Why an OCA Drawing Foundation course?

You can get started with drawing even if you have never picked up a pencil!

This course is designed with beginners in mind, and will give you the best starting point to develop basic drawing skills and explore different ways of using materials and tools. You will gain a good understanding of what drawing is and might be, and be aware of contemporary drawing practice.

This course will provide the building blocks you will need to start out on a degree pathway and will help to build your confidence and familiarise you with the study skills you need to study from home. This is especially relevant if you have been out of education for a long time.

Foundation courses are similar to Level 3 study, however these courses are not accredited. Upon receiving your final assignment feedback you can request a certificate of completion.

  • Upon completion of the course, we hope you will be able to:

    • Have a developing ability in drawing.
    • Show increasing inventiveness in your approach to materials and tools.
    • Have an improved visual memory.
    • Have a greater understanding of what drawing is and might be.
    • Have more confidence in your potential as an artist and a growing sense of self-reliance.
    • Decide on the nature and direction of your future studies and art practice.

What you will study

There are five sections to this course.

  • Part One introduces you to the huge variety of drawn lines or marks, what they mean, their differences and possibilities. By experimenting with materials and tools, you’ll begin to appreciate how you can manipulate marks to achieve different effects.
  • Part Two will introduce you to the use of light and how it can affect the way objects or images are seen. Tonal variation is a basic drawing skill that will help you depict light and shade across any surface.
  • Part Three explores the illusion of form, creating the illusion of three-dimensional form on a two-dimensional surface and the principles that you can apply to help you when representing real objects on paper.
  • Part Four turns your attention to negative and positive space; the space that exists between and around those objects, such as might be found between vases in a still life arrangement.
  • Part Five gives you the option to begin exploring mediums that have drawn your interest. You’ll be introduced to print, storyboarding and photomontage, and college and text.

At the end of each section you will submit an assignment to your tutor. The assignments will give you a chance to assimilate your learning for each part of the course. Your tutor will then provide formative feedback to further your development. This can be a written report or video tutorial.

There is no examination at the end of this course.

What you'll need

OCA courses require a minimum level of English language and reasonably confident IT skills , as well regular use of a desktop or laptop computer with internet access.

Resources for the Foundation Drawing course can vary depending on interests of the student, and so we recommend purchasing resources as you progress through the course. However, to get started, you’ll need; 

  • Masking tape
  • Small (A5) sketchbooks and large pieces of paper (up to A1) 
  • Black pens with thick and thin points 
  • graphite pencils (soft B grades)
  • thick compressed charcoal sticks and thinner willow sticks

Costs you may find during your foundation course include the purchase of materials/books/texts to assist in your practice and research, and can be around £150-400 for fine art subjects. There are some student support bursaries available for help with purchasing resources through the Learner Support Scheme.  

Check your eligibility for a student support bursary here

Course delivery

This course is studied remotely and part time. There is no requirement to attend a residential school. When you're ready to begin the course, submit the online enrolment form and begin your course within two - three weeks.

Your course materials are accessible online through the virtual learning environment, OCA Learn, where you’ll also have access to student forums, a subject space and the student handbook.

You’ll work primarily from a set text of course materials and resources, but can also sign up to webinars, workshops and study groups in addition to your core learning. You’ll be assigned a tutor to support you through your studies and provide feedback on your assignments. You can contact your tutor via email, and the wider tutor team and student community through your department space on OCA Learn.

You’ll be able to complete a Foundation course within 12 months when dedicating the recommended minimum 10 study hours per week. If you have more time to dedicate, you can complete sooner.

Click here to review the course fee and funding options

Drawing from the Past

Interested in art history? Explore our Open Foundation in Drawing from the Past.

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BA Drawing

Looking for degree-level study? Explore our BA Drawing qualification.

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