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Courses online with Kent Adult Education to learn new skills while at home

While some may have been limbering up their muscle for online workouts, some of us may fancy stretching their creative muscles instead.

But while the thought of taking up a new hobby or honing a dormant skill is appealing, where do you start? Kent Adult Education has moved all its courses online during the current crisis, and there's a wealth of skills you can try. We tried one out to see what it was like...

Why not learn - or revive - a skill while at home?
Why not learn - or revive - a skill while at home?

Does the thought of an evening class conjure up images of a tutor with elbow patches on his jacket?

Then think again, because classes have moved with the times - so much so that Kent Adult Education is embracing the latest technology - Zoom - in these different times to keep people interested, challenged, educated and feeling productive, all with expert help.

Just looking at the list of courses on offer at the moment, which can all be done at home online, will make you feel like you've learnt something.

Everything ready for the Pen & Ink Illustration Day
Everything ready for the Pen & Ink Illustration Day

They range from the arts to business and IT; crafts, languages and history; to writing, counselling and even fitness and wellbeing.

Armed with my rusty A level art, I opted for a one-day course on a Saturday (so it didn't interfere with work) in Pen, Ink and Wash.

After signing up, I was sent a list of materials by my tutor Victoria, which were available online, though I did attempt to get a few from the eerily quiet WH Smith in Maidstone, with a small degree of success.

They included a bottle of Quink ink; a black fineliner; a watercolour brush and watercolour paper, along with items we all have somewhere at home, such as pencil and rubber, kitchen towel and paper to sketch on.

The Zoom session meant "meeting" everyone doing the course and our tutor, though I never actually saw her face, but instead saw her work as she demonstrated the techniques, from sketching with biro, and fineliner, and getting the shading right, and onto using varying amounts of water with the ink to provide shade and texture to our paintings.

Could you learn while at home?
Could you learn while at home?

It quickly became apparent that the class was full of regulars to the KAE's art courses, so clearly people want to keep coming back! Initially, when we were asked to "show the class" our work, it was a bit nerve racking, but that soon disappeared as we all had varying degrees of success with different techniques. My fineliner drawing of a surprised-looking lemur was probably my favourite work of the day, though admittedly the course was meant to move me on from that to painting with ink. But it's all about creativity, so what one person gets out of it may be different to the next.

The lemur - how does it look?
The lemur - how does it look?

Only one attendee had to drop out due to internet issues, and the informal feel of the session meant we were all comfortable enough to opt for a half-hour lunch break and even discussed how sleepy we felt by the end, after so much concentration.

Working on a pen and ink wash painting for the Pen and Ink Illustration Day with Kent Adult Education
Working on a pen and ink wash painting for the Pen and Ink Illustration Day with Kent Adult Education

At the end of the day, there was definitely a sense of achievement, and a real feeling of having stepped out of my comfort zone, and been transported somewhere else. Whether I will get through that bottle of Quink I couldn't say, but who would have thought I could have broadened my horizons without leaving the house? That's worth a £7.25 ink bottle.

* This course, which was one day only, cost £45, with materials roughly £30, including delivery costs during lockdown.

To find a course suitable for you visit kentadulteducation.co.uk

For more things to do online during lockdown click here.

One of the pen and ink paintings
One of the pen and ink paintings


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