Thursday, June 30, 2011

Drawing Class: Magic with Toned Paper, at Old Town Artists

Check my Class Schedule for beginner drawing at Bloomington Art Center

My simple beginning Acrylic Painting Classes at Michael's in HarMar are perfect if you just want to play for a couple hours, learn some basics, and go home with a painting. Download a class calendar here!

I teach "Magic with Toned Paper" drawing (beginner to advanced) at Old Town Artists in St. Paul. It's a relaxed, fun place, and I am currently updating my class schedule for spring/summer 2012.

Want to learn to do this? It is so much easier than you'd think!

Upside Down Dog, sketch from life in black and white on brown paper, by Tracie Thompson
This drawing method, using black and white (and various earth colors) on tan or other non-white paper, dates back at least to the Renaissance. Artists commonly used tan, grey, blue, and even pink paper, drew on that in charcoal or other dark media, and then put the highlights in with chalk or white paint.

When I show my students how to do it, they say, "Wow! That's like magic!" -- and it is. It helps even novice artists make sophisticated-looking drawings, and best of all it's a lot of fun.

The class is open to anyone -- beginner to advanced -- and for practice in our first session, we'll start with brown paper from grocery bags. Why? Because they're the perfect color and texture, they're free, they're fun, and you don't have to worry about "wasting" anything while you get the hang of the technique.

We will draw from life, mostly in the studio (though if the weather's good we may play outside), and I promise: no cliche still-life setups with wine bottles and bowls of fruit. We'll bring in unexpected items -- children's toys, tools from the shed, seed pods, shoes and hats, and even your favorite objects from home.

If you already draw and want to learn to paint, this class is a great transition. Drawing this way teaches you to think like a painter and strengthens your ability to make good compositions. 

Advantages of taking classes at Old Town Artists include:

Great location with a beautiful view across the river
Studio has a fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, and water heater for tea; I will provide coffee, tea, sugar and creamer. Students may also bring food or drink (including wine and beer) of their own.
Plenty of free parking
Many other artists' work going on in the space, making it more than an average classroom

SPRING Classes: Saturday mornings, 10 to noon. Three weeks plus the optional fourth week "makeup class" (because life does happen, I allow for the fact that you might have to skip a session), April 7 through 28. Once again, pay for three classes and have the option of taking four.

Tuition: $60

Materials: $20 -- OPTIONAL -- if you already have black/white drawing materials and non-white paper, or wish to buy for yourself, feel free to bring your own. Or, for $20 I can provide a package which includes: 8 sheets of 11 x 15" tan Stonehenge paper; a carbon pencil; kneaded eraser; vine charcoal; white pastel; blade for sharpening pencils. Bring your own drawing board or use one of ours at OTA.

Comment here or email/send a Facebook message to me to sign up. Class is limited to just six students.


  1. Tracie,

    I have always admired your talent and you are so well qualified to teach drawing---something artists today need to learn much more of. Congratulations!
    Carol McArdle

  2. Oh, thank you, Carol! It's good to see you here.

  3. Hey Tracie - I want to take your class. Sounds fun! let me know if you have some space still - and how you want pymt. I'll check back later today. (We were in the same Springboard class last year.)

  4. Hi there! Drop me an email with your contact info and consider yourself signed up. I will take tuition payment in advance or on the first day of class.

    Let me know if you need a materials kit or plan to bring your own.

  5. Tracie,beautiful drawings! I would be interested in a future class since i already have committments this summer,please let me know if you will have a class in the Fall!

  6. Thanks, Debbi. I do plan to continue in the fall, though that schedule isn't yet set. I'll post it here once I have it.

  7. Hi! Is the class still open? My friend and I would like to take it!


  8. Tara, yes, there's room for the two of you. Drop me an email with your information, or give me a call -- 763-432-6476.