Going green!

Dear seminar participants,

In order to reduce paper waste, we decided not to print individual workshop location maps this year. Please save a copy of the workshop map on your mobile device, or print a copy for yourself. If needed, we will have one master copy of the map at the seminar headquarters (i.e., The American Academy of Art).

Thank you for your understanding. See you all tomorrow!


2016 USk Sketch Seminar map


Preparing for the Seminar

Only 4 more days until the 2016 USk Chicago sketch seminar! To help you prepare, we’d like to share with you the workshop location map. We hope you’re excited as we are to  sketch around the magnificent Michigan Avenue, Millennium Park, and the American Academy of Art.

Don’t forget to meet at the American Academy of Art at 9am on Saturday for the seminar opening.

At this time, the weather is looking great for this sketch seminar weekend. If there’s any chance of rain, we’ll keep you posted of all “rain delay” workshop locations.

See you all soon!


2016 USk Sketch Seminar map


Saturday, July 9, 2016

9:00 AM – Opening Reception and Registration Check-In

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM  Morning Workshops

1:00 – 2:30 PM  Lunch

1:00 – 2:30 PM  Lunch and Team Sketching (for those who want to join)

2:30 – 5:30 PM  Afternoon Workshops

6:00 PM – Dinner and Drawing

Sunday, July 10, 2016

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM  Morning Workshops

1:00 – 2:30 PM  Lunch

1:00 – 2:30 PM  Lunch and Team Sketching (for those who want to join)

2:30 – 5:30 PM  Afternoon Workshops

5:30 – 7:00 PM  Show, Party and Closing

Workshop 16: Sketching with Markers for Beginners

Instructor:  Wes Douglas


This workshop will focus on the different effects that can be achieved by sketching with markers. It is surprisingly simple to do and versatile as a tool for on-location sketching. Through demonstrations and hands-on exercises, learn how to create many of the same effects as watercolor, and without the messy clean up – just click the caps back on! Participants will receive handouts for marker papers and products on the market.

Learning Goals:

  • coloring for flat areas of color
  • blending of two or more colors
  • creating the illusion of shape, dimension and texture
  • rendering architecture
  • rendering landscaping
  • adding people or animals to your sketch


  • sketchbook (4×6″ or larger recommended)
  • pencils and erasers
  • black pen for line work (Sharpie Ultra Fine Point, Uniball gel pen or ballpoint)
  • starter kit of markers (Copic, Prismacolor, Blick or Pitt greys)

Wes’s sketches:

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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:

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To see more of Ted’s work, please visit www.TedGordonArt.com.

Workshop 14: Urban Sketching with Colored Pencils

Instructor:  Mark Jones


This workshop will focus on adding color and depth to your sketches by utilizing colored pencils along with graphite and pen.

Learning Goals:

Learn how the use of colored pencils, the blending of colors, and the combination with graphite or pen, or both, can enrich your sketches and bring out texture and depth.


  • colored pencils, a minimum of 12, including white, shades of blues, reds, greens, and grays (Berol Prismacolor 24-pack is a good starting set)
  • cream, terra cotta, and burnt orange are additional colors, good for buildings
  • graphite pencils of various lead weights from soft to hard: 2B, HB, 4H
  • ink pens of varying weights (Micron 02, 05, 08 or equivalent)
  • pencil sharpener

Mark’s sketches:

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To see more of Mark’s work, follow him on Instagram, @markjones4125.

Workshop 13: Capturing Chicago’s Rhythm and Energy

Instructor:  Lisa Flahive


This workshop will focus on creating energetic sketches of lively urban spaces without an eraser.  The instructor will start by using a range of large gray markers.  Participants will develop confidence by trying some short sketching exercises.  They will incorporate speed and take some risks in the sketching process.

Learning Goals:

Participants will learn to confidently capture the energy of the city by using:

  • dynamic composition with a focal point
  • line and shape
  • strong sense of value
  • connected shapes to unify the sketch


  • sketchbook
  • one or more technical pens
  • markers – black and two or more gray values (the instructor will demonstrate both wide and big brush markers, but participants may bring any sketching material that allows them to create a range of values)
  • portable stool

Lisa’s sketches:

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To see more of Lisa’s work, please visit Facebook.com/Flahive.artist.

Workshop 12: Rapid Sketch with Watercolor and Velasquez Palette

Instructor:  Keelan Kaiser


Hybridizing the Velasquez Palette with Chinese watercolor techniques.

Learning Goals:

Participants will understand some of the key principles involved in the Velasquez Palette of colors used in architectural watercolor to capture material and light, as well as deploying the bold use of color and layers, while maintaining neutral fields of color.


  • Watercolor block or spiral bound watercolor sketchbook with 140 lb. paper
  • HB and 2B pencils
  • #6, 10, 14 watercolor brushes
  • tubes or cakes of Burnt Siena, Ultramarine Blue, and Yellow Ochre watercolor paints

Keelan’s sketches:




To see more of Keelan’s work, please visit watercolorblast.wordpress.com/.

Workshop 11: How to Sketch Like an Architect

Instructor:  Joel Berman


In this workshop, participants will learn how to rapidly document the buildings in their own graphic vocabulary, with emphasis placed on loose, freehand drawing techniques in lieu of technical drawing.  With practical instruction and coaching from the course leader, participants will learn the following different techniques, one by one, each at a different location.

  • thumbnail sketches
  • contour lines
  • contrast/value
  • perspective
  • speed sketching

At the end of the workshop, each participant will pull together in a final sketch, what he/she has learned.  This workshop is appropriate for beginners with no experience.

The sketching will focus on several nearby historic Chicago buildings – outdoor and/or indoor locations, depending on the weather.

Learning Goals:

  • learn or improve upon the freehand sketching skills and techniques
  • improve your ability to document and remember the existing built environment
  • improve your ability to use freehand sketching as an architectural design tool
  • learn to draw faster and with more confidence


  • 8½ x 11 sketch pad
  • 4B, 2B, HB, 2H, and 4H pencils
  • optional:  pens

Joel’s sketches: