Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pushing your SKETCHING Boundaries

Oxford is one of the greatest cities in the heart of England - the city of dreaming spires -. Everywhere you go there are beautiful locations, people, cyclists and loads of stories to tell. We have organised six different locations for the 3 day workshop and you would be experiencing them all, from the quirky Oxford University Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums to Radcliffe Square within the Bodleian Library complex, the Oxford Covered Market, scenes from St Giles’ and St Aldate’s streets and the views from Christ Church Meadow. Join Urban Sketchers Isabel Carmona, Miguel Herranz and Victor Swasky for 3 full days workshop that will get you to know Oxford intimately and to develop your personal urban sketching techniques.
The workshop will be hosted at The Old Fire Station Gallery in Oxford Old Fire Station where we will start and end each day and we will put up a developing exhibition of our the work created during each day in their gallery space.

It will be fun but hard work, as you will be enjoying learning and experimenting all the time, trying out different ways of drawing, sketching and using colour without fear, sharing the work we do and discussing our findings intensely. There are no mistakes in urban sketching only lessons.

Each of the instructors will explore different themes of urban sketching.

Locations & Instructors
St Giles Street - Miguel Herranz
Radcliffe Square - Isabel Carmona
Oxford Covered Market - Swasky
St. Aldate's - Miguel Herranz
Oxford University Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums - Isabel Carmona
Christ Church Meadow - Swasky

Colour in the eye of the beholder (Isabel Carmona) 

Isabel’s first theme is Colour: we all see colour different, as colour is light reflected and perceived by us on the back of the eye and stimuli sent to our brains.. How many times have you argued about What colour is this? Using watercolour as the main medium, we'll explore the idea of colour and contrast as the starting point of a sketch. In this workshop we'll start with colour (in watercolour) to abstract what we see, using colour boldly and with strong contrast. Drawing can take place later either with more colour more linear marks or with pen if preferred. We will talk about colour, perception, abstraction and individuality. Don't worry if you have not used watercolour before, the basics will be covered. If you've used watercolour before, be prepared to use strong colours! Isabel’s second theme is Texture: Learning to modify the paper surface that you are drawing on. Treating difference surfaces with texture will allow you to sketch/draw/paint almost anywhere. We can modify the surface that we are given during the drawing (wax crayons, salt) or before by preparing surfaces prior to sketching (gesso, collage, colour).

Thin line, bold sketch (Miguel Herranz)

Miguel’s theme is line. Following the line to see what it shows you over the paper, to wander between life and drawing, to see how your hand, your pen and your line give can give themselves another different life to the drawing. We will experiment how to sketch spaces with no reference or erasable tools (no rules, measures or pencils) in order to be able to put invisible reference points, add or divide dimensions, checking depths, heights and tilts on your paper just working with your eyes and mind. This will allow you to draw much slower but to finish the sketch much faster. The second exercise will be spiral drawing, which don not mean drawing spirals, but taking a main favorite little focus point that takes our attention and to draw it on the center of the page. Then drawing everything around following a spiral movement to avoid losing the reference of the focus point but letting it grow to all the page surface in a some kind of “organic” way.

Drawing people. The Walking Dead point of view or making up Frankenstein (Swasky) 

Drawing people is the most scary topic when we have assume how to draw a building. It is the most difficult for everybody,even for me. So let's go a bit further we will work most of time in the middle of nowhere, there where everybody doesn't want to go. Unpleasant feelings will be our first sensations but after a little bit of theory we will see that it is not so difficult. Human body is just a question of way of seeing things. Exercises will focus in drawing crowded scenes or locations where people is gathered. While capturing people in motion is often a challenge, this workshop will begin with some indicators about how to let go of the fear of drawing people, how to identify the body language. We will also remark all the stories which are behind each place in relationship to the people.

Workshop schedule

Tuesday 8 July
Welcome in the Old Fire Station Cafeteria in the evening at 4.30pm.

Wednesday 9 July
9.30am -12.30am Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops (St Giles, Radcliffe Square and Oxford Covered Market)
12.30pm- 1.30pm Lunch
1.30pm - 4.30pm Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops (St Giles, Radcliffe Square and Oxford Covered Market)
4.30pm -5.00pm Review (at Old Fire Station)

Thursday 10 July 
9.30am -12.30am Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops (St Giles, Radcliffe Square and Oxford Covered Market)
12.30pm- 1.30pm Lunch
1.30pm - 4.30pm Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops (St Aldate's Street, Oxford University Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums
4.30pm -5.00pm Review (at Old Fire Station)

Friday 11 July
9.30am -12.30am Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops (St Aldate's Street, Oxford University Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums)
12.30pm- 1.30pm Lunch
1.30pm - 4.30pm Isa, Miguel and Swasky workshops (St Aldate's Street, Oxford University Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums)
4.30pm -5.00pm Review (at Old Fire Station)

Saturday 12 July
44th Sketchcrawl in London

30 attendees maximum, 18 minimum. Any level of drawing experience is welcome.


We are pleased working with great tools but we recommend to check out Swasky's sketching gear, because he can draw with a biro, a pencil o just a twig. You can ask him on his Facebook's page.

Thanks to Stillman & Birn who will provide us sketchbooks for drawing with watercolor (Beta series) and Canson also supply to everybody sketchbooks (Inspiration Artbook).

Registration fee
225 £ including tuition and a Stillman & Birn sketchbook and one pack of two Canson Sketchbooks. To apply please email to:

Cancellation Policy: All fees are fully refundable if cancelled prior to 23 June 2014. If cancelled after 23 June, a 25 £ cancellation fee will be retained. In the event of too few registrants, all monies will be refunded.

Workshop map

About the instructors

Isabel is Spanish but studied in UK where she practices as an architect and artist. Her passion is watercolour, easy to carry around and sketch on the go and likes experimenting and mixing media to get interesting effects. Isabel started sketching in 1993 as part of her architecture training and continues to this day. She joined Urban Sketchers Spain in 2011. As an artist she is part of West Berkshire and North Hampshire Open Studios scheme and joined the Oxford Printmakers Cooperative in 2013. She participate volunteering the Barcelona USk Symposium as an interpreter in Barry Jackson workshop.

Miguel. After a long career as advertising creative in Spain and Italy, Miguel becomes a freelance illustrator a few years ago. Working all day with digital media drove him back towards the live touch of the sketchbook that had finally grown to become his main medium of expression. He participate as instructor with Swasky in the Santo Domingo USk Symposium, with What's Behind an Onion workshop, in 2012 and also organizing Barcelona USk Symposium.

Swasky born and raised in Barcelona, Swasky has been drawing most of his lifetime, but when he finished his BFA he left drawing because he tried to start working. Then he decided to start again a degree in Audiovisual Communication. Once he fulfilled his second degree he worked in an advertising production company, RCR, disappointed with a job so stressful and invidious he left his job and run a shop. With a new life he started drawing again and everything changed. Now he is freelance illustrator and teaches drawing to anyone who is interested in remember how proud she/he felt when was a child and drew over a piece of paper. He participate in Santo Domingo USk Symposium in Santo Domingo as instructor with Miguel and Herranz and was one the organizer of the Barcelona USk Symposium in 2013.

Monday, March 17, 2014

NAPLES INVENTORY: Collect the City

logo by Franco Lancio

Registration for this workshop is now closed. To be added to a waiting list or be informed about next Volterra's workshop (July 2014) for another italian adventurous sketching meeting, please email to simo.capecchi(at)

III° Naples Urban Sketching Workshop 
Thursday 5 - Sunday 8, June 2014 

In this third edition we will offer another deep immersion in the city of Naples through its diverse "collections": we'll be sketch hunting in some of the most famous city museums, but also in some animated historical districts. Sketchers are collector, obsessed sometimes by the need of filling their sketchbooks with the most exhaustive description of a place. Taking this habits to the extreme, we suggest to work on a city inventory, so that every participants will create his/her own neapolitan catalogue as a personal project. 
Our theme will be how to represent the contrast between order and disorder, the perception of a single object in the multitude of people, signs, objects and artifacts that form an urban environment. Participants will be guided to discover Naples by different approaches to urban sketching. Field sessions will be lead in turn by Simo Capecchi, an architect that likes to paint; Caroline Peyron, a French art teacher and artist based in Naples; Federico Gemma, an awarded wildlife artist from Rome, and Nina Johansson, a talented artist and teacher from Stockholm. 

locations / instructors 
City Icons, City Signs - Quartieri Spagnoli with Simonetta Capecchi 
Sketch Hunt - Zoological Museum with Federico Gemma 
Ways to collect a place - Montesanto market with Nina Johansson 
Order and Disorder - Capodimonte & Archeological Museums with Caroline Peyron 

City Icons, City Signs with Simonetta Capecchi 
In the Quartieri Spagnoli I am fascinated by the tangle of people, objects and artifacts that invade, fill or decorate public streets. Clothes hanging, drying rack, chairs and furniture left on the street, sacred images and altars, parabolic antennas, displays of a variety of goods... Quartieri Spagnoli is also an open-air museum for writers cyop&kaf and their hundreds graffiti are signs that dont go unnoticed among these narrow streets. 
Among all this, we can look for repetitive elements, like endless variations on the same theme. With ink, markers, pastels and colored pencils we'll try to depict this lively environment. A sort of treasure hunt can be made looking for signs and icons that can be most significant to represent this neighborhood. Each one will create a personal map of all his/her sightings. 
Learning goals: To be selective and dont get lost in front of a multitude of signs. To find a personal manner to describe a place and to organize a sequence of drawings in a coherent way. Compose a page that has a graphic value, emphasizing colors, lines and shapes we can see around us. 

Simo Capecchi, near Santa Maria la Nova in Naples

Sketch Hunt with Federico Gemma 
The Zoological Museum of Naples hosts one of the finest 17th century collections of stuffed mammals, birds, reptiles and insects, included some rare and extinct animals. Even if I usually draw animals alive and in their natural habitat, museums of this kind offer a great occasion to practice and understanding animals anatomy and structure. In this sketching hunt, participants will be guided to create and organize their own zoological collection in their sketchbooks. 
Learning goals: Participants will practice the technique of watercolour, the choice of colours and how to enhance the light and transparency. The importance of choosing the right paper and the different effects that can be obtained painting on wet and dry paper. How to achieve luminous grays and neutral tones. How to choose a subject and how to draw shape and volume in a correct way before add details. 
Federico Gemma, Museo Zoologico di Roma
Federico Gemma, Oxford Natural History Museum

Ways to collect a place with Nina Johansson 
There is more to most places in a city than just the things we see around us. There is always an ambiance of colour, light, sound, smell and movement to add to the scene, and there are always little stories going on, things happening. Even if it may be difficult to capture smells in our sketchbooks, in this workshop we will try to collect all these things in our sketches, along with what we see. 
In the lively Montesanto area, between a food market and the funicular station, participants will try a few different ways to collect the many aspects of a place, such as a grid style ordered collection, chaotic overlapping sketches with both colour, movement and sound, and a somewhat more focused collection where we start with a main composition and work our way out from that. 
Learning goals: To build up an impression of a place without necessarily drawing the whole scene in one piece; trying out different approaches to exploring a place by sketching different aspects of it; adding bits and pieces of conversations, details, movements and stories to a sketch, to capture more than just the basic core of buildings and streets that make up a city. 

Nina Johansson, Las Palmas 2014

Order and Disorder. Proust paperolles with Caroline Peyron 
During the visit in Capodimonte and Archeological Museums, and the survey in their conservation laboratories and depots*, we'll work on the contrast between order and disorder. In our sketchbooks this contrast will have to "catch the eye". I'm inspired by Marcel Proust "paperolles", adopted when he needed additional space to annotate ideas in his notebook: each sentence, each word at a rereading would always suggest a new one that he would add to the page with sorts of pop up. The creative process for Proust involved "writing fragments, putting them together and then separating them in order to re-assemble them in another way". Use of transparent paper, added or sticked to the sketchbook, can be a good way to show layers, contrasts and connections between the exhibited artworks and the ones piled in the shadow of depots. Several trasparent layers can give the idea of the "before and after" of the artworks in the Capodimonte restoration laboratory and of the transition from disorder to order or vice versa. 
Learning goals: To experiment how the sketchbook can be enriched by pop up, cutting and adding "paperolles" to transform it in a different object, according to the contest and to the feeling inspired from it. The sketchbook will wittness this overwelming contest and will comunicate the feeling of surprise and discovery. 

*Thanks to Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli.

Caroline Peyron, Jeu de Dames. Exhibited at Istituto Centrale per la Grafica, Roma 2013

Workshop Schedule 
Four instructors will be present full time, one of them in turn will lead the workshop. Location and timetable may change. 6 hours tuition x 3 days (Thursday to Saturday) plus 3 hours on Sunday morning (21 hours of tuition) and an open sketchcrawl. 

Thursday, June 5 
10.00 am / 1.00 pm welcome and demos (location to be defined)
3.00 / 6.00 pm Museo Archeologico / all instructors 

Friday, June 6
10.00 am /1.00 pm Museo di Zoologia / Federico Gemma 
3.00 / 6.00 pm Quartieri Spagnoli / Simo Capecchi 

Saturday, June 7
10.00 am /1.00 pm Museo di Capodimonte / Caroline Peyron 
3.00 / 6.00 pm Montesanto / Nina Johansson 

Sunday, June 8 
10.00 am /1.00 pm Molo Beverello / all instructors 
3.00 pm: open Sketchcrawl in the Port of Naples 

30 partecipants maximum, 12 minimum. Any level of drawing experience is welcome. 

Supplies  Any supplies participants normally use are fine. We'll use pen, ink, coloured pencils, pastels, brush pens and watercolors. 
Ink, ink pens, coloured pencils, glue, cutter and different kind of trasparent paper will be used for Caroline's workshop; she loves China Ink but it may be difficult to use it inside museums. Check out our sketching gears: Nina JohanssonSimo Capecchi, Federico Gemma.

Thanks to Moleskine that once again will donate sketchbooks. 

Registration fee 
220 €  - students discount: 180 € - including tuition and a Moleskine sketchbook.
To apply please email to: simo.capecchi(at) 

Here is the Workshop MAP
Note: A convenient lodging for the group will be organized in an historical building with some stairs but nice view, single/double rooms with private bathrooms and a common kitchen, look for Casa Morra on our map. Email to simo.capecchi(at) for details.

Past editions photos
II° USK Workshop in Naples  2013  
I° USK Workshop in Naples  2012 

About the instructors

Simonetta Capecchi completed her PhD degree at the University of Naples (Italy) in Architectural Drawing. She currently works as an illustrator. Since 2006, she has curated four editions of "In viaggio col taccuino", an exhibition on travel sketchbooks with conferences and workshops. A selection from this exibition has been published in book form (Sguardi su Napoli, 2009). Simonetta's sketchbooks have been included in many international exibitions and featured in edited collections such as Danny Gregory’s An illustrated life (2008). She contributes to Urban Sketchers from Naples, where she lives. Blog: 
Meet the instructor

Caroline Peyron is a french artist living in Naples. Personal exhibitions of her works has been held in Naples at the Grenoble Institut Français, Biblioteca Nazionale, Castelnuovo and Museo Archeologico Nazionale; in Rome, at Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica and in Paris. She has been an art teacher and has held workshops for private schools and public institutions for over twenty years now. She has art classes with children, adolescents and adults both in private schools and in cultural institutions like Museo di Capodimonte and Museo Archeologico Nazionale of Naples. She is currently publishing her works with "Il filo di Partenope" art editions. 
Meet the instructor.

Federico Gemma (Rome, Italy) is a Wildlife Artist Member of the Society of Wildlife Artists. His passion for nature induced him to get a degree in Biological Sciences in Rome, to become a zoologist. Yet, even before concluding his studies, he employed most of his time drawing naturalist illustrations. Nevertheless his interests still include biological sciences since he works for parks and nature reserves, museums and nature conservation bodies making drawings and illustrations for calendars, panels, thematic areas, books, brochures and magazines. Not only an illustrator but also a painter, he spends his free time travelling Italy, Europe, and the world looking for subjects, animals and landscapes, to portray: "Whenever I can, I take notes always carrying with me a sketchbook, a pencil and watercolours. Life drawing is a fundamental process to me and an irreplaceable tool to observe and fix on the paper instants and ideas. Some of these sketches then become finished paintings, others stay as they are, enduring memory of travels and sightings". 
Meet the instructor

Nina Johansson (Stockholm, Sweden) grew up in Umeå in Northern Sweden, and lives and works in Stockholm since 1996. Graduated from University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm 2002, she teaches fine arts, photography, design and computer graphics. She also paints, mainly watercolours, and does some illustration work. Drawing has always been an important part of her life, and urban environments and patterns are what makes her tick artistically. Nina likes to play with different techniques and approaches to jot down the other aspects of Stockholm, where she lives, and any other places she visits. She fills her sketchbooks with strange drawing experiments, to force herself out of her pen-and-watercolour comfort zone. 
Meet the instructor

*In Italian on Simo Capecchi's web site: In viaggio col taccuino

Meet the instructor: Federico Gemma

Federico Gemma is a Wildlife Artist Member of the Society of Wildlife Artists, based in Rome, Italy. His passion for nature induced him to get a degree in Biological Sciences, to become a zoologist. Yet, even before concluding his studies, he employed most of his time drawing naturalist illustrations. Nevertheless his interests still include biological sciences since he works for parks and nature reserves, museums and nature conservation bodies making drawings and illustrations for calendars, panels, thematic areas, books, brochures and magazines. In 2012 he was awarded as a Birdwatch Artist of the year.

Not only an illustrator but also a painter, he spends his free time travelling Italy, Europe, and the world looking for subjects, animals and landscapes, to portray: 
"Whenever I can, I take notes always carrying with me a sketchbook, a pencil and watercolours. Life drawing is a fundamental process to me and an irreplaceable tool to observe and fix on the paper instants and ideas. Some of these sketches then become finished paintings, others stay as they are, enduring memory of travels and sightings".

Federico holds watercolor courses and has held workshops in several occasion, collaborating with institutions and museums in Rome or in protected areas with WWF Italy. Last spring he organized a workshop in Campi Flegrei near Naples, with Simo Capecchi.
He collaborate to Urban Sketchers Italy and often participate to sketchcrawls and drawing meet up with fellow sketchers in Rome and other cities. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Expressive Urban Sketching - Cockatoo Island Workshop

SOLD OUT! - We are happy to announce the Expressive Urban Sketching workshop is now full. Sorry to those who have missed out. 

If you are interested in signing up for a waiting list please mail uskaustralia(at) and we will contact you in the event any current students have to cancel.
Hopefully we will be able to run this workshop again!

Workshop description

Cockatoo Island is a spectacular heritage listed island right in the middle of Sydney harbour with a fascinating history including convict imprisonment and decades of shipbuilding.  There are many layers of the past, all kinds of interesting industrial and historical structures, amazing spaces, an abundance of textures and materials – all with a story to tell. It is an exciting place to visit and an inspiring location to sketch.

Join Urban Sketchers Paul Wang and Liz Steel for a 2 day workshop which will explore ways of capturing the amazing fabric and texture of Cockatoo Island on the page. 

(Photo by Tim Mooney –

We believe that sketching should be personal, spontaneous and a lot of fun. This experimental workshop is aimed to give you the tools and the confidence to take risks and express yourself when urban sketching.

It will involve
•    experimenting with alternative drawing tools in order to create an arsenal of expressive marks and expressive mixes.
•     exploring ways of creating a sketch with a strong focal point and allowing for expressive design.
•    creating a bold & fluid exchange between sketching, mark-making and painting – one that suits your own personal approach to urban sketching.

The workshop will include both directed exercises that expand the creative mind as well as spontaneous experimental sketching from the heart.

Each session will begin with a discussion/ demonstration of various techniques by the instructors followed by an exploratory exercise for the participants.  These techniques will then be applied in a more finished sketch during the second half of the session - each session occurring in a different part of the island.

Expressive Marks
Explore: the range of lines and marks with one simple tool and then expand this to a creative matrix for all tools and mediums
Apply: Line Drawing using a combination of these marks

Expressive Mixing

Explore: Different properties of media and water - watercolour pigments and water soluble tools. Using resists. Mixing colours, Combining different media to create texture and colour
Apply: Mixing Lines and Colours and working back and forth between drawing and painting

Expressive Design
Explore: How to simplify a complex scene into shapes and choose a strong focus. How to develop the sketch working out from the focus using a spiral or crossword design.
Apply: Choose one method and sketch the scene

Express Yourself

Explore: Ways of implementing some of these experiments into your own work.
Apply: Free sketching in afternoon


Learning Goals

•    To explore a range of marks and lines that can be created using alternative drawing tools, medis and techniques -  eg twigs, bamboo pens, different inks, water soluble pencils, crayons
•    To understand the different properties of mixing various media with each other and with water - splashing, mixing colours on paper, scratching/scraping, using resists
•    To learn ways of combining techniques and media
•    To be able to simplify a complex scene and identify a single strong focal point with a story
•    To develop the story moving out from the focal point with a spontaneous approach to composition
•    To implement these experimental techniques to your own sketching


Workshop Schedule

Thursday 20 March
Pre-Workshop Meet and Greet – An informal gathering at a restaurant/café to provide a chance to meet other participants. Location TBA

Friday 21 March  9:30am - 4.30pm

9.30am -10.00am     Workshop introduction
10.00am-12.30pm    Expressive Marks 
1.00pm- 2.00pm       Lunch
2.00pm - 4.00pm      Expressive Mixing
4.00pm -4.300pm      Review

Saturday 22 March 9:30am - 4.30pm

9.30am-1.00pm       Expressive Design
1.00pm- 2.00pm      Lunch
2.00pm- 4.00pm      Express Yourself
4.00pm -4.300pm    Review

Saturday 22 March 4.30 - 8.00pm

Open Sketchcrawl on the Island - more details will be posted separately.


Workshop location

Cockatoo Island, Sydney Australia

Getting There: Regular ferries to the island from Circular Quay(in the downtown of Sydney) along the F3 line to Parramatta. Use  the trip planner to check ferry times.
There will be additional ferries because of the Biennale of Sydney which starts on the same weekend as the workshop. The last ferry from the island leaves at around 9pm.

Suggestions for Accommodation: Staying in the city (or areas easily accessible from Circular Quay) or anywhere on the F3 ferry line. Or maybe you would like to camp or 'glamp' (glamorous camping)  on the island. We do expect that there will be some participants that will be camping on the island but recommend book your tent as soon as possible as spots are limited (the houses/ apartments are already booked months in advance) 

Cost and Registration:

$230.00 AUD

including a sketchbook from Stillman and Birn, a Daniel Smith 'Paul Wang Palette'  dotcard,  and a small kit containing 3 special Daniel Smith watercolour paints and some salt, wax and Chinese ink.
Email Liz uskaustralia {at} gmail {dot} com
Payment can be via cheque, internet transfer or paypal

Cancellation Policy: All fees are fully refundable if cancelled prior to 7 March 2014. If cancelled after 7 March, a $25.00AUD cancellation fee will be retained. In the event of too few registrants, all monies will be refunded.

Maximum Number of Participants

25 participants maximum. Any level welcome but some drawing experience is recommended.



Stillman and Birn will be giving a sketchbook to all participants

About the Instructors:

Paul Wang has loved art since he was a child and is now actively sharing this passion as an art and design educator both in Singapore and abroad. He spent his younger years studying both Interior Architecture and Technical Theatre Design. With his multi-disciplinary and multi-sensory training, his sketches and paintings are always bursting with dramatic colours, just like a scene on stage. Urban Sketching is his unique way of encapsulating the urban landscape on paper and retelling stories. He is both an active Urbansketchers’ blog correspondent and a board member.


Liz Steel  graduated in Architecture at University of NSW and has spent 18 years working as an architect in Sydney, specializing in media projects. She is currently teaching regular on-location sketching classes and workshops throughout Australia as well as doing architectural illustrations for clients all around the world. She is the founder and coordinator of the Urban Sketchers Australia .


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Good Bones 2, Workshop in Seattle March 14,15,16, 2014

Both Good Bones and Good Bones 2 workshops are full!  Thanks to everyone who signed up so quickly!  If you are interested in signing up for the waiting list, or if you would like to be notified about future workshops, please email Stephanie at

Thanks also to our awesome workshop sponsor, the makers of Pentalic and the Aqua Bee Super Deluxe, my two favorite sketchbooks!  Each participant of the Good Bones workshops will receive both of these great sketchbooks!

A USk architectural perspective sketching workshop with award-winning
Seattle Urban Sketcher Stephanie Bower at Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington USA

[Good Bones 1 filled in the first week, so a second workshop has been added!  Please email ASAP if you would like to reserve a spot!]

Workshop description:
Good Bones are essential to good sketches!  In this 2+day workshop, we’ll cover how to set up the bones of a great architectural sketch, starting with a thorough understanding of architectural perspective and finishing up with an intro to watercolor tools and techniques.
On Sunday, we’ll join the Seattle Urban Sketchers for their monthly Sketchcrawl!
Learning goals:
This workshop will be a true instructional class, based on how I learned to draw in architecture school and how I have taught drawing for many years. The intent is to improve your own style of sketching with an understanding of accurate perspective, new tricks and tools.

Held at the iconic Pike Place Market--the heart of Seattle--we’ll work inside in the morning in the Elliott Bay meeting room, learning and sketching perspective basics.  In the afternoon, we’ll transition to sketching perspective in the field, to capture the vibrant life and color of the market.

Good Bones  | Day 1:  Perspective
--learn how to construct an architectural perspective sketch, how to start, how to build
            the sketch in layers
--learn how to really understand and use perspective accurately and effectively
--learn how to see proportions and relationships of spatial elements

Good Bones  | Day 2:  Perspective + Watercolor
--introduction to watercolor tools and techniques
--conquer the fear of using watercolor!
--learn how to use watercolor to enhance the sense of space in your sketches

Good Bones  | Day 3:  Seattle Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl
--put your new knowledge into practice by joining the monthly Seattle USk sketching group  

Workshop Instructor:
Honored with the 2013 & 2012 KRob for Best Travel Sketch and the 2013 Gabriel Prize fellowship for 3 months in France, STEPHANIE BOWER is a Seattle-based architectural illustrator, teacher, watercolorist, and traveling Urban Sketcher. Stephanie graduated in both Architecture and Interior Design and worked as a licensed Architect in New York City before gravitating to architectural illustration. She has taught architectural sketching for over 20 years, for a decade in NYC at Parsons, in Seattle at UW, and at Cornish College of the Arts where she currently teaches a field sketching course called Drawing Space. Stephanie recently qualified to be signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society. 

            Architectural Illustration Website:

Workshop Schedule: 
            Morning INDOOR SKETCHING (winter in Seattle!)
            8:30 arrive at the Elliott Bay Room in Pike Place Market,
                        coffee from the original Starbucks
            9:00-12:30 instruction and sketching
            12:30-1:30 lunch break in The Market, sketching
            Afternoon OUTDOOR FIELD SKETCHING in the Market
            1:30-2:30 sketch together as a group
            2:30-4:00 sketch on your own or together with assistance from instructor
            4:00-5:00 assemble for final crit and review

            10:00-12:30 sketch with Seattle Urban Sketchers, location to be determined
            12:30-1:00 meet Seattle sketchers and review sketches!
            No charge for this day, of course, as sketching with Urban Sketchers is free
                     and open to all!  We can arrange carpools to the location if necessary.

Supply list: 
Instructor will email supply list to registered participants.

Workshop fee:
$160 for 2 days of instruction, no charge for the Seattle USk Sketchcrawl.
Payable in full by check to “Stephanie Bower” by February 1, 2014.

Contact Stephanie ASAP at to reserve a spot.  Waiting list will be created.

Cancellation policy:
In the unforeseen event a workshop is cancelled, all fees will be reimbursed.

Maximum number of participants:
15, any level of experience, but targeted to beginners and sketchers who want to improve their understanding and use of perspective.

Sample Sketches:
To see examples of Stephanie's work, go to for illustrations and links to sketches on flickr.