2020 Foundations Friday 8-12: Urban Sketching Training

June 19, 2020 | Leave your thoughts

We are just coming to the end of a Group Run-through for my SketchingNow Foundations course. As always, there has been a wonderful group going through the lessons – doing great work and supporting each other in the classroom.

In the second half of the course we look at some essential techniques and concepts for sketching on location – for urban sketching. These are concepts which I develop further in the Edges course and also Watercolour On Location. It’s been great for me to go through these lessons again in preparation for Watercolour On Location, and it’s good timing as I’m just starting to sketch outside again after our lockdown period. It always does me good to be reminded of core concepts and techniques!

Here is a quick summary of the additional demos I’ve added into the classroom recently.

Lesson 8: Balancing Line and Colour

Before heading outside, we looked at how to balance line and colour and in particular how to make sure that we don’t draw too much in ink before applying watercolour.

I did these quick examples with my knitted tea cosy. A few of the versions were intentionally designed to demonstrate undesirable results 🙂

Lesson 9: Composing the View

The next week, I took my camera out on location and tried to use a viewfinder on my iphone.

It was a good experiment but I much prefer to use a physical viewfinder as using my phone camera dramatically changed my perception of the scene.


Lesson 10: Creating a focus

For this demo I talked about some techniques for sketching from photos and then did a series of thumbnails for two photos of the main space in Asolo (a gorgeous town in the Veneto which we visit as part of the Palladian Odyssey tours). So even if some of us still get outside sketching, we can focus on ‘urban sketching training!’

I really love doing multiple thumbnails of the one scene.

Lesson 11: Working from a focus

Another demo using a photo of Asolo – I started my sketch with no plan and let it evolve as I worked.

This is my favourite way of working!

Lesson 12: Reviewing your work

Lesson 12 is not scheduled until next week, but for this Group Run-through I’ll be hosting two Q&A livestreams. I’m really enjoying doing livestreams for my SketchingNow courses these days, so I’m really looking forward to these.
If you have signed up for Foundations in the past, you will be able to participate in these livestreams. I’ll be sending out an email next week – so keep an eye out for it.

It’s been so much fun to host this Group Run-through and especially as it wasn’t originally planned for 2020. It was a bonus event added when my big trip for the year was cancelled. I always LOVE going through the Foundations lessons, so it has been a real treat for me to be able to offer this.

I want to express a massive thank you to everyone who has been part of it. I hope to see many of you in next week’s livestreams.

Final note: If you have enrolled in Foundations at any time, you can watch these demos for free. Simply go to the Foundations (Self Directed) classroom and check out the bonus material section for each lesson.


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