Making Art a Practice 2

Self-Study Class Includes Lifetime Access, Online Community & More!

12 Lessons – $49

How do you get ideas for your work? Cat Bennett builds on the lessons from her first class Sketchbook: Making Art a Practice (not a prerequisite!) and shows you how to find and develop your ideas in a joyful, experimental way.  You’ll draw and paint food, plants, landscapes, clothing, objects and people in your sketchbook—with a focus on color, line, shape and the relationships between them—and then you’ll jump out of your sketchbook into bigger projects.

Now available as a self-study class.

TEACHER: Cat Bennett

Class Description

In MAKING ART A PRACTICE: In and Out of the Sketchbook, we’ll spend two days drawing in the sketchbook with a focus on color, line and shape then jump out of the sketchbook to do a bigger project. We’ll draw and paint the world around us— food, clothes and the objects in our homes, plants and landscape, and people. And we’ll do so in different ways—painting using only lines, making cut-paper images using only shapes, then bringing line and shape together in different ways.

Our goal is to draw and paint in experimental ways and to get ideas for our own work. We’ll mostly work on a larger scale outside of the sketchbook and try things out. We’ll approach everything we do with a spirit of adventure and discovery!

This is a new and different class to the first “Sketchbooks: Making Art a Practice.” If you missed that one, no worries—this class is for everyone. And anyone who would like to is invited to post work on the private Facebook page for this class. At the beginning of each week, I’ll introduce the class in the online forum and offer some examples from well known artists that might inspire us as we do the exercises. We’ll all share comments and I’ll offer feedback and a few additional ideas every weekday morning.

Class Itinerary

Lessons 1 & 2: Focus on Line / Food
After a brief chat about color, we’ll work in the sketchbook painting lines in various ways to gain assurance with drawing with the brush. For our project, we’ll draw food with paint using only lines. We’ll make simple contour drawings in black before launching into color and we’ll learn how to distill complex information into simple lines that suggest rather than describe in a literal way.

Lessons 3 & 4: Focus on Shape / Plants
We’ll draw and paint abstract shapes in our sketchbooks and talk about how we can create compositions in an instinctive way as well. For our project, we’ll work on a larger scale and learn how to paint papers in flat colors to make bold cut-paper images of plants that are imaginative rather than literal.

Lessons 5 & 6: Bringing Line and Shape Together / Landscape
We’ll work with landscape, first by drawing from the world around us or from imagination in our sketchbook with brush and black paint. For our project, we’ll work from sketches we’ve made or from imagination in two ways. In the first, we’ll begin with line and then add color. In the second, we’ll begin with shape and add line. We’ll work on small paper and paint large landscapes quickly on an intimate scale.

Lessons 7 & 8: Using a Stencil / Clothes
In the sketchbook, we’ll draw with pencil or crayon using a 2-color way to practice drawing. We’ll draw the things we wear—shirts, shoes, hats, scarves. For our project, we’ll use a stencil to create the shape of our subject then add shading and line as we choose. We can also alter our subject in imaginative ways by adding details that don’t exist to say whatever we might like to say. We’ll move away from being literal and take a more playful approach to describing what we wear or might like to wear.

Lessons 9 & 10: Mixing Mediums / Objects
In the sketchbook, we’ll return to pencil drawing and do both line and shaded drawings of objects around our homes. We’ll work with things that interest us. For our project, we’ll choose several objects then mix mediums in different ways as we make our drawings and paintings. For instance, we might paint part of the image and render another part in pencil. Or start by painting the whole object in paint, then add details in pencil or watercolor crayons. Our goal is to try several approaches and have fun with it.

Lessons 11 & 12: Altering Approaches / People
In the final week of this session, we’ll collect about 20 photos of people and paste them on the left hand page of a small sketchbook. On the facing page, we’ll make straightforward contour drawings and looser half-blind contour drawings. For our project, we’ll explore making a portrait by starting with a painted shape for the face then adding details in pencil and leaving details out as well. We’ll also explore making the whole portrait in a looser way in paint.




















  • (1) 5”x8.25 (Moleskine Classic Notebook with plain paper or similar)
  • Drawing paper: (Any drawing pad that also takes paint is fine—e.g. the CansonXL sketchbook, or any 14”x18” pad of drawing paper that accepts all media. Highly recommend getting a ream of Dick Blick “Blick white sulfite drawing paper”. It’s $21.99 and great to work on even with watercolor.)
  • Thicker paper for paint: (A pad of quality thicker paper with vellum (not plate) surface 14”x18”. ) The CansonXL large sketchbook paper would work fine. Thicker paper is even nicer to work with as it doesn’t warp. I like Strathmore 500 series 3 or 4 ply vellum surface (cold press) bristol. This has a slight tooth but is not rough like proper watercolor paper. Fabriano or Arches also good brands. Two or three 20”x30” sheets will do. Our projects will mostly be no larger than 14”x18”.)
  • Card Stock: (Smooth bristol, illustration board or any smooth thicker paper for doing cut-paper collage on. Again the CansonXL heavy sketchbook paper or something similar is fine.
  • Ebony drawing pencil: or 6B, 8B etc (dark, soft lead)
  • Colored pencils: My favorites are Dick Blick for soft leads and rich pigments. Also Prismacolors. We don’t need many colors in this session and any brand will do.
  • Neocolor watercolor crayons: A small set is fine. Not essential but they are fun to draw with and produce wonderfully rich colors when wet with brush.
  • Crayola crayons: In lieu of Neocolors. A pack of 24.
  • Scissors: 8” size. Cheap is fine. (Again IKEA has a great set of 3 different sized scissors for about $6.)
  • Acrylic Matte Medium: A small jar is more than enough. We will use as glue. Glue stick can also be used but matte medium works best.
  • Black acrylic ink or paint
  • Restickable Glue Stick
  • Photos of people’s faces: These can be cut from magazines or photos you have. They should be about 2” x 3”.

Note: Whatever brands you prefer are just fine!

catbioCat Bennett

Cat Bennett is artist and author. In her Saturday Morning Drawing Club, she teaches drawing as a way to meet the true creative self. Her book, The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind, published by Findhorn Press 2010, was a gold medal winner in the 2011 Nautilus Book Awards. Her book Making Art a Practice: How To Be the Artist You Are, and her newest book, The Drawing Club of Improbable Dreams: How to Create a Club for Art, are also published by Findhorn Press.

Cat worked as an illustrator/designer for about thirty years. Her illustrations have appeared in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun and Time Magazine, Houghton Mifflin, Scholastic, Harcourt Brace and many other publications. She has also made short animations for CBC-Sesame Street, Nickelodeon TV, WHDH-TV, WGBH-TV and various non-profits. She has exhibited her art in group shows in Boston, New York, and Tokyo.

Her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, LA Yoga Magazine, Yoga Magazine UK, Integral Yoga Magazine, Red, The American, Lightworker, High Spirit Magazine and others.

Check out Cat’s wonderful books:

catbook1     catbook2     catbook3

Nuts & Bolts

  • This class is now available as a self-study class.
  • Immediately upon class signup, you will receive access to the class videos and corresponding materials.
  • A private Facebook group will be available for you to (optionally) share your artwork and enjoy and learn from the artwork of others. You may also email your teacher directly with questions or feedback.
  • You will have indefinite access to this class.
“Cat, thank you for your warm and encouraging philosophy, which shines! You have helped to transform my view of art... and I'm excited to see all the fun of where that goes.” — Tamasin N.
“My sketchbook has become a daily companion in all of its colorful and messy glory.” — Mary R.
“This experience is a game changer; my sketchbook is filling up fast, each day is filled with inspiration, curiosity and positive challenges that helps me to expand and grow” — Tina M.