Silverpoint Drawing: Process, Tradition and Legacy


Discover the Renaissance practice of Silverpoint Drawing and its legacy in these six weekly online tutorials

Explore the versatility and dynamism of silverpoint drawing by by learning the approach of the Renaissance Masters and their impact on history

  • Sessions delivered live on Zoom
  • Classes begin with an in-depth explanation and presentation on each topic
  • Live technical drawing demonstrations accompany every drawing exercise
  • Classes are fully participatory: questions are encouraged and individual feedback given
  • Classes are recorded and available to stream for the full duration of the course
  • The main focus of each session is on Renaissance drawing methods and principles
  • Suitable for people of all levels of drawing experience
  • Using a Silverpoint Stylus and Prepared Paper is recommended but not required. Pencil can be used as an alternative.
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Course Overview:

Explore the versatility and dynamism of silverpoint drawing by by learning the approach of the Renaissance Masters and their impact on history. These six practical drawing tutorials teach you how to use silverpoint to its full potential using traditional methods, materials and theories of design. You will discover the elegant and variable linear qualities of silverpoint as well as how to create effective tonal modelling with economy and precision. The practical focus of this course centres on the materials and techniques of Renaissance artists such as Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Lorenzo di Credi. Your learning will be fostered by drawing from both historical examples of artwork and objects in your physical environment. This course allows you to participate in the Renaissance craft and tradition of silverpoint drawing while building on its legacy with an awareness of how silverpoint has been used in modern times. While this course focusses on drawing with silverpoint, and using a Silverpoint Stylus on Prepared Paper is recommended, it very much focussed on the process, principles and application of Renaissance Drawing generally. This means that you can take part and draw with whatever you like while learning in-depth about Renaissance drawing and the use of silverpoint.

You Will Learn:

  • Where Silverpoint Drawing came from and how it developed in the Renaissance
  • How to use silverpoint effectively with dynamic linear and tonal qualities
  • How silverpoint drawings were made in the Renaissance
  • Why drawing in silverpoint drawing requires a pigmented ground to work
  • How artists prepared paper and other surfaces for silverpoint drawing in the Renaissance
  • How to use silverpoint effectively for developing drawing skills
  • The ways silverpoint drawing can enhance your creative process
  • An historical process for drawing portraits, figures and plants
  • How artists have used silverpoint from the 19th century to today

Course Structure:

Week 1 – The History and Origins of Silverpoint Drawing: The Line Within a Likeness | Drawing the Profile

Week 2 – Renaissance Learning and Workshop Practice: Acquiring a Foundation | Drawing the Features

Week 3 – The Renaissance Silverpoint Portrait Drawing: The Soul of the Subject | Drawing the Individual Face and Expression

Week 4 – The Renaissance Silverpoint Figure Drawing: The Body Positioned by the Mind | Drawing the Nude

Week 5 – The Form and Symbolism of Plants: Leonardo and the Delineation of Nature | Drawing an Organic Still Life

Week 6 – The Revival and Future of Silverpoint: From Renaissance to Modern Rediscovery | Drawing Visual Ideas and Compositions

Materials (What you will Need):

A Silverpoint Stylus and Prepared Paper is recommended but it is possible to take part with other drawing materials instead. This course teaches you about the historical materials and techniques employed in the Renaissance but does not demand that you have all of the materials, tools and substances used in the demonstrations and presentations. You can take part with a simple drawing pad and pencil if you wish.

If you are taking part on this course and intend to draw with silverpoint you will need a silverpoint stylus or a pointed measure of silver. Other metals like brass, copper and gold can be used as alternatives. You will also need prepared paper which can be as simple as a sheet of paper coated with watercolour, gouache or a modern commercial silverpoint ground.

The historical Silverpoint Styli and other Materials used in the teaching of this course and all demonstrations are available here


Additional information

Start Date

Wednesday 8 March 2023 4-6 pm UK Time, Wednesday 19 April 2023 4-6 pm UK Time