Monika Cilmi’s book ‘Beginning Chinese Brush’ is available..

Chinese Brush Painting tutor Monika Cilmi’s book called ‘Beginning Chinese Brush’ is finally available. The book is structured in such a way to inspire beginners and established artists alike. By following traditional Chinese techniques, it can not only help you become more adept at Chinese brush painting but can also can help you develop your personal work when working in different styles and media.

Purchase Monika’s book – Beginning Chinese Brush on Amazon >>  You can also purchase her book on >> 


Tutor Alan Dedman – Collective London

London Art College tutor Alan Dedman is preparing for an exhibition of paintings and drawings (Contemporary Art) from Somerset to central London, during May 2017.

Alan Needs You!
The Collective London, has generously offered to host a view-by-appointment show of Alan’s work during May 2017. To make it happen, funds are required for all costs including transport, packaging, publicity, insurance, private viewings etc. Your contributions can help achieve this. Allowing Alan to present an alternative to the mainstream; Art of Classical provenance, lively, colourful and eccentric.

Visit Alan’s Crowdfunding page and watch Alan’s video below

About Alan Dedman
Alan Dedman is a UK borne artist. Studied at Great Yarmouth, St. Martin’s and the Royal Academy Schools. Of the British tradition in painting – Alan’s work explodes with energy and colour, bridging the Classical/Post-modern divide. His fine draftsmanship, interwoven with powerful and informed use of colour – create an intimate engagement with human subject matter. Currently Alan Dedman operates from his studio in Somerset, where he has exhibited during regional arts weeks and in pop-up galleries. Showing in central London will make Dedman’s Art available to a wider audience and create fresh opportunities for future events.

If you want to find out more about Alan Dedman’s Art visit his Alan’s Art blog  and website Alan Dedman Artist.

Julie Douglas’s New BOOK!

Julie Douglas was a tutor for London Art College for six years, teaching several courses including Coloured Pencil, and the Drawing & Painting Diploma courses. After great pressure from her students, Julie has written a book on drawing and painting, called ‘Notes from the Atelier’.

250 pages of clear and detailed guidance takes the reader through a year of study, with over 500 illustrations by Julie and some of her students, including past London Art College student Mari- anne Leipmann-Schiller! It has taken 18 months to write, as well as 25 years of teaching experience, and Julie is self publishing.

In his foreword, illustrator PJ Lynch describes ‘Notes from The Atelier’ as ‘a feast of a book’, and calls Julie ‘an extraordinary teacher’.

The book is being printed this week! and it will be launched in April.

We are delighted to say that Julie is offering London Art College students a copy of the book at the pre- launch price of £35, plus P&P. After the launch it will be available on Amazon, where the price will be higher.

The link below takes you to a preview of the book – just click on the large drawing of the cover after you click this link:

Any questions or difficulties, please contact Julie on You can keep up with Julie and her students on her blog

A big welcome to Jarnie Godwin

We would like to officially welcome Jarnie Godwin as a new tutor to our team. She will be running our Botanical Painting course. Jarnie has written a very interesting introduction to herself and her work below and we hope you enjoy reading it and are inspired too!


Achieving your own Botanical so Beautiful with Sketchbook Squirrel

Hi, I’m Sketchbook Squirrel. Well, it’s Jarnie Godwin really, originally from East London, now working in Hampshire, and ever since I could hold a pencil and a brush, I have loved to draw and paint. Art lessons at school opened a world of colour and wonder for me, and my favourite teacher Mr. Campbell instilled a sense of fun and quirky charm into every lesson, (I have never lost that). On leaving school, college didn’t follow, but I went straight into a job on a building site as a trainee Architectural Technician in the architect’s office, using the strict disciplines of technical drawing to prepare elevations and plans for new buildings. The job gave me a wonderful grounding for proportion, and the appreciation of structural beauty, but fate intervened and the company folded. Following the creative path this time, I ended up on a college course studying Graphic Design, with a stint working at several advertising agencies in London. Here I was introduced to the heart of creative design, with everything from packaging to posters coming my way.
Somehow later along the path, I ended up in teaching, and had some wonderful times during my years in the classroom. A promising career beckoned before fate once more played its hand, and I had to make the painful decision between my health and my job, so I had to quit. Or, one might say, it was the opening door of a new beginning.

What I Do Now

Working professionally as a botanical painter, my watercolour paintings still have a technical feel, drawing on my love of structural proportions and form, but many compositions also reflect the more fun and quirky side of my nature. Looking at a subject, I don’t always see its perfection, but rather its imperfection, with the belief that beauty can be found in all things. Dying tulip blooms, dried seed-heads, and nibbled bramble leaves have all appealed in recent years, along with the perfect blooms of dahlias and clematis. Generally, subjects are portrayed life-sized, but sometimes I will also scale up a bit, by two or three times to create a bigger impact, with deep, saturated colours and dramatic compositions.

Teaching still plays a very important part in what I do, and along with the Sketchbook Squirrel Blog which started while I was still on the SBA course, I continue to teach one and two day workshops, and hold studio days at my Hampshire garden studio. My latest venture has been to launch my own online learning website Botanical so Beautiful, where students can subscribe to view, and work along with video tutorials, practical sketchbook exercises, and the Technique Tool Box of technical advice. Online learning is such a wonderful resource, and I am very excited to be also sharing my knowledge with the students on the London Art College Botanical Painting Course.

Although teaching is my real focus again now, helping others to achieve their own goals and ambitions with their painting, and introducing beginners to the joys of painting in the botanical style, I still paint myself, and continue to exhibit as much as I can. For me, we are all still learning, evolving our style, and breaking old habits. The day I feel I have learnt it all, I’ll hang up my brush.

What’s in my kit?

Well, not as much as some might think. Being someone who started with a very small budget, I have maintained my spendthrift ways, and only spend money where I need to. General studio gear such as china palettes, boards etc. are bought from charity shops, and homeware stores as cheaply as possible.

Watercolours though must be Artist’s quality, never the student range. Artist’s quality watercolours always have finer pigments and better translucency, maintaining their vibrancy and clarity. On that point, I only use transparent paints, with only one or two semi-transparent colours making it into the box. These are mainly used as a final over-glaze, and I never use opaque or semi-opaque colours. The cadmiums were ditched a long time ago in favour of the beautifully transparent substitutes.

Brushes are the next thing I do like to spend good money on, and although I have tried many of the superb brands available now, I always return to my favourite sable. Da Vinci Maestro 35 with their longer, finer point often lead to them being called a ‘designer’ brush, and I guess as I used to use the very long ‘rigger’ brushes during my design days, I like the feel of these, and the control I get by using them. For my paintings, I use nothing larger than a size 4 brush. The handmade brushes by Rosemary & Co are also a favourite of mine, with the Series 22 pointed designer brushes, and series 323 spotters always finding a place in my kit.

Quality Hot Pressed Paper is the very best surface for botanical paintings. The very smooth surface gives the best medium to receive wet-in-wet paint, while maintaining crisp edges and vibrancy in the colours. With so much variation between the brands, paper I find, is a very personal choice, so it’s always best to sample a few to find your own favourite.

How do I Paint?

Before starting a painting, I always complete some sketches and accurate drawings. It’s important to study a subject from all angles, to really get a feel for it, and how it grows and forms. My sketchbook contains loads of thumbnail sketches and little compositions, some with colour, to get down what I want to do, and how I want it to look when it’s finished. If it doesn’t look good or work out at 4cm, it’s never going to look fabulous at 40!
Once the drawings are done, I transfer the composition to the watercolour paper using a lightbox. This prevents any mistakes having to be erased, which can damage the fragile surface of HP paper, but also allows me to use a very light pencil line. Next comes the colour. My method includes some initial wet-in-wet washes followed by dryer brush techniques, and lots of blending to keep a smooth finish and to focus on the finer details and form. The technique sounds complex, but the way I have put it all into a workable, and structured method, actually makes it quite straightforward. Of course, there are many ways to get the paint on the paper, and I always encourage students to find the method that works for them, and to keep practising. That’s why online courses are so good for beginners, as they get you working through exercises and assignments, while discovering new methods and techniques. The safety net of a tutor to help you, also makes the process a lot less daunting.

What’s my Motivation?

That’s actually quite a hard one to answer. I guess for myself, to be the very best that I can be would be a place to start. When you have a passion for something, it’s difficult to say where it comes from, and what drives it, you just know it’s there, and whatever it is, you want to immerse yourself in it. I mean, I was drawing everything and anything when I was young, and I mean anything, including my mum’s iron! I just had to do it, everything else just didn’t really matter. Even in the staffroom at the secondary schools I worked in, my colleagues would joke about my ‘exceptional board drawings’ to help my students. Often rendered in chalk or board markers I found any way I could to get students motivated for learning, helping them through tough exams, while also having fun along the way.

Finding botanical art has made total sense for me, and how I want to paint. My biggest goal now is to get as many people as possible who have that same need to paint discover botanical painting, and even on days when it’s just not working, to love it. Oh, and for me to actually get my series of paintings for the RHS into the exhibition before my allocated 5 years are up. That’ll be 2019! Time to get those brushes working.

Monika Cilmi’s Book Signing Event in Waterstones…

My name is Monika and I am a tutor for the London Art College distance learning courses. On the 26th of November I had a signing event at Waterstones in Ipswich for my first book. This book is a great achievement to me because I love origami and Japanese art in general and I have always wanted to write a book.

The most amazing thing though is that when they proposed me to write the book, I also found out I was pregnant! Two amazing surprises and the book is in fact dedicated to my son Dylan! The photos below were taken at the book signing event, the first two photos are of my son Dylan and I.  It was a very busy day and as you can see from the photos, the children who visited Waterstones loved the origami.

As many of the readers on the college news blog will know, I am the Chinese Brush Painting tutor and my second book is inspired by Chinese brushwork. It will be out in March 2017. Im sure my students will be very interested in viewing it.  I am now working on my third book about origami Jewellery. All of my books will be available on Amazon. If students have any problems finding them, just contact me at the college and I will be able to help.









Spencer and John Gosh comics in London

Here is a fantastic photo of London Art College tutors Spencer Hill and John Byrne at Gosh comics in London. It was Spencer’s book launch evening for his new book. You can read about the launch event here – Launch Event: The Yellow Monkey Emperor’s Classic of Chinese Medicine. It went really well, Spencer met lots of contacts and two hours chatting with people about the book. If you are interested in purchasing, head on over to Amazon!


Tutor Monika Cilmi and her new book Published

Tutor Monika Cilmi has written two new books which we hope will be of interest to her students. Her first book, entitled Origami, is available now and you can see some images from the book below. Monika’s second book ‘Chinese Brushwork for Beginners’ will be of great interest to Monika’s students who are studying on her Chinese Brush Painting Course.

‘Origami’ by Arcturus Publishing is out now and students can purchase it on Amazon now for a November delivery.  ‘Chinese Brushwork for Beginners‘ is in the series of ”How to Draw and Paint” by Walter Foster publishing. Students can pre-order their copy on Amazon today and will be released in March 2017.

Monika said….

The Origami book is dedicated to my son. For me it represents a big change in my life and it is inspired by this new chapter and the passion for origami and Japanese art.

My second book, Chinese Brushwork for Beginners, is more of an adventure, something I did not expect to write. It is aimed at the beginner who is interested in a very personal approach, by a western artist to inspire their imagination.


Monika Cilmi Origami

Monika Cilmi Origami

Monika Cilmi Origami

Monika Cilmi Origami

Monika Cilmi Origami

Monika Cilmi Origami



Spencer Hill Cartoonist

As many of our regular readers may know the London Art College tutors and admin staff recently had their annual general conference in Bristol UK. Whilst in attendance, each tutor was given hotel paper to write notes on throughout the meeting – which we all did.

Tutor Spencer Hill not only took notes, but he also filled one of his pieces with some incredible cartoons and doodles! We absolutely love it and felt it was quite blog worthy! A definite source of inspiration for his Illustration Course students and students on the cartooning course. We hope you like it too!


Spencer Hill Cartoonist

Why not get a Painters Online Free Gallery!

The London Art College have a good relationship with Painters Online and we thought it might be lovely for our students to know about the Painters Online Free Gallery. Did you know about their Free gallery service?

Artists can add up to 4 paintings per day, with no limit on how many they keep in their portfolio. Many of our students know that promoting themselves online can be difficult and so this is a very user friendly and easy way to show off your artwork. Whether you already have a website or social media..this is another added way of being found.


All students need to do is register at this link Painters Online Registration and everything is managed from ‘My Account’. To share in the gallery you need to be registered and logged in. So from ‘My Account’ you go to ‘My Art’ and follow the instructions to upload.

The first time you upload you need to name a ‘Gallery’ after this all galleries will feature in the dropdown menu. Many artists have just one gallery, others choose to have several – sorted by medium or subject matter. Then it’s just a case of adding the title, writing a description (include the medium if possible – other artists like to know!), select the file, tick any relevant boxes about techniques, medium etc and save at the bottom.

Your own personalised URL

The galleries are completely managed by yourself and other users can comment on your artwork and contact you from your profile page. This might be very handy if you are looking to gain commission work, exhibit in galleries, or looking for publishers as you can be contacted easily. Each artist has a personalised url which can be shared with others, used for publicity and sent to galleries or publishers for your work to be browsed. Web addresses can be added and an artist profile/biography can also be included via ‘My Account’.

Blogs and Forums

Painters Online also have an area for writing blogs and an active art discussion forum. Alan Bickley is a very active member so our students might want to take a look at his page for inspiration. Alan Bickley Gallery. Also, so that I can help students if they require, I have set up an account for my own drawings which you can find here – Red Kite Studios. I managed to register, write a short bio and upload some of my own artwork within 15 minutes. I found everything very easy to understand, so hopefully you all will too.


Painters Online also select work from the galleries to share on social media and on e-newsletters – with some artists writing demonstrations and sharing a bit more about how they work. Plus both magazine editors select work to appear in the magazines each month – some have even been asked to write for the magazines! How fabulous is that. You could have your work published just by having a gallery!

So what are you waiting for! Go and get started today. Sign up and let us know your gallery address. We will promote it here on the blog and our social media…and I’m sure Painters Online will too!