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Meet the Pro: Rosa Roberts from Sketchout

Sketchout makes use of the visual and cultural wealth of London’s museums working from the collections, benefitting from the amazing spaces and light. Whilst many people wander through the capital’s world famous museums, Sketchout offers drawing courses the encourage you to engage with the artwork and take a more profound look at the collections.

We meet Rosa Roberts, Visual Artist and Founder of Sketchout to learn more.

Where did you passion and learning for drawing begin? I’ve always been drawing, even from when I was a kid and it appeared that I had a natural talent for it. When I was at school I decided I would do my degree in Painting, Drawing and Printing at Central Saint Martins. It’s quite a forward thinking school, so I practised figurative artwork but not in a traditional sense, there was also a social commentary going on as well.

Did you have a good teacher yourself and when did you start teaching? I had lots of very good art teachers at school and I just loved that feeling of going to the art room, it was always the fun part of the school day. That and Sports I always really liked. I started teaching children about seven years ago in a studio in Chelsea (Chelsea Fine Arts) where we worked from still life, pictures and photographs.

What do you enjoy about teaching? I want to give my students the freedom to be creative, with guidance, so they feel they can be creative in a comfortable setting. I want to give people a ‘way in’ because I get the feeling people want to do it, but that perhaps they’re not good enough or that they can’t do it, there’s a block for lots of people.

The pleasure in teaching comes from seeing the absolute relaxation and sense of accomplishment people feel at the end of the day when they come out with something they’re proud of. It’s a great feeling to be able to inspire that in someone. Ultimately it’s a really nice way to spend a day, everyone leaves feeling better than when they went in. Drawing is very direct, tactile and focused; it’s a great way to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life.

Do you have any tips or advice for someone who has been considering learning more about drawing? Come and do a class! When you draw at home you can end up choosing difficult materials, difficult things to draw and get put off quite quickly thinking you’re rubbish when actually all you need is a bit of guidance. Taking a class is sociable, it’s fun, and you can see some beautiful collections and museums in a new light. There’s also a lot of learning to be had from the student group, there’s this collective, creative energy where everyone starts to flow.

What class would you recommend for someone starting out? Generally I would advise most people to do our Drawing Fundamentals class at the V&A first. Almost everyone who comes to us does that one first. No matter what your level of drawing, it’s a great introduction into the basics of drawing giving you a good foundation and understanding of how to see line and tone. After that come and do any other class depending on your interest, be it drawing landscapes or faces.

How do you select which museums or galleries to use as the locations of your classes? They have to have the right space and of course an inspiring collection that I think people can do some nice drawings from. This can be the hardest thing to find as you need to find the right level of artwork to get people started on, something simple on which they can build their confidence.

What are your favourite museums in London? My favourite art museums in London are the Courtauld Gallery, they have a great selection of landscapes, The National Gallery is one of my favourites but space-wise doesn’t quite work for a class. The National Portrait Gallery is also great and super accessible for everyone, especially as people love drawing faces, it’s one of our most popular classes!

If you’re interested in drawing in London’s most renowned and beautiful museums, check out Sketchout’s classes here.