Past Workshops


October 22-25, 2015 . Chatham County, NC
Instructor: Stacye Leanza

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October 10, 2015 San Francisco, CA
Instructor: Suhita Shirodkar

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October 8-11, 2015 . Naples, Italy
Instructors: Simo Capecchi, Caroline Peyron and Kelly Medford.

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Sketching the Wild Atlantic Way
September 2-8, 2015 . Kinvara & Galway City, Ireland
Instructor: Róisín Curé

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Singapore. July 22-25, 2015

Details here.
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August 5-8, 2015.  Segovia, Spain
Instructors:  Isabel Carmona, Mercedes Carmona and Swasky

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August 13-23, 2015. Amsterdam, Netherlands & Liverpool, England
Instructors: Frank Ching, Norberto Dorantes, Simone Ridyard and Climaco Cardenas
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July 8-11, 2015 . Oxford, England
Instructors: Isabel Carmona, Miguel Herranz and Swasky.

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June 24-28, 2015 . Volterra, Italy
Instructors: Simo Capecchi & Caroline Peyron

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March 30-31, 2015 . San José, Costa Rica
Instructor: William Cordero

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April 8th-10th, 2015 . Coventry, England
Instructors: Isabel Carmona, Simone Ridyard and Swasky

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Freedom Revolution Workshop
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 . Lisbon, Portugal
Instructor: Marina Grechanik

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May 1-3, 2015 . Orange County, CA
Instructors: Frank Ching & Gail Wong

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September 12-14, 2014
Tacoma, WA, USA

Instructors: Frank Ching and Gail Wong

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5° Urban Sketchers Workshop in Volterra

Live sketching with Simo Capecchi & Teatri35

Volterra, July 23-27, 2014

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July 9-12, 2014
Oxford, England

Oxford Workshop - Pushing your Sketching Boundaries - July 2014

It was great to see the long planning coming to fruition and we were getting more excited about the Oxford Workshop as the day approached. On Saturday morning I hear that Swasky has started his journey on a Mini Countryman and it is heading for Calais - Dover - Oxford where he would arrive on Sunday night. You can see some of the sketches of that journey here. Meanwhile I (Isabel) was finishing off preparing all the handouts for my colour workshop and the prints for the exhibition initial set up. On Monday, Swasky and I met at the Arts at the Old Fire Station to set up the boards for the exhibition and that initial setup was finalised on Tuesday morning.

In the afternoon we prepared the timetables, information and their for the workshop attendees who started arriving (eager and early) at 4pm for a quick welcome, introduction gathering and we gave to them their goodies bags (Stillman & Birn Watercolor sketchbooksRosemary and Co. pocket brushes and Canson sketchbooks and some more little presents), followed by drinks at the nearest pub:)), where we started to get to know them.
Preparing goodies bags (Stillman & Birn, Rosemary and Canson presents)

Delays on traffic and flights made it impossible for all to arrive on that earlier date including Miguel who suffered some overbooking on his flight and managed to get to Oxford late on the Tuesday night (nerves!!).
Work proper started on Wednesday morning with the workshops on colour (Isabel), people (Swasky) and line (Miguel).
Each day we took a group each in the morning and one in the afternoon and took them to one of six locations to explore our themes. At the end of each session, we gathered the sketchbooks and each person put forward one sketch for the exhibition for each workshop, that we copied and we pinned up on the walls of the exhibition. The result a “work in progress” exhibition for all to see and that got attention from the visitors to the venue and the local press albeit the article was published after the event. The group photo by freelance photographer David Fleming for the Oxford mail captures the nice feel of the group at the gallery space at Arts at the Old Fire Station.

Isabel says:

Colour and Texture is what I love the most and I wanted to get the participants excited about. I got them to try watercolour even if some were not confident at first, I hope they all felt they can now try without fear. Most of them normally sketch neatly something and colour it afterwards, whereas I got them to work in colour first and primarily, without drawing first, and in blocks of colour and tone, in layers to approximate the sketch that only at the end could be drawn over if desired. I think that most were out of their comfort zone but they were all very receptive to new ideas and experimented in ways they had not done before and pushed themselves, in their own styles, to use more colour and lose the fear of not doing it “right”.

The morning session was outdoors (except when we had to use a cafe in the vaults of St Mary’s as the rain was pouring down), and watercolour run freely and colorful.

The afternoon session, at the Oxford’s University Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums, was more challenging as we could not use media inside that involved water. Also the two museums have a multitude of potential subjects that i find fascinating (loads of animal skeletons in one and loads of ethnographic artifacts in the other) and hoped others did too. To overcome the “rules of the museum”, I thought we can use a multi visit approach, choose the subject and sketch it in colour first (with watercolour pencils for example), looking for tone; then come out and do a watercolour sketch based on that first sketch whilst seating out in the green in front of the museum, and finally go back in and finish it with further colour touches in watercolour pencils and or pen indoors.

The afternoons were hot and we did suffer a bit on that front, luckily we had an ice cream vendor on the green! I also got them to do a couple of “games” which involved using candle wax to do an invisible sketch only revealed after they applied watercolour over it, and using an ink pad to create colour blocks over which sketch inside. I was very interested in seeing the different responses from the students to this challenge. Some did a single very detailed sketch based on multiple additions in colour inside and outside whereas others did various drawings using the different techniques. All in all these afternoon sessions were exhausting but loads of fun and with good results.

Swasky says:

Preparing this workshop was an idea I got two years ago. I was staying in London and I met Isabel, we went drawing to the Tate Modern and also Saint Paul’s Cathedral. It was a great time and we enjoyed it a lot. From the first time I realized that Isabel is an energetic woman who doesn’t stop working and she was the person who I wanted to organise a workshop with and I love her work with watercolour. Nevertheless, at that time, I was busy with the Barcelona Symposium so we had to wait. After summer 2013 and a great symposium in Barcelona, I got some free time in my life and my desire to organise a workshop was even bigger so I sent a-email to Isabel. She was busy (as usual) but we agreed to start organising the workshop. One last thing I suggested, before we started is that there should be three instructors, three points of view, three styles, three are the minimum number of supports to have a chair, a stool …so, I suggested Miguel Herranz a great sketcher and great teacher. She didn’t doubt and said yes.

My workshop was about drawing people and my two sessions were focused in getting to draw people without fear. I know that sometimes we sound like coaches, even some people called me “Yoda”, but in someway we are I also recognize that sometimes we may sound “weird” because we say obvious statements, but we have forgotten most of them and we need reminding.

Once we started I really enjoyed working with a small group, they were 10 people. For me it was a need to work a maximum of 10 people, I suggested it when we were talking about organisation issues and we all agreed that it is the best number for working individually and as a group.
Oxford is a nice city with a bustling city center. I was lucky and in two sessions we had the chance of drawing in a open-air market, and in another one, due to the rain, in the covered market. Open-air markets are quite similar to the mediterranean markets, relatively speaking, but the most important thing was that we found what we needed: people.

On the other hand, the covered market was different, nice as a venue but sometimes quiet. Luckily there was a nice bakery where bakers worked behind a big display window so we took advantage of this and drew people doing things.

Before going to the venue I started with a series of warm up exercises, plenty of exercises and then relax... It is like when you go to the gym and do a quick series of exercises and then relax, it stretches you.

I have to say thank you to Isabel because I know how difficult is to organise something and you have been in charge on place, thank you so much!

Miguel says: 

I must say I was the last one who arrived at this project. I knew that Victor was working on some workshop with Isabel but at some point (it was february or so) he asked me whether I was interested in joining the project and it was some kind of unexpected gift. Teaching for 3 days in a row, 6 hours each and in english was a big challenge, but of course I was interested, actually I looked forward to it!

I have worked now for 3 years with Swasky, teaching together and at the organisation of the USk Symposium that took place in Barcelona in 2013. I knew he’s a great partner. The great surprise was Isabel, a true force of nature, it’s been a pleasure to work with them, or should I say to give them my little help. I feel so grateful to both of you.

My workshop was about line and my aim was to give the attendees new tools to face drawing on location as some kind of personal writing, to get a “hand” as one used to be say in calligraphy. I tried to give some tips to take memory references that allow to translate what we see on the paper, but the hidden idea is to acquire a way to approach what we see and what we draw as a life moment to be captured in the sketchbook.

I saw some perplexity on the attendees about a way of teaching that does not give instructions but tools. I must say that it all disappeared when they perceived and felt that it’s not so important if the drawing is right or wrong but only whether it is or is not what you want to tell, and it allows you to express yourself as you want.

It’s been a great experience to collaborate with Swasky and Isabel, meeting some old and new friends and having again the opportunity of sharing the joy of drawing together.

Party and Sketchcrawl finale:

After all the work we wanted a small party to finish off and to show off the exhibition to the participants that they had put together so we had brought a little surprise Cava! to say thank you to all participants!

Thanks to Isabelle, Judith, Francesca, Jane, Jon, Len, Robin,Rebecca, Martine, Guylaine, Zahra, Andre, Chris, Jeanette, Bridget, Enuma, Helen,Rachel, Simon, Claudia, Zofia, Cristiano, Barbara, Natalia, Caroline, Lawrence, Martin, Livia, Nicola and Catherine for all the hard work and for making it possible! Thank you Emily for your help along the three workshop days.

And I want to thank also Swasky and Miguel for coming such a long way to help me with the workshop, it has been a great project! This is the beginning of loads more sketches, adventures and projects! I look forward to seeing you all soon.

The final act of the workshop, albeit in free format, as the 44th Sketchcrawl with the Urban Sketchers London held at Portobello Rd Market on a swelteringly hot day. Thank you to all of them and specially to James Hobbs. A very fun day FULL of people and we made an impression as Isabel got a request for helping the market celebrate their 150th anniversary next year!

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Presented by Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and Urban Sketchers

Instructors: Gabi CampanarioFrank Ching and Gail Wong
Saturday, June 28, 2014  |  9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Place: Pike Place Market, Seattle.

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Thursday 5 - Sunday 8, June 2014 

An Urban Sketching Workshop

Naples workshop, a great edition

We had four intense days of fun and sketching in Naples last month when I had the opportunity to meet really nice and talented sketchers from different countries and background. It's great to experience how the urban sketcher net works to gather interesting people all around the world. This group has been the best ever since!
Naples USK Workshop 2014

Don't miss Federico Gemma's great collection here, Nina Johansson amazing pages herehere and here,
an incredible video with Karen Stamper's sketchbook and those of Merce DarbraTanja Simonic KorosakFranco Lancio, among others. Thanks to all participants that came to share their skills with us in Naples, I'm so glad I've met all of you!

In this video, a bit of live sketching we had with Teatri35: a preview for Volterra, where another workshop
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An Urban Sketching Workshop

March 21-22, 2014 | Sidney, Australia.

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An Urban Sketching Workshop

March 14-16, 2014 | Seattle, USA.

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An urban sketching workshop
with Simo Capecchi, Lapin, Caroline Peyron and Laura Scarpa

May 30 -June 2, 2013 | Naples, Italy.
Four days of drawings and discoveries in Naples: in spite of the rain and the cold weather, we had fun drawing in beautiful, amazing, strange, sad or dramatic places. Contrasts are typical of our town.
We met interesting people and associations, listen to a jam session organized for us in Zurzolo Teatro Live, played music with our pencil with the Matita project and had dinners and suppers together.

Two special guests joined us to our final Portait Party: Usk correspondent from London Olha Pryymak - in Italy for vacation, and Matthew Brehm, correspondent from Moscow (Idaho) - now in Rome for his usual students abroad program.

Thank to all participants that came from Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Canada and Taiwan to sketch together. It was great to meet you all!

Thanks to Riot Studio's friends that hosted our second workshop in their wonderful place. And thanks to our sponsor Moleskine that, once again, donated sketchbooks.

Participants photos/drawings:
Joerg Asselborn: flickr
Marianne Teske: flickr

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I° Urban Sketchers Workshop in Naples: photos

Urban Sketchers Workshop a Napoli

 Naples USK Workshop has been a great experience. We had fun drawing, talking and walking throught the streets of this amazing city. Lots of discoveries, also for me that I have been living here for twenty years already. I'm already sure we'll organize another edition next year.  Franco Lancio made the souvenir above for us on last day - unfortunately some participants where already left, but as you see there was a nice mix of sketchers.
Watch this slideshow to get the feeling of these four days. I will add more notes under photos in the following days, before Volterra's Workshop, where there are still some spots available.

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Watercolor Sketching in Historic Montreal 
with Marc Taro Holmes and Shari Blaukopf

August 2–4, 2013 | Montreal, Canada

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Line to Color Workshop 
with Frank Ching and Gail Wong

May 17-19, 2013 | Seattle, USA.

***FULL*** [FRANK AND GAIL HAVE STARTED A WAITING LIST AND THEY MAY OFFER THE WORKSHOP AGAIN IN THE FALL IF ENOUGH PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED] Registration is open for this urban sketching workshop taught by Frank Ching and Gail Wong in Seattle. Click here for more details.

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