Workshop 6: Creating a Rich Drawing

Instructor:  Don Colley


The challenge of creating a rich drawing is made easier if you are using a varied range of tools.  This workshop will address strategies of opening the drawing and setting up the page to further develop features.  This workshop will work as Part 2 to the workshop, “Drawing Urban Dwellers,” but also can be taken independently.  Some of the topics we will cover include:

  • how to shift gears by changing the nib width or switching to brush work
  • how to rapidly capture planes and strong features
  • how to render more than objects and perspective, thereby suggesting mood, light, season, weather and time of day
  • how to take advantage of the inherent qualities of the paper and tools

Learning Goals:

  • using time effectively by using tools appropriate for the job
  • editing to reduce the number of details without losing liveliness and character
  • enhancing the drawing by introducing a broader range of marks and values


  • sketchbook of modest scale: 6″x9″ up to 8-1/2″x11″
  • instructor will supply the drawing tools, which will be graphite and water soluble graphite, and a range of Pitt Artist Pens, aka pigmented markers

Don’s sketches:




See more of Don’s work at


Workshop 5: Drawing Urban Dwellers

Instructor:  Don Colley


Sketching in public offers the challenge of capturing the static architectural elements as well as the dynamic human inhabitants of that environment.

Making use of even a small array of tools will enable and enhance the artist’s ability to develop the drawing quickly, depending more on efficiency rather than speed.  Key to a fruitful effort is a decisive strategy, where the artist begins with the drawing’s purpose, and an editing process that focuses on pertinent elements and the elimination of unnecessary features.

This workshop will take place in a classroom setting.  The instructor will demonstrate the process during the first half of the class, and guide the participants through an exercise during the second half.

Learning Goals:

Participants will learn and practice three stages of progression of location drawing:

  • opening the drawing and general layout
  • capturing salient features of people while leaving the drawing open to allow for movement
  • tying elements together and refining the scene


  • sketchbook of modest scale: 6″x9″ up to 8-1/2″x11″
  • instructor will supply the drawing tools, which will be graphite and water soluble graphite, and a range of Pitt Artist Pens, aka pigmented markers

Don’s sketches:




See more of Don’s work at

Workshop 4: Flora and Fauna in Situ

Instructor:  Deirdre Fox


Strategies and tips for quickly capturing flora and fauna in the urban setting by gesturally capturing trees, bushes, landscapes, and animal impressions in situ.

Learning Goals:

  • Learn how to hold and move your drawing tool to facilitate quick sketching.
  • Learn multiple strategies for capturing the basic form and expressive character of landscape elements and animals (sitting, walking, moving, or whatever else we see them doing in urban settings).  Strategies include silhouettes/masses, contours, key strokes, and more.
  • Improve focus on the observed flora or animal’s particular character.  For the animals, we will be a bit dependent on how many people walk their dogs!  But, Chicago is full of dog lovers!  Perhaps we’ll see a bunch of squirrels.  Almost certainly, we’ll see some pigeons.  And, of course, trees, bushes, weeds…

Supplies List:

  • 2B graphite pencils
  • Vine charcoal
  • Bottle of black ink
  • Inexpensive, medium sized round watercolor brush (size 8 or 10)
  • Small bottle of water

Deirdre’s sketches:




See more of Deirdre’s work at

Workshop 3: The Poetry of Speed Sketching

Instructor:  Barbara Weeks


The poetry of speed sketching is to confidently capture the essence of a scene quickly, simply, and still tell its story.

Learning Goals:

This is a workshop to learn to focus and quickly sketch the fleeting moments of our daily surroundings.  We’ll work on a series of timed sketches, learning to focus on what captures our attention, simplify it, sketch quickly, and capture the moment.  The exercises will build from line sketches to adding value and color.

Supplies List:


  • Pencil or pen (waterproof ink)
  • Sketchbook
  • Watercolor, color pencils or coloring medium of choice
  • Portable stool (optional)

Since we will be sketching outside, all supplies should be portable.

Barbara’s sketches:





See more of Barbara’s work at



Workshop 2: Perspective, Proportion and Value for the Urban Sketcher

Instructor:  Andrew Banks


In academia, perspective, proportion and value are often accompanied by many daunting rules that can discourage an urban sketcher from drawing architecture and architectural landscapes. This workshop simplifies these techniques into easy-to-master, practical methods for building a sketch from the ground up. These skills can be used for quick sketches as well as lengthier, more involved sketches.

Learning Goals:

  • Basic overview of perspective and different types of perspective
  • Use the “sighting” technique to create a drawing in perspective
  • Use the “sighting” technique to gauge sizes, proportions and their relative relationships to one another
  • Identify visual cues in landscapes, architecture, and architectural details to aid in           laying out a sketch
  • Learn what to include in the pencil layout of a sketch
  • Create a dynamic sketch by adding value to the drawing using ink
  • Hatching, mark making and texture techniques
  • Recommendations of pens and inks
  • What papers work best for pen and ink work

Supplies list:

  • Pencil and eraser
  • Black pen
  • Sketchbook/paper/pad

Andrew’s sketches:



See more of Andrew’s work on his website:


Workshop 1: Fearless Sketching with Pen, Ink and Watercolor

Instructor: Adriana Gasparich

Description: Watercolor is a classic media for urban sketchers which portability and easy set up allow us to take any opportunity to capture a scene fast, but sometimes intimidation or fear doesn’t let us get the results that we want or to enjoy the process of sketching. This workshop offers you tips to be fearless, confident and overcome any obstacle that will help you to print your personality on your sketch by knowing what to sketch, how to make an interesting composition fast, using ink straight on paper and use watercolor wisely to get clear and bright colors.

In first half of the workshop, we will focus on working with ink with emphasis on the importance of what to sketch and the composition of the sketch. I’ll show examples during the explanation. Then the participants will have time, on site, to sketch one or more sketches using only ink.

In the second half of the workshop, we’ll focus on the use of watercolor. I’ll do a brief demo of how to use basic techniques and make difficult color like browns, grays, and skin tones. The participants will then have time to apply watercolor to the sketches made earlier.

I’ll approach participants, individually, as they sketch or paint on site to give them advice or answer their questions. At the end of the workshop we will meet and take a photo of the group and their work.

Learning Goals:

  1. Choosing what to sketch
  2. Knowing my two bold steps for composition.
  3. Letting go of fear to use pen and ink straight on paper.
  4. Practicing the use of watercolor layers and complimentary colors.
  5. Mixing few colors on palette.
  6. Keeping muddy colors under control: browns, grays and skin tones.

Supplies List: 

  1. Watercolor paper, loose sheets or sketchbook.
  2. Fountain pen with EF or F nib or liner, waterproof ink.
  3. Watercolor paint, at least primary colors, artist quality if possible.
  4. Waterbrush, or watercolor brushes.

Adriana’s sketches:

Adriana Gasparich - sketch 3Adriana Gasparich - sketch1   Adriana Gasparich - sketch 2

See more Adriana’s work on her blog –

Extra!! Extra!! Registration will open on May 1st!

Sketchers! Can this get any more exiting!

Chicago Sketch Seminar 2016 will open Registration on May 1st, 2016! Mark your calendars and don’t miss the day!

Between now and May 1st we will be sharing our workshops descriptions, so you can learn what’s on offer and plan which workshops to choose. This year we went over the top and are offering 16 workshops!

May flowers by Barbara Weeks

Flowers by Barbara Weeks