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.


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

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?


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:

“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.”

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.
Contact us to plan
your school workshop with Ian Murphy
Thank you! We will contact you quickly.
Contact us to plan
your school workshop with Ian Murphy
Thank you! We will contact you quickly.