As sketchers, we are constantly looking for a picturesque scene to capture in a sketch. But have you ever thought of sketching a puddled alley, an overflowing dumpster, gas meters, or rusted, dented old, lackluster cars? Sometimes the scene might strike you as boring or unexciting until you learn to look at it differently.
In this workshop, we will go in search of those ugly areas that most cities try to ignore or hide and find out that we can make beautiful sketches and paintings. But don’t worry, Wes will also make sure you will be safe in the process as well. Wes will show you what tools to bring, how to look for the excitement in a gritty object or scene and how to turn that into sketches that make people go “How did you ever see that in a pile of trash?”
Observation Skills: What are the things most people ignore or look past that you can make more interesting?
Composition Tips: Keep your focus on one or two objects rather than a whole scene.
Texture and Color: You will learn how to make a dull, lifeless object into a beautiful subject.
Sketchbook of your choosing, your favorite pencil/eraser and pen
Bring other supplies that you are most comfortable with (but travel light). If you like watercolors, colored pencils or markers, bring a small set if possible.
Please bring a portable chair or stool to sit on in case seating is limited, a filled water bottle to stay hydrated and appropriate dress for the weather.
Please note: this workshop will require lots of walking between sketches. We do not expect it will be accessible to drive your car to the locations.
You never know where accidents will take you. Recently some Cobalt Teal pigment leaked all over my palette, and the next time I went out to sketch I was determined to use it up. It made its way into all my sketches for quite a long time, and in the process it led me down a new path with colour. Most of us tend to always dip into the same wells: green for trees, blues for sky. But what if the sky is yellow? Or the trees purple? The idea for this workshop is to open participants’ minds: to give them fresh ideas and options for using vibrant and luminous combinations of colours, as we explore two and three-colour combinations of pigments.
In this workshop participants will explore new ways of working with colour through limited palettes: brights, neutrals and opaques. We’ll see how painting the same scene in different ways changes our perception of the place. Students will be encouraged to move out of their comfort zones and explore new colour combinations.
In this workshop we’ll look at:
Exploring new triads of colour, both bright and muted
Creating a centre of interest through use of pure colour
Creating unity in our sketches by limiting our colours
Retaining luminosity and keeping colours fresh
Defining value relationships and creating lively darks through a wet-in-wet approach and modifying viscosity of paint
Good quality watercolours, either in tubes or fresh pans: hansa yellow, new gamboge, yellow ochre, cadmium red, permanent alizarin crimson, quinacridone rose, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, prussian blue, phthalo green.
Portable watercolour palette
Watercolour sketchbook (Moleskine or other) or loose sheets of watercolour paper on a backing board
Small plastic water bottles
Brushes: medium size round (size 8-10), small round for details (size 3)
Pencil, pen for drawing
Bulldog clips, kneaded rubber eraser, paper towels
This workshop will focus on adding depth and value to your urban sketch using pen and a minimal watercolor palette. The demonstration will walk through Paul’s thought process as he considers what he’s seeing and decides how to approach the sketch. Specifically, the demonstration will discuss the angle of light, where shadows fall, and how to get started in a potentially overwhelming location. You will then have time to experiment with light and shadows in a quick sketch exercise. After a friendly group review (not a critique!) of sketches, you will continue to hone your skills through three 20-minute sketches. This workshop will conclude with another group review and discussion.
In this workshop, participants will:
learn how to start a quick urban sketch with pen and ink without being overwhelmed by the busy city environment;
identify and apply a range of values; and
Practice adding watercolor to enhance their pen and ink drawing, focusing on a consistent angle of light and where the shadows fall
Sketchbook (watercolor or multimedia weight)
Micron pens or similar type of pens
At least three to four watercolor tube or cakes. (The Windsor & Newton pocket palette is a great option)
Paul will focus on only using these colors (depending on location conditions):
In this workshop we will learn how to draw “curved” space in a technique I call Umbrella Perspective, but with a Chicago twist! We will apply specific strategies of thinking about in perspective to create sketches that appear curved or spherical, not unlike a photograph taken with a “fish eye” or wide angle lens.
So-called “curved” perspective has become a fun and novel approach in urban sketching, but it can also feel a bit confusing when it comes to how to begin your sketch. This workshop will take some of the mystery out of terms like “curvilinear” and “spherical” perspective and even simple-sounding words like “wide angle” and “fish-eye” that are descriptive but don’t give the sketcher any insight into where to start.
Go over basic 1, 2 and 3-point perspective with emphasis on intuitive concepts
Apply “umbrellas” to receding edges and lines in the cityscape to create curved perspective drawings
’Seeing’ relationships between objects versus ‘naming/defining’ objects
Understanding scale relationships and proportions
Foreshortening and angle-finding through ‘sighting’
Economizing visual information and selecting detail
Hard light pencils that are easily erased (recommend 4H – 6H)
In this workshop, the subjects of our art will be the people of this great city. Watching from the shadows, we will observe closely while drawing quickly. We will be the fast and the sketchy. We will be gone in 60 seconds. A Sneaky Artist draws beauty from their immediate surroundings, without drawing attention. Like an art-ninja!
By the end of this workshop, we will see how human presence lends relevance and meaning to the urban landscape. We will see how simple linework can illustrate character and evoke personality. We will conclude with a throw-down to celebrate our collective trip through Chicago.
Participants will gain confidence to take a sketch from start to finish in a short amount of time. This opens up countless opportunities to sketch at airports, bus-stops, restaurants and bars, without constantly annoying one’s friends and family.
Minimizing linework to keep a clean page
Seeing the city with respect to its people
Selective detailing to save time and give emphasis
Sketchbook with up to 2 pens or pencils of choice. No erasers!
Capture boldness and vibrancy in your urban sketches utilizing color pencils and art sticks. Broaden your skills using color pencils and the use of color pencil art sticks.
Learn how the blending and layering of color pencils can bring out bold color, texture, depth, and richness in their sketches
Learn techniques for drawing hard and firm with color pencils and art sticks.
Learn blending and shading techniques of color pencils with graphite.
Learn techniques to sketch windows, water, and sky.
Learn techniques for sketching brick, stone, and field of color.
Color pencils: A minimum of a 24-pack is recommended. Additional pencils of white, shades of blues, reds, greens, and grays. Cream, Terra Cotta, and Burnt Orange are additional colors suitable for buildings and ornament; Caron d’Arch Luminance, Caron d’Arch Pablo, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Derwent, and Berol Prismacolor are all good brands of pencil. Art Stix: Prismacolor, 12 pack or 24 pack.
Sketchbook or pad of paper, minimum A5 size. Smooth grained paper is preferred but not required.
Graphite pencils: Various lead weights from soft to hard; 4B, 2B, HB, 2H, and 4H.
Small stool or chair (optional)
I will bring numerous spare color pencils for participants to use.
Participants will create a sketch in ink outline using a fountain pen, then add monochrome tones of water-soluble graphite. A light pencil undersketch may be used.
Participants can use any fountain pen they bring, or choose from a variety of fountain pens provided for the workshop by the instructor. Several of those pens have a Fude-style bent nib, excellent for calligraphy and expressive sketching. Fude nib has the ability to lay down both thick and thin lines, and to vary them accordingly to the angle & direction nib touches paper. This results in expressive, variable lines.
Simplify/exclude elements to speed up drawing process;
Assess values according to light conditions;
Ink shapes of similar value;
Draw ink lines with expressive, variable stroke;
If using fude, learn to control line thickness by nib angle and direction;
Identify and concentrate attention on focal point area;
Experience use of fude nib
One 1/4 sheet of watercolor paper, any brand, weight and texture. Cold press / rough 140# weight is preferred
Pencil, sharpener and pencil eraser, any hardness; anything 2B–H, or a standard No2 pencil, will do
Fountain pen with standard nib, or with Fude nib. Larger sized nibs (medium-bold) preferred. A number of fountain pens will be available for testing during the seminar. While this seminar lists Fude in its title, some sketchers may prefer to use a standard nib – but at least they tried..
Fountain pen ink: any waterproof ink that works with your fountain pen. Brands include Platinum Carbon (my own choice), Noodler’s Bulletproof inks, De Atramentis Document, and few others. Do not use India ink in fountain pens!
Water-soluble graphite: LYRA solid graphite watersoluble stick, or any other source of solid soluble graphite (Derwent, Viarco..). Instructor will distribute pieces of LYRA stick for use.
Water source: small jar or (spray) bottle to wet graphite stick pan
Brush: any size/style brush capable of picking up wet (graphite) paint; typical watercolor brush will do, larger size is preferred so graphite washes can be laid with a “one-stroke”, or just few repetitions
Support board, folding seat, sun hat, water bottle… and your usual sketchers paraphernalia
Chicago is a vibrant city overflowing with wonderful things to sketch, but sometimes those details can be overwhelming, especially when working in ink. This workshop will focus on creating energetic sketches of lively urban spaces without an eraser.
We’ll use bold greyscale markers to loosen up and lessen our fears. We will experiment with loose, flowing lines to get a sense of what Chicago feels like, rather than get bogged down in excessive detail.
Participants will learn to confidently capture the energy of a street by using
Dynamic composition with a focal point
Line and shape
Strong sense of value
Connected shapes to unify the sketch
One or more technical pens (black ink)
Markers – black and two or more gray values (the instructor will demonstrate with Copic Wide Markers and Pitt Big Brush markers but participants may bring any sketching material that allows them to create a range of values.)
The workshop will start with a quick introduction to choosing our subject and point of view while embracing both visual richness and simplicity. Working in a location with architecture, people, and possibly plants/trees, you will learn techniques for quick ink-based sketching, using both permanent and water-soluble inks for line, texture, and washes.
In this workshop, participants will
learn to choose/edit a view from the location and start their sketch;
learn basic techniques for using both permanent and water-soluble pen and brush-pen inks; and
Explore strategies that balance visual richness with simplicity in sketches of the urban environment.
When I introduce a class to the topic of using permanent and water-soluble inks, I usually give away two very common cheap pens … an ultra fine point Sharpie and a Flair felt tip pen. For the workshops perhaps more experienced sketchers, I would suggest:
Your favorite permanent (not water-soluble) ink pen: a Pitt pen, a Micron, or even a fountain pen with a permanent ink like Platinum Carbon Black or Lexington Grey
Your favorite pen that uses a water-soluble ink: Pilot Varsity, Platinum Preppy, etc.
A Pentel Pocket Brush Pen
A water-brush (round tip) or a round watercolor brush and water
Sketchbook or sketch paper that can handle moderate applications of water
Optional: a favorite standard or mechanical pencil and an eraser
Optional: wet or dry color to add to your sketch afterwards
Part of what makes an urban landscape so unique is the people, but drawing people can be intimidating. Let’s “face” this, together! This workshop will look at capturing people – not their specific appearance, but their energy and gestures. As humans, we occupy space. We have weight, form, and movement. In this workshop, you will engage in drawing exercises that focus on isolating each of these elements. How do we incorporate and capture these ideas into a drawing? You will then use some Play-Doh modeling clay to help visualize heads and faces as forms in light, and study foreshortening by considering simplified facial features from different points of view. You will then return to drawing, incorporating insights from each of the exercises into sketching people into your landscapes.
In this workshop, participants will
practice focusing on the content of the drawing rather than the subject;
learn to capture the energy, gestures, and presence of people; and
explore foreshortening of people and sketching people in a scene.
Drawing materials of choice (for example: pencil, charcoal, inks, sketchbook)