Today is the day! Today is the day I begin a course in urban sketching for a whole new clan of sketchers, some total newbies, some old hands but whose passion for capturing their world in art has brought them to me today.
It’s the first of a five day course on urban sketching, with watercolour as our medium of choice, for total beginners. I am talking about those who have never opened a box of watercolours before, who were previously unaware that you can use fountain pens and waterproof ink for sketching and who have never heard the word “fude” or posessed a sketchbook.
If you would like to join, you still can, but only until 6.00pm GMT+1 today, Monday 12th June. Even if you can’t be present at the live classes, buy it in advance and you will be sent the recordings. The course won’t be available to purchase online after this, although there will be more courses in the future. I only have 7 spaces left as of this writing so don’t delay if you would like to join.
(Update: 4 places left. Book with this link: https://roisincure.com/product/saturday-sketchalong-copy-copy/)
So what will we be doing in the course?
Day 1 Monday 12th June
As a beginner, it can be hard to go out sketching on your own. While it’s great to go out with your friends or family to sketch, it’s not always feasible. I often need a rememdy for loneliness or general restlessness, and I have found the perfect remedy in urban sketching. I have long since gotten used to the feeling of self-consciousness, but it wasn’t always like that. Whether I am feeling awkward or not, there’s always a subject I can sketch with discretion: my cup of coffee. Tea will do just as nicely!
- Drinking your tea or coffee while it’s still hot
- Stainless steel – making it shiny
- Leaving white areas
- Doing nice paint spatters
Day 2 Tuesday 13th June
Making a beautiful sketch from life has its fundamentals in good observation. Capturing the light. Depicting reflections that seem to shimmer. Painting the shadows to bring depth to a scene. Sketching trees that have weight and mass, with foliage that looks natural. There are many artistic phrases that might sound esoteric and possibly difficult to put into practice. But they are all down to good observation. On Tuesday, the second day of the course, we are going to look at some common elements as urban sketchers: reflections and trees are often a big reason why we’re drawn to sketch something, and happily they come with the same characteristics over and over again…depending on the season, the wind and the sun, but we will talk about that too! The colours green and blue will be studied, as applied to trees an reflections in water.
- Making trees look leafy
- Making reflections look real
- Making greens look natural
- Making a horizontal horizon
Day 3 Wednesday 14th June
This is a course concentrating on using watercolour as an urban sketcher, but it’s nice to have a strong armature on top of which to put colour. I have a straightforward technique to help you draw (hint: it helps to “see” well!) and it will be something you will use forever, or as long as you want to build solid, believable shapes, or lifelike portraits. On Wednesday I will share my favourite pen with you and put it through its paces. It may be something you decide to buy, and it may not be. And no class on drawing would be complete without the dread word – perspective – but it can be approached in the same way as the basic drawing technique (luckily – who wants to fiddle around with vanishing points?). We will draw a simple building as our entry point into this drawing method, and you can practice it as much as you like when you are out in the wild sketching.
- A good trick for estimating the slope of a line
- Avoiding overwhelm in a complex scene
- Getting your scale right
Day 4 Thursday 15th June
Techniques With Watercolour
Watercolour is a funny one. It’s known to be difficult, because it’s hard to change a stroke of paint once it has dried. But the excellent news is that there aren’t too many things to learn to produce stunning results. In Thursday’s class we will learn some lovely and easy techniques in handling watercolour that you will soon be using like a pro.
- Washing away a mistake – the timing involved
- Glazing – avoiding a muddy look
- Wet-in-wet – letting the beauty shine through
- Dilution and concentration – light and dark versions of your colours
- Avoiding visible brushstrokes
- Leaving white
- Bending colours, on and off the page
Day 5 Friday 16th June
Putting It All Together
On the last day of the course, we will put the elements we have touched upon together in one or two scenes. There’ll be a tree, some reflections, a cup of coffee and a building…sketched and painted using the watercolour techniques. This class will introduce the concept of depth of field: foreground, middle ground and background. You will be given a list of prompts for scenes containing one or other of these elements, and it will be up to you to choose one, and to post the results (should you wish) in our private Facebook group.
Tricks or Techniques:
- Anything else you have asked me to address during the week!
At the end, I will send you on your way with your bag of tricks and techniques, wishing you well on your beautiful, creative journey, and with an invitation to join us in our wonderful Facebook group, which is filled with the most lively and enthusiastic sketchers you could ever hope to eet, from around the world. You will be spoiled for ideas! And we are all friends there…with a shared passion for sketching. Happy days!