Meet Our Instructors: Lisa Flahive

Lisa Flahive

Photo by Robert DeGabriele

Lisa is most widely known for her expressive drawings and watercolors of jazz musicians, which are created live, in the moment, on the bandstand.  This allows her to improvise, react, and communicate with the musicians.  She chooses water media because it reflects the life of the music and must be created boldly, in the moment.

Lisa paints what inspires her, such as cafes or chefs in the kitchen.  She also loves to capture the energy of a city, as seen in her vibrant street scenes, many of which are painted en plein air, at night.  Lisa is the artist in residence for Chateau Chantal Winery in Traverse City, Michigan, and paints live on the bandstand every Thursday during their popular Jazz at Sunset series.

Having a special interest in pen and marker sketches of lively street scenes, Lisa will be leading this year’s seminar workshop, Capturing Chicago’s Rhythm and Energy.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.15.31 AM

To see more of Lisa’s work, please visit

Meet Our Instructors: Keelan Kaiser

keelan-photoKeelan has always loved to draw and started at a young age, with imaginary cars and robots.  His parents never discouraged him from drawing, but they probably should have. He was often in trouble in school because he drew a lot, in lieu of reading or doing his math.  He made his way from engineering to architecture as a major, after stumbling through the first year of chemistry and material science.  He saw how much fun the architects were having, and learned to draw like an architect at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he completed the M.Arch. with a specialty in representation and design.

Keelan enjoys travel drawing, mostly the travel and gastronomical aspects, but also the drawing.  Most recently, his drawing and painting has sought to hybridize an airy drawing technique, inspired loosely by the drawings of John Singer Sargent and Alberto Giacometti, with the Velasquez Palette of burnt siena, ultramarine blue, and yellow ochre, common to architectural watercolorists.  In addition, he is also inspired by the rich and deep technique present in Chinese watercolor.  Also influential are architectural watercolor artists Moh’d Bilbeisi, Douglas Lew, and Huck Scarry.  Keelan is a professor of architecture at Judson University, but considers himself largely a student.

With his special interest in sketching people and architecture with pen and ink,  and watercolor, Keelan will be leading the workshop Rapid Sketch with Watercolor and Velasquez Palette.


To see more of Keelan’s work, please visit

Meet Our Instructors: Joel Berman

joel-usk-instructorJoel Berman, LEED-AP, is the founder and president of Joel Berman Architecture & Design, Ltd., a Chicago architecture firm specializing in inner city adaptive reuse and heritage restoration for restaurant, hospitality, institutional and residential development.  Project work includes an award-winning historic preservation renovation of a 1920s White Castle Hamburger building, and conversion of a 1906 Chicago fire station into a major video production facility.

In addition to running a successful practice, Joel has taught architectural sketching at the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College School of Interior Architecture, the Chicago Architectural Foundation Adult Education Program, and the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities/Chicago Architecture Foundation Urban Gateways Program.

For Joel, clear and fast sketching has been a factor in the success of his design work and architectural practice.  He will be lending his talents during this year’s seminar by leading the workshop How to Sketch Like an Architect.


Meet Our Instructors: Jodie McGovern


Jodie has been involved in arts and crafts for many years, taking art classes at various venues in her leisure time, and sketching with Urban Sketchers Chicago.

Jodie lives in Woodstock, Illinois with her two cats, Moose and Annie.  Annie is a calico, who recently added the color blue to her multicolored coat by insinuating herself into one of Jodie’s art projects.

Jodie became interested in bookbinding several years ago owing to her love of paper and the challenge that bookbinding brought. At this year’s seminar, Jodie will again be teaching the workshop, Coptic Bookbinding.


Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 1.53.22 PM

Meet Our Instructors: Joann Sondy

390872_2984742134611_1160498745_nJoann is a career graphic designer who is transitioning from corporate collateral to architecture-related illustration.  She is developing her own line of luxury textile designs inspired by the Art Deco period.

A docent with Chicago Architecture Foundation since 2012, Joann leads tours through downtown Chicago with a preference for late 19th to mid-20th century buildings.  Joann is an accomplished storyteller, fueled by her advanced Toastmaster skills.

Joann’s special interests are Chicago history and sketching architecture, focusing on details such as hand crafted ornamentation.  She will lend her talents at this year’s seminar by leading the Architecture Sketching Tour.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 1.10.50 PM

To view more of Joann’s work, please visit

Meet Our Intructors: Ed Brickler

13076680_10208416423024025_2432017683941819989_nEd is a working artist and author of the book, “Making Art – Materials and Techniques for Today’s Artist.”  He is currently the Art Education and Outreach Director for Canson North America.  Throughout his career, Ed has worked, and continues to work, with a variety of art material companies, and has taught art materials and techniques for 30 years, lecturing in more than 250 arts schools, colleges, and universities.

Ed has a working knowledge of all art materials, but his favorite media are oils, acrylics, watercolor, ink and ink wash, and mixed media.  He considers himself a paper snob and an all-around art materials junkie.  His philosophy:  It’s all about the process.

At this year’s seminar, Ed will be conducting the Art Materials Lecture, where he will provide participants with Canson’s “Guide to Fine Art Paper,” as well as sample papers for their own use.


To see Ed’s art work, go to

Meet Our Instructors: Don Yang

1011684_717949024911548_535546001_nBorn in Seoul, Korea, Don came to the United States in his late teens.  After seven years of service in the U.S. Army, he pursued his childhood dream of living as an artist by training at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. There he earned a BFA with honors, and later, an MFA with emphasis on fine art and traditional illustration. After graduating from the Academy, Don has spent 15 years teaching drawing, oil painting, and anatomy in and around Chicago.  He has also operated an independent art studio in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he taught life drawing classes while working as a freelance illustrator.

Since 2002, Don has been teaching oil painting, figure drawing, and artistic anatomy at the American Academy of Art, where he is also serving as Chairperson of the Fine Art Department and Foundations Department.  He also teaches a weekly portrait drawing class in his studio at the historic Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago.  Painting outdoors in the Chicago area, as well as in his studio, Don frequently exhibits his work.  His paintings and drawings are collected by art enthusiasts through the United States and Europe.

Don specializes in sketching people and architecture in pen, ink, and watercolor, and outdoor sketching in oil (plein air oil painting).  At this year’s seminar, Don will teach a special, all-day seminar, Urban Sketching in Oil Paint.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 12.12.57 PM

See more of Don’s work at

Meet Our Instructors: Don Colley

don-at-whole-foods-1-18-2014Don graduated with a BFA from the University of Texas, Austin.  His illustrations have appeared in Inc., Playboy, and eCFO magazines, Andante Records and Faber-Castell USA, Inc. catalogs, as well as other publications. He taught drawing at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Don has exhibited regularly since 1983, and he currently shows with Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago.  He tours the country lecturing and presenting demonstrations on behalf of Faber-Castell USA, Inc.  Prior to attending his first Urban Sketchers Symposium in Portland in 2010, Don had kept a regular practice of documenting the urban scene for 30 years.  He has been sketching with USk Chicago since its inception in 2012.

Don specializes in sketching people, architecture, and landscapes in pen, ink, and pigmented markers.  At this year’s seminar, he will be teaching two workshops – Drawing Urban Dwellers, and Creating a Rich Drawing.


See more of Don’s work at

Meet Our Instructors: Deirdre Fox

263967_2199557712401_7677081_nDeirdre is an artist who puts physical objects to abstract use in visual poems.  She enjoys and employs live quick sketching as one tool for seeing and for capturing movement and gesture.  She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her BS in Materials Science & Engineering from Northwestern University.

Deirdre has exhibited at Hyde Park Art Center, Betty Rymer Gallery, Evanston Art Center, the Museum of Shenandoah Valley, Koehnline Museum of Art Gallery, and the Swedish American Museum, among other venues.  She has been awarded grants from the City of Chicago/Illinois Arts Counsel and was included in New American Paintings Midwest Edition in 2012, and as featured artist for Chicago Artists Month in 2008.  Residencies include Ragdale Foundation, the Center for Books and Paper Arts, the Chicago Open Studios Program, and the Cliff Dwellers Club.

Deirdre has been with Urban Sketchers Chicago since 2014.  In addition to urban sketching and physical doodles, she specializes in fauna, flora, and graphite.  At this year’s seminar, Deirdre will be leading the workshop, Flora and Fauna in Situ.


See more of Deirdre’s work at

Meet Our Instructors: Ted Gordon

Ted GordonTed is a professional artist and animator.  He has created the motions for humans, monsters, and animals for video games played on consoles, PCs, and arcade machines since 1999.  One of his favorite projects was as Lead Animator of Jurassic Park Arcade, which can be found at family entertainment centers, movie theaters, and theme parks throughout the world.

Ted designed and taught the game art curriculum and served as Associate Chair of the Game department at Flashpoint Academy.  Ted enjoys Urban Sketching, plein air painting, and taking on commissions featuring the beautiful architecture in and around Chicago.

Ted enjoys taking a journalistic approach to his artwork, setting aside preconceived notions to observe reality, in pursuit of visual truth.  Ted is the ideal instructor for this year’s seminar workshop, Urban Sketches that Tell Stories.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.06.44 AM

To see more of Ted’s work, please visit