Absolute Beginners: Practical Skills for Getting a Start in the Art Dept.

New dates TBC

Absolute Beginners: Practical Skills for Getting a Start in the Art Dept.

Date: (awaiting dates)

Duration: 6 days
Times: 10am - approx. 6pm
Capacity: Max. 9 participants
Fee: £900 

Following the success of our Technical Drawing and Six Production Design Essentials programmes, this 6-day course is aimed at beginners looking to break into the field of production design.

Nine participants will get a grounding in three of the most basic and indispensable elements needed to start work in a professional Art Department in Film and Television:

  • Drafting
  • Model Making
  • Location Surveying

You’ll also gain a vital insight into how an Art Department is organised, and how it relates to all the other departments on a Film or TV production.

This is an exciting and intense six days of pure practical experience and revelation. An organic process of learning will allow you to work entirely at your own pace. Under David McHenry’s guidance, each participant will receive the one-to-one assistance they need in each of the three areas to make the most of their time at LFS. 

David McHenry is a Production Designer and Art Director with over thirty years' experience of working in Film and Television. Most recently his skills have been in demand across several high-end TV productions, including GAME OF THRONES, OUTLANDER, BLACK SAILS and JOHN WICK 3.

Drawing boards image



Everyone working in the Art Department needs to be able to read a set of scenic plans. The first two days of the course will be devoted to the fundamental rudiments of hand drafting; enough to allow you to draw a simple set from a designer’s sketch. Reading a technical drawing is a language that needs to be learnt. Here, the symbols and mysteries will be explained.


Making a model of a studio set or location build is the second basic skill that is required. From a given set of plans David will explain the techniques of white card model making, enabling you to build an industry standard, professionally finished, presentation model.


This is one of the first big jobs an Art Dept junior will be asked to do. Location surveying is the process of “measuring up" a potential location, then preparing and presenting a legible drawing to scale. The final two days of the course will be spent surveying a given space with all its irregularities, and learning how to write and collate the data. This will enable you to make a plan with all the vital information about the location.

Model making



Tutor profile: David McHenry, Production Designer / Art Director

David McHenry has over 35 years experience in film and television design. He is presently working on OUTLANDER. Recent work includes BLACK SAILS, Peter Kosminsky's THE STATE and GAME OF THRONES. His work in feature films as production designer include JOHN WICK 3, LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND, JACKBOOTS ON WHITEHALL and as set designer on DREDD and RUSH. Extensive TV design credits include INSPECTOR MORSE. 

David McHenry has compiled his knowledge into an essential resource for aspiring professionals studying and working in film and TV design. The book covers all aspects of scenic drafting by hand – a technique still used because of its unparalleled emotive and aesthetic qualities. Order your copy on Amazon!