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Natural Drawing: Beyond Basics (Nov - Dec 2023)

H.G. Glyde with art students, 1947. Courtesy Banff Centre archives.

Natural Drawing Online Class Series 

Participants with some drawing experience, or graduates of “Natural Drawing Basics” are invited to sketch and draw in this five week progressive drawing class for adults. Join esteemed Teaching Artist in Residence Janice Tanton in this free interactive online series to explore drawing and mark-making techniques and drawing challenges designed to advance your practice and take you beyond the basics! (Ages 14+)

NOTE: This course is open to everyone.

Registration is now closed.

Confirmation of enrollment: Friday, September 29. (Participants will receive confirmation of enrollment by email, and those remaining on the waitlist will also receive an update of their status.)

Participants will engage in a fun five week program using Zoom plus a safe and private online community network to:

  • Expand their skills in seeing, value and composition 
  • Discover how rules of composition can help improve your drawing & strategy  
  • Learn different techniques through patterning and tessellation work 
  • Increase your understanding of strategies to successfully approach a finished drawing  
  • Play through weekly drawing challenges, articles and advanced drawing exercises 
  • Develop your drawing practice and work on a personal drawing project.


All classes encourage artistic exploration and conversation and will examine how the process of learning to draw can be meditative and beneficial to your self-awareness. We will discuss in deeper detail, the concept of your inner critic, your inner child and expand your daily drawing practice through a personal project PLUS examine the process of creativity. Together, we will explore new paths of learning through drawing. We will discover how a practice in drawing can increase your way of seeing in your daily life. You will learn to think like an artist and make new connections that will ultimately develop your ability to focus on other areas of interest in all parts of your life.
We will use a private community network for our online experience where you will meet like-minded participants. This platform has video lessons, interactive lectures, PDF workbooks, written lessons, weekly challenges and online interactive conversation with your fellow classmates and instructor. Live ZOOM meetings with the group will occur a minimum of once per week at a scheduled time, with recorded replays available to the group. One of the best benefits of this proven learning environment is the ability to learn, not only from the instructor, but from each other and to have the opportunity to engage in a safe and nurturing community, focused on the advancement of your drawing practice. All content is available 24/7, so you can find a time that is right for you and join from anywhere in the world.

This course is free.


“Lunch & Learn” Live Zoom session: 
Friday, November 3: 12:00-1:00 pm (MT) - Orientation and Welcome to the Platform

Live Zoom meetings will occur each Tuesday at 6:00 - 7:00 pm (MT): 
Tuesdays, November 7, 14, 21, 28, December 5: 6pm - 7pm MT

“Lunch & Learn” Live Zoom session: 
Friday, December 8: 12:00-1:00 pm (MT) - Closing Review and Next Steps

Participants can work at their own pace during each week of the curriculum.
All Zoom sessions will be recorded, and replay links will be provided for those who cannot attend the sessions.

With support from:

Course Information


While “Natural Drawing Beyond Basics” is a beginner level course, you are expected to have either - some experience drawing or have completed “Natural Drawing Basics” or attended a “Drawn To Nature” session in the past with Janice Tanton.

A basic knowledge of computer navigation is required. Participants should have a good understanding of their computer/device, how to take and upload photos, and how to set up and operate Zoom. 

Adults and participants ages 14+ are welcome. Please note this class is not suitable for children.

An online orientation “Lunch and Learn” to familiarize you with the platform will be provided on the first day of the course.

Course Requirements

1. You will need a device with which to download and use the Zoom platform for weekly virtual meetings/classes and also to sign into the community network (links and information will be provided prior to the course, and after your confirmation of registration.) Any iOS device, Android, laptop or computer will work. 

2. Participants should commit to checking in for the course content at least 2-3 times per week, uploading their drawing and homework and commenting on work with your fellow classmates. New units/exercises will be released every weekday. The more you engage with the practice assignments, instructor and community members, the richer your learning experience will be.  

Course Outline

The Natural Drawing: Beyond Basics Course will take participants through further basic drawing techniques over the five-week period. Here’s a general idea of what to expect:
Week One: Introductions, Understanding the Platform, Group Drawing Assignments, Projects
Week Two: Composition, Group Drawing Assignments, Critique & Project Work
Week Three: Line/Value Review, Group Drawing Assignments, Critique & Project Work
Week Four: Strategy Review, Group Drawing Assignments, Critique & Project Work
Week Five: Finished Project Drawings, Group Drawing Assignments, Final Critique.

Recommended Materials

Here is a list of recommended materials for this course, but if you only have a household pencil and a piece of paper, you are ready to roll! 

Pencils: 2H HB 2B 4B 6B (Optional - 4H, 8B)
Blending Stump (or Tortillon)
Eraser: Kneadable Eraser 
Pencil Sharpener (even a sharp knife will do if you don’t have one) 
Paper: Regular Bond Paper (the same that you would use in your home printer)
Sketchpad (any size that you prefer. Janice likes the Robert Bateman sketchbooks for the whiteness and texture of the paper. The 11x14 is a good size, but any sized sketchbook will do.) 

Completely Optional: Janice's preferred paper for finished drawings: Arches 140 lb. hot pressed watercolour paper (This is a 9x12 pad) Single Sheet Arches 140 lb. hot pressed watercolour paper (She order these and fold them to the size she wants for finished drawings.) 


This Course is free. Advanced registration is required for each class.

How to Register

Natural Drawing: Beyond Basics is open first to “grads” of Natural Drawing: Basics.

If remaining spots are available, participants with prior drawing experience will be accepted into Beyond Basic in order of registration.

The register link willl be posted on this page, so you may need to refresh your screen if you have this page already open when registration opens.
Please note: this course fills up quickly.

About Janice Tanton

Janice Tanton lives and works in the beautiful Rocky Mountains near Banff, Alberta. She is an Alumna of Distinction (Creative Arts & Design) from Durham College, and also studied at the University of Windsor BFA (Acting). She has been a practicing professional and award-winning artist since 1989, with a visual arts focus on realistic, narrative drawing and painting. 

A two-time recipient of Canada Council awards, her projects have focussed on developing a practice in the arts amongst diverse community members. Her large-scale paintings and drawings are critically acclaimed not only for their technical virtuosity, but for their fluidity and deep insight into the human condition featuring cross-cultural mash-ups. 

In 2005, Janice moved with her family to Treaty 7 Territory in the Bow Valley where she accepted a position to serve as Program Manager for Indigenous Leadership at The Banff Centre. Setting aside a successful art career to devote time to her family and her new role, Janice discovered artistic inspiration and support through close relationships with faculty and participants from indigenous communities from across Canada and Australia. She is greatly honoured to have been adopted as the daughter of Elder Tom Crane Bear of the Siksika Nation; initiated into the pow wow dance circle; is a tipi owner on behalf of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and has been given the Blackfoot name Iniskim-Aki (Buffalo Stone Woman).

For many years, Janice has been sharing her knowledge and lecturing at post-secondary institutions, art schools and workshops. In 2018, she was appointed Banff Centre’s first Public Program’s Teaching Artist in Residence, conducting the perpetually sold-out community “Drawn To Nature” programs. With the arrival of COVID-19, Janice developed a safe, engaging on-line learning community designed to provide a wider number of students with the opportunity to learn through her popular, easy-going teaching style and engaging perspective. 

"I am most interested in sharing what I have learned, and discovering new ways of seeing and thinking through the process of practice in the arts. I just want to get you drawing and comfortable so you can enjoy the journey!”