Urban Sketching Workshop

Urban Sketching

Learn to use sketching to raise the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing. Focus on drawing, composition, techniques and materials; hone your creative approach to vision, expression, storytelling and reportage. The workshop is conducted in outdoor urban settings: vista points with city views for sketching panoramas, bustling market places to develop gestural sketches of people in motion, architectural perspectives.

Course Agenda:

Friday evening – Meet and greet, introduction to tools and basic techniques, exploration of examples of location drawing, discussion about how to introduce location drawing into an art classroom and what techniques are developmentally appropriate for various levels of learners. We’ll move to —–

Saturday – Hands on workshop, demonstration and guided practice using pen techniques, reactivation of drawn lines, introduction of monochromatic washes; emphasis upon gestural line quality. We’ll begin at the City Market and move to a city vista location across the river in the afternoon. We’ll review sketches on location. There will be ample time to develop sketches on your own.

Sunday – Demonstration of color techniques – especially watercolor washes over permanent black ink lines. We’ll begin in downtown Kansas City, returning to the classroom in the afternoon for group critique.

Learning Goals:

  • TLW explore ways of creating a strong focal point in sketches.
  • TLW create location drawings that are visually true to a place, but underscore personal artistic vision.
  • TLW develop a bold and fluid exchange between sketching, mark-making and painting.


Understanding and applying media, techniques and processes. Participants will develop and expand their knowledge of visual arts media, techniques, and processes in order to express ideas creatively in their artworks. [10%]

Application of appropriate structures and functions. Participants will demonstrate a knowledge of the elements and principles of design and show an aesthetic awareness of the visual and tactile qualities in the environment that are found in works of art. [10%]

Reflecting upon one’s own work and the work of others. Participants will use thorough analysis, interpretation, and judgment to make informed responses to their own artworks and those of others. [10%]

Engages in behaviors that promote learning. Participants demonstrate proficiency and craftsmanship; actively engages in all learning activities; contributes to a positive learning environment; utilizes problem-solving strategies; works in collaboration when appropriate; and follows art room expectations and procedures. [10%]

Final Assignment. Students will create an exemplar and write a standards-based lesson, translating learning from this workshop into a lesson appropriate for use in their own classroom. Lesson and exemplar will be submitted digitally, no later than two weeks from the conclusion of workshop. [60%]

Curriculum Connections:

Strand I: Product/Performance, 1A: Drawing: Select and apply two-dimensional media, techniques and processes to communicate ideas and solve challenging visual art problems, National Standards VA1, Show-Me Standards FA1

Strand I: Product/Performance, 3A: Fine Art: Communicate ideas about subject matter and themes in artworks created for various purposes, National Standards VA1, Show-Me Standards FA1

Strand II: Elements and Principles, 1B, 1C, and 1G: Shapes, Forms, Space: Select and use elements of art for their effect in communicating ideas through artwork, National Standards VA2, Show-Me Standards FA2

PLEASE NOTE: Classes are held contingent on a minimum enrollment, which is determined five business days prior to the class start date. As a class may be cancelled, we recommend that you do not open or use your materials until at least two days prior to your class start date. This way, you are free to return your merchandise without problem. Students will be contacted only if a class is cancelled.

Student Supply List

  • Pilot Varsity pens
  • Fine line Sharpie or other permanent black markers
  • High quality sketchbook with heavy paper – I recommend the Moleskin Watercolor Sketchbook
  • Pencils or graphite holders
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Small watercolor kit with a medium sized round brush
  • Folding chair, umbrella (optional)
  • Fountain pen(s) and ink (optional)




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