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.

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To see more of Ted’s work, please visit


Meet Our Instructors: Adriana Gasparich

During the month of May, we will be introducing you to our instructors.  Today, we begin with Adriana Gasparich.

Adriana is a native of Mexico, who received a bachelor’s degree as a Food Engineer.  She worked in the food industry in Mexico before moving to the United States 12 years ago. adriana_gasparich

Adriana has always liked drawing.  Her first encounter with art was when her mother took her to watercolor classes.  Adriana was just five or six years old.  Art caught her interest again as an adult, so she began to take drawing and watercolor painting workshops at Joliet Junior College years ago, and continues taking workshops today.

Adriana also learned some tricks and tips by reading books from fellow sketchers, starting with Danny Gregory’s “Everyday Matters,” and Gabriel Campanario’s “The Art of Urban Sketching.”  She has been participating in Urban Sketchers Chicago since 2013.

Adriana says, “I like to register anything that catches my attention.  It can be anything, really.  I love sketching and put lots of color in my sketches.  Sketching gives me a sense of accomplishment, and color makes me happy.  I am inspired by anyone who has the courage to make art and expose it to the world.”

Adriana Gasparich - sketch 3

Adriana loves to sketch with pen, ink, and watercolor – on any subject.  At our 2016 seminar this summer, she will be teaching Fearless Sketching with Pen, Ink, and Watercolor.

You can see more of Adriana’s art at


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

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

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 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