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

Sponsor Announcement: Faber – Castell

Faber Castell Logo
Urban Sketchers Chicago is excited to announce Faber Castell‘s sponsorship of the Chicago Sketch Seminar for a third year in a row!  Faber-Castell began supporting our artist community at our first Sketch Seminar in 2014 and we are honored to be able to continue to share their products with you!  Faber-Castell has a wide range of art materials from pencils, colored pencils, markers, to artist pens, inks and fountain pens and much much more.  Participants at this year’s Seminar will each receive their own set of PITT Artist Pens.  Participants of Donald Colley’s workshop #5 Drawing Urban Dwellers, and #6 Creating a Rich Drawing, and Wes Douglas’s workshop #16 Sketching with Markers for Beginners will have a special opportunity to investigate the versatility of PITT Artist Pens in urban sketching.  Participants will also have the opportunity to win additional Artist Pen sets at Sunday afternoon’s raffle.

USk Chicago thanks Faber-Castell for their incredible generosity and continued support!

Make sure to visit Faber-Castell’s website, and follow them on social media!

Twitter: @FaberCastell


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

Sponsor Announcement: General Pencil Co.

General Pencil

Urban Sketchers Chicago is excited to announce General Pencil Company‘s sponsorship of the Chicago Sketch Seminar for a second year in a row!  General Pencil Company has been proudly making a wide range of pencils and artist supplies in the USA since 1889.  Their pencils and pencil sets were warmly welcomed and immediately used by last year’s Seminar participants and we are excited to share them with you again at this year’s event!

This year, General Pencil Co. will be providing pencils specifically for use in Workshop #3 Poetry of Speed Sketching and Workshop #11 How to Sketch Like and Architect, to each participant in their welcome gift bags, as well as several great raffle items for a raffle event to be held at Sunday afternoon’s reception.  USk Chicago thanks General Pencil Company’s generous and continued support of our artist community!

Make sure to visit General Pencil Co’s website, and follow them on social media!

Twitter: @GeneralPencil
Instagram: @GeneralPencil

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