School and College Workshops
Ian Murphy’s Art Workshops

All of Ian Murphy’s workshops are aimed to be fast paced, exciting and most certainly, challenging for the students. He often says that the success of the workshop is not just measured by the achievements on the day, but how the techniques and visual stimulus in the sketchbooks and the artwork inspire everyone
going forward.

One day Mixed Media Drawing

One day Mixed Media Drawing

An intense and fast paced workshop designed to introduce students a range of drawing techniques and processes, starting with sketchbook practice through to development strategies and into a finished piece.

Multiple days Painting & Mixed Media

Multiple days Drawing, Painting and Mixed Media

These days allow for a much more concentrated contact with a group of students.  Ian Murphy can explore a greater range of techniques, and push the students to larger scale and more experimental finished pieces of artwork.

Bespoke Workshop with Ian Murphy


You can have a direct input into the structure of your workshop.
Ian Murphy uses a large range of experimental materials and techniques
Contact us to discuss the best strategy for your students and your department.

Residency Programmes

Residency Programmes

The most comprehensive solution
Ian Murphy works in your school for an extended period of time, allowing for an exhibition of his work, prolonged contact with your students and possible programmes to extend into your wider school community. Residencies can only be arranged well in advance of an intended date.

What would you like to achieve
during the workshop?

What is the best structure for the day, or days?

Structuring the best workshop for your school or college is always our top priority, and with so many variables to consider, e.g. The number of days your funding allows, the restrictions of school timetables and room availability, etc. we know that good planning is essential.

We are quite happy to make your workshop ‘bespoke’ to suit your department strengths (or weaknesses), but essentially we always stress that the longer time we can get for Ian Murphy to work with your students, the better the results will be.

Knowing your students, the course they are studying, and the space available for them to work in, plays such an important part in the planning.

Ian Murphy workshops always follow his own particular creative lines of development, and as such, allow the students to experience the same critical artistic journey from the sketchbook drawing all the way through to the final artworks.

Student Numbers and Working Space

What is the maximum number of students for an Ian Murphy Workshop?

This is a very common question from teachers when they are preparing to host a workshop, and something we acknowledge can be influenced by funding issues, and awards from external art groups and societies etc.

Ian Murphy is happy to work with ANY number of students, whether it is a single group or a combination of classes. In the past this has ranged from intimate size groups of 10, through to schools that have had to facilitate a workshop to all their exam classes which has totalled over 80. We know that end of Key stage 3 and GCSE groups will likely be larger than A level or International Baccalaureate classes, so we just ask you to consider; what would you like your students to achieve in the day/s workshop; to get a taster of the mixed media processes, or would you like to create art works that are much more resolved?

Planning and Organisation of the Workshop

Important issues to consider: Ian Murphy’s introduction is an important first part of the session; is there sufficient space to house all your students comfortably in one room?


Inspiring the students with Ian Murphy’s large range of artwork and sketchbooks

Ian Murphy always aims to create the best creative environment possible for art students to work in, as such he always brings a lot of his artwork ranging from his sketchbooks through to the development drawings and paintings. The aim is to let everyone observe, first hand, the techniques and processes they are going to learn throughout the workshop/course. It is ideal if this work can be displayed in a safe manner, and be easily visible to everyone in the working space throughout the session.

Sometimes, if the working space allows, the work can be put onto boards or walls around the room, if not, the work can be initially placed on the tables and then stored safely once the students own work commences.

Allowing the students to see and touch his artwork and sketchbooks is such an important part of the introductory process and one that Ian Murphy sees as an invaluable way to motivate the students for the challenges that lie ahead during the sessions.

Sketchbook Work

This is the integral part of Ian Murphy’s starting process, and is always the first element of the practical sessions that he delivers to a student group. The length of your workshop dictates the amount of variation that he will introduce during this session.

how to draw in sketchbook
Artist sketchbook
Art sketchbooks
How to create a sketchbook

Classroom Sketchbook Work

During a classroom based sketchbook session Ian Murphy will focus on the technical skills he uses in his drawings and also challenge the students to extend their compositional understanding. All these initial sketches will be small scale and focused on mark making and tonal understanding with an emphasis on speed and energy.

Working Outside

Some schools are very keen to promote first hand sketchbook drawing, and like to build in time to work directly from the outside environment.
With longer workshops we will be able to explore the full range of drawing techniques and strategies that he uses whilst on location.

Sketchbook idea
things to draw in a sketchbook

Here, during an extended workshop, a group of students are working from their local natural environment.

Ian Murphy inspired piece sketchbook
Tone Sketchbook
Hong Kong Sketchbook
Ian Murphy inspired sketchbook

Student sketchbook study pages from Shatin College, Hong Kong

Ian Murphy Quote

Ian Murphy:

“I like to challenge the students to work quickly in these first drawing sessions, I think it allows them to gain experience of making energetic and spontaneous marks, which is exactly the way I work on location.”

Discovering the best Visual Language

Experimental Drawing

The work in this part of the workshop will be produced on A2, or A1, white cartridge paper, depending on the size of group and the amount of space available on the table.

This session is vital to the students understanding of materials and the best way to discover the vast range of marks to use in the process of drawing. This is very much the transitional stage from sketchbook work through to the development ideas that makes up such a critical part of the Art and Design coursework.

Ian Murphy Quote

Ian Murphy:

“I want to encourage every student to just ‘Have a go’ and experiment with all the techniques and processes I show them, regardless of their age or experience.”

Development Drawing

Ian Murphy likes to extend the group to work from small scale to large scale development pieces depending on the time available during the workshop. If there is sufficient space for all the students, he recommends going up to A1 scale, if not, A2 would be fine.

One Day Workshops: Development Drawing

In a one day workshop, to help with drying time, this element of the work will normally be started before lunch with an aim to develop the processes further in the afternoon session.
Extending the students throughout the day is a key element to Ian Murphy’s aims, and he always wants the students (time permitting) to get a major piece of work started using all the techniques they have experimented with previously in the day.

We can provide visual stimulus for all the elements of the workshop to make everything run more efficiently, but Ian Murphy always thinks its best, particularly with older students, that they have their own ideas (drawings and photographs) to use at this stage of the workshop.

Extended Workshops: Materials and techniques

Ian Murphy is always keen to share with students his passion for the more experimental materials and techniques he uses in his studio, but given the complexity of some of the layers and the drying time needed between each process, this is only available in multiple day workshops.
We would recommend that this workshop is best suited to older, exam based, students who are open to working with experimental techniques and layers.

Extended Workshops: Painting and Mixed Media

Working with paint and mixed media is also a very popular workshop for many schools. We would particularly recommend that schools undertake an Ian Murphy drawing workshop first to gain experience of his working strategies and processes before undertaking this extended programme.

Development work and Finished Pieces

Working with mixed media and paint during this workshop is very much geared towards creating development studies and finished pieces. In order to challenge and extend everyone, it is very common for students to produce multiple pieces throughout the sessions, this allows for the important drying time between processes, and encourages an experimental and exciting approach to the combinations of surface texture and colour.

Ian Murphy Quote

Ian Murphy:

“I like to introduce students to my creative processes, but I love it when they take these challenging techniques and apply it to their own ideas and concepts.”

Student artwork inspired by Ian Murphy

These students range from primary through to GCSE and IB, and have all used the techniques from the workshops and applied them to their own ideas.

Ian Murphy uses both water based and oil based products in his work, we would recommend that you look through the materials list for this type of workshop to see what the best strategy for your school is.

Drawing, Painting and Mixed Media Workshops

Materials & Equipment

Drawing and Mixed Media (Essential)

  • Graphite pencils, Graphite sticks and Graphite powder
  • Erasers, masking tape
  • Fine Line Pens
  • Black Ink
  • Cartridge paper (A3, A2 and/or A1)
  • White Tissue paper (Art tissue paper – not hand washing type)
  • Brown wrapping paper or any neutral coloured paper
  • Newspaper
  • PVA glue
  • White emulsion or acrylic (acrylic is better)
  • Sandpaper


  • Glue spreaders
  • Water pots and brushes
  • Hair dryers, or an iron, for fast drying of the artwork
    (It is essential that we have the ability to dry the work quickly in between some of the processes)

Painting and Mixed Media

  • Oil Paint or Acrylic (depending on your school/college work space
    and storage situation)
  • Palettes (These need to be flat and as large as possible, not the 6
    dish kind)
  • Wall filler, scrim (old plastering scrim), wax (batik)
  • Studio Gum
  • Varnish (oil or water based)
  • Palette Knives

Ian Murphy can bring the extended workshop materials with him, along with Graphite powder.
International Schools – Please contact us for details of the extended workshop materials

The important issues to consider are:

1. Ian Murphy’s introduction is an important first part of the session; is there sufficient space to house all your students comfortably in one room?

2. Adequate working space (tables or easels) for all the students to work freely, especially for the groups who want to work large scale.

3. If you have multiple classes joining together, do you have sufficient teacher/technical support to ensure the session runs smoothly?

4. Ian Murphy likes to discuss, on an individual basis, ideas, techniques and development possibilities with the students during the workshop (particularly A level and IB students). Please be aware that it is much more difficult when the groups are large.

Thank you! We will contact you quickly.

Residency Programmes and Summer Schools

There are several schools and colleges throughout the world who now, on an annual basis, use Ian Murphy as a resident artist to work alongside staff and students in the art department. This extended programme has so many benefits for everyone in the school or college;

Art Exhibitions: Schools take up the opportunity to have an Ian Murphy exhibition, allowing everyone the chance to see and learn from his work for a longer period of time.

Staff Development: Ian Murphy is a very experienced art educator and CPD provider, and wholly supports the development of the teacher as a practitioner. Residencies allow the essential time and opportunity to work alongside each other, and share tutorial sessions with students.

Extending skill sets and personal ideas: This programme allows for the prolonged contact with students to further their personal ideas as well as the technical side (ideal for overseas students looking to continue their art studies in the UK Art & Design programmes).

Wider School community: Many schools like to extend the opportunity to running art workshops to a wider school audience, and coupled with an exhibition, the residency allows for parents, family and friends to get involved and possibly re-kindle, their creative development.

Ian Murphy Art Residency
Resident Artist Ian Murphy

Overseas visits and Drawing tours

Ian Murphy’s knowledge and expertise of working directly from the environment has lead schools to utilise his skills on their overseas visits. These drawing programmes are very thorough and are planned well in advance, we usually need 12 months notice to ensure availability.

Art Drawing Tour
Drawing tour to Venice
Art Workshop Tour

Please contact us if you would like further information about these drawing programmes.

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Free gift for teachers!

Creating Great Sketchbooks

7 ideas I use in my sketchbook drawing when I am on location
I always stress the importance of my sketchbook to my creative practice - it is my constant companion whenever I travel, and it provides me the best solution to record the environment around me. I have always drawn in a sketchbook, its second nature to me, and it is one of the main things that students love to look through during my workshops. The downloadable booklet will give you an insight into the creative strategies I use when I draw in my books and hopefully it will provide you with a substantial aid to share with your students.
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Creating Great Sketchbooks

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