WS 01 – Fake It Until You Make It: An Introduction to Sketching the Urban Environment

Instructor:  Aaron Elswick


In this workshop, we will be learning a new way to view and explore the built environment by urban sketching downtown Chicago with a local urban designer. If you have ever wondered how to, or have ever wished to, improve your abilities in capturing the urban setting, this workshop is for you. This crash course drawing workshop will focus on capturing complex urban scenes with lines. The workshop will kick off with introductions, followed by brief urban sketching tips and tricks presentation and demonstration by the instructor. In this demonstration, the instructor will share with the group his approach to building a basic perspective, simplifying common urban elements into replicable features, and how to fake in elements to build a richer drawing.

Learning Goals:

  • Develop and understand the basic principles or rules of perspective drawing
  • Learn how to view the urban environment as a line drawing and how to break down complex scenes into simple forms
  • Learn how to save time and build confidence by not using an eraser
  • Learn how to build and create depth with the use of line weight and textures
  • Learn basic techniques for sketching the urban entourage

Supply List:

  • Sketch Book
  • Pen of choice
  • Rendering medium of choice


  • Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook – 5” x 8”
  • Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Sketchers Pocket Box (8 colors)
  • Niji Waterbrush – Medium
  • .01 Micron
  • Standard Uni-ball Onyx
  • Pilot Ultra Fine Point No XYLENE permanent type