Workshop 10: Coptic Bookbinding

Instructor:  Jodie McGovern


Join this fun workshop where you will make a 5½ x 8½ sketchbook with heavyweight vellum paper.  The coptic binding method employs sewing as a means of holding the book pages together.  No glue is used!  This allows the book to lay flat when open – a boon to sketchers.  A variety of heavy weight scrapbook paper will be provided to use as front and back covers.


Please bring a bone folder if you have one.  All other materials will be provided.

Example of coptic binding:

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Workshop 9: Architecture Sketching Tour

Guide:  Joann Sondy


Chicago Architecture is an invaluable gift for an Urban Sketcher.  Rarely can such a variety of schools and styles be seen within walking distance of each other, and sketched in just a few hours.  Architecture Sketching Tour will do just that.  No drawing instruction will be given during this tour.

The tour will begin with the Fine Arts Building, and will make 20-30 minute stops at the following destinations:

  • Chicago Club
  • Van Buren Metra entrance
  • Auditorium Building/Roosevelt University at Congress Street
  • Buckingham Fountain
  • North President’s Court with Michigan Avenue wall as background

The group will return to Van Buren Metra entrance.  If time permits, we will include Metropolitan Building and Motorola Building at Jackson & Michigan.

Tour guide will lecture on Chicago architecture, the city’s history, and the relationship between the commerce of the Loop and Grant Park.

This workshop will require a lot of walking.  No drawing instruction will be given during this tour.

Learning Goals:

  • interpretation of architecture styles, elements, and overall design
  • connecting to Chicago history and development
  • practicing architectural sketching skills for perspective, scale and capturing the “big view” versus details


  • sketchpad
  • favorite drawing medium (pencil, charcoal, pen, iPad & stylus)
  • small frame like an empty 35mm slide frame (optional)
  • portable stool (optional)

Joann’s sketches:

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To view more of Joann’s work, please visit

Workshop 8: Art Materials Lecture

Instructor:  Ed Brickler


This is a 90-minute workshop dedicated to “everything you ever wanted to know about paper.”  The instructor will review various types of paper, describing their characteristics and archival qualities.  You will learn how to choose the right paper or surface for your project, as well as how to preserve your paper.  Participants will receive the Guide to Fine Art Paper, as well as paper samples for their own use.

Learning Goals:

Learning how paper works will allow you to make more informed choices when choosing fine art papers.


No supplies are needed.


To see Ed’s art work, go to

Workshop 7: Urban Sketching in Oil Paint

Instructor:  Don Yang


Note:  This is a two-part, all day workshop (breaking for lunch), for artists with oil painting experience. 

Students will learn how to effectively capture the sense of fleeting light, color, and atmosphere in an urban environment using oil paint.

There will be two main emphases in this workshop.  The first will be the fundamentals of sketching outdoors (regardless of medium).  This will encompass such fundamentals as sound composition, color harmony, convincing drawing, sketching outdoors environment, and so on.

The second emphasis will deal with the painting methods and techniques specifically related to the medium of oil paint and other auxiliary oil painting materials, tools, and the set-up necessary in outdoor oil sketching.

Learning Goals:

  • tools and set-up of outdoor oil painting
  • choosing the subject for dynamic outdoor composition in oil painting
  • capturing the spontaneity of light and color in a fast-changing, outdoor light
  • unique tips and methods related to capturing the sense of light and air in outdoor painting


  • portable paint box (simple pochade box or French easel)
  • oil paints, brushes, solvents, canvas panels, palette, palette cup, paper towel

A detailed list for the specific colors, brushes, canvas panels, etc., will be provided to the registered participants prior to the weekend.

Don’s sketches:

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See more of Don’s work at

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 –