Workshop 15: Urban Sketches that Tell Stories

Instructor:  Ted Gordon


This workshop will focus on creating compelling urban sketches by telling clear, concise stories of our observations while we are out sketching.  Participants will seek out the One Sentence Story in their surroundings, choosing the one that grabs their attention and reporting it in the form of their urban sketches.  Each participant will most likely observe something different, or react to the same thing in a different way, resulting in numerous and varied stories.

With opportunities for one-on-one critique and instruction, there will be four sets of demonstrations and exercises:

  • simplifying shapes and values to draw the scene’s environment
  • drawing figures using a blended structural and gestural approach
  • drawing figures whose poses communicate emotion
  • putting it all together, into scenes with characters that clearly communicate your statement

We will end by sharing our Story-telling Urban Sketches.

Learning Goals:

  • learn and practice creating urban sketches that tell the one-sentence story of your observed experience
  • communicate clearly through simplified shapes and values
  • communicate emotion through the lines of action and gestural poses of the figures under observation


Bring the sketching tools with which you are most comfortable.  We will be doing several smaller, quick exercises, as well as at least one longer, finished sketch.

  • small-to-medium size sketchbook
  • pencil or pen
  • sketch stool

Ted’s sketches:

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.06.20 AM

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.06.44 AM

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.07.00 AM

To see more of Ted’s work, please visit

1 thought on “Workshop 15: Urban Sketches that Tell Stories

  1. Pingback: Meet Our Instructors: Ted Gordon | USk Chicago Sketch Seminar 2016

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