but there are still stages to work through.’

Eric has built up a reputation as a skilled printmaker specialising in lino-cut and his Facebook Group ‘Linocut Friends’ has over 23,000 members.

Why not join his class at the RBSA in February? He’ll take you through the steps from drawing to cutting to final print. ‘Copy, Proof, Print’ takes place over two days on 18 – 19 February. It is open to all abilities.

Book a place on a Winter Workshop!

lino print art set

viewed in full here… and we have a ground floor shop which stocks art kits, sketchbooks and notebooks so that you can continue at home… including a Lino Printing Starter Kit!

Call the Gallery on 0121 236 4353 if you have any questions about our classes. And book soon! Some are nearly sold out.

#artclassinbirmingham #ArtClasses #artworkshops #learnsomethingnew

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