Heather Byrne

Gathering found objects for drawing

Heather Byrne

This workshop is a fun and creative approach to drawing with found objects you can gather from your favourite walk, a trip to the park, the beach or even from your garden. I will show you easy ways to turn these finds into mark making tools for drawing.


It is such a fun activity and a found feather or broken shell is a lovely connection to the place you have been to, a keepsake, a little art treasure, but also useful as a mark making tool.

Some artists also use the objects as part of the painting as collage pieces – which is another interesting approach you can try.


This is all about experimenting and trying different ways to make a series of marks. It is about enjoying the process and above all having fun being creative with new tools.


Exercise 1 Gathering

Go and explore and see what you can find. I will show you some examples of what to collect, but really it is fun and up to you to gather a selection to experiment with.

Sticks, twigs, leaves, bottle tops for round shapes, string, textured surfaces, fragments of shells, feathers and more!


Exercise2 Making some brushes in the studio

I will show you easy ways to make some drawing tools from nature and look at what marks they can make. Be playful and work on different sizes of paper, small, big pieces of paper, cardboard or brown wrapping paper, it shouldn’t be expensive paper as this is for play, you can even draw on the back of an old drawing, experiment, make different marks, be bold, be soft, be scratchy, be linear. and be messy!


There are endless possibilities and it really is up to you to find what marks you like and make it personal to you. Using unusual objects, a stick or a pen made from feathers dipped in ink will make unexpected marks and is a great way to loosen up your drawing and stops us from being too controlled with are marks.


Exercise3 In the landscape

I will show a few examples of techniques you can try. In one example I will take a long twig with a charcoal stick tied on the end and use it to draw in the landscape on a large piece of paper. Tying a pencil or pastel to a long branch takes away your ability to control the mark and you get unexpected lines and exciting drawings.

We would love to see what you make!


Post your found painting tools and any finished art you created with the tools and don't forget to tag the festival!