Introduction to Urban Sketching: Workshop in Galway 20th-22nd June 2019

Urban Sketching is the drawing craze that’s spreading all over the world. It’s fun, absorbing and rewarding. As an urban sketcher you will never be bored; you will have a stunning memoir of the places you visit and live; you will enjoy a life of creativity and colour that you never thought would be possible. It’s yours for the taking, and the best bit is that it’s lots of fun learning.

Do I need to know how to sketch to take part?

No! This is for all levels. Maybe you’ve never drawn before, but fancy giving it a go. Perhaps you enjoyed art at school but gave it up for one reason or another. Maybe you are experienced in another area of art, and you’re new to on-location sketching. Whatever your level, this workshop will introduce you to the world of urban sketching.

I discovered urban sketching in 2012, and I’ve filled about eighty sketchbooks since then. It’s a journey – and while it’s often a challenge, it’s a lot of fun. While the sketches I’ve included in this piece were done on location in Galway City, they all took at least a couple of visits. I’ll show you how to get pleasing results when you just have an hour or two – sometimes even less.

You don’t need easels, specially-allotted time or a studio to be an urban sketcher. All you need is a pocket in which to stuff a few supplies and you are off – off on a journey that will take you to places and give you experiences you never predicted.

But where do you start?

In this workshop I will introduce you to everything you’ll need to know to get you on your way.

  • The concept of urban sketching – draw what you see, where you are
  • Materials and kit
  • Sketching opportunities for the beginner
  • Getting over nerves
  • Basics of composition: what to include, what to leave out; what looks good; orienting the page; fitting everything in
  • Perspective
  • Scale and proportions
  • Line – getting those proportions right; a beautiful line
  • The basics of watercolour
  • Using colour to best advantage – avoiding clashes, being efficient on location
  • Taking it further – how to link into the warm and friendly worldwide community of sketchers.

My ethos is to give you the tools you need as an urban sketcher to express yourself and your own style, with no barriers of technique getting in the way.


The West of Ireland in June is a special place. It’s warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, and it doesn’t get dark until nearly 11pm at that time of year. The heart of the West is Galway City, and this June I will teach a three-day workshops over the mid-summer weekend in June. In this vibrant, lively and colourful city, so full of live music, nature and gourmet food, I will take you to beautiful parts of Galway, and share my journey as an urban sketcher with you, and show you how to access it for yourself.

What do I need to bring?

I will send a list of what you will need to bring. If you want, I can provide a full set containing everything you need.

Some of the topics…


Galway is a medieval city that was built on a network of waterways. You are never far from a river or a canal or even the sea. That’s why it offers great opportunities to practice water in all its guises: fast-flowing, still and reflective, reflecting a clear blue sky and a cloudy, threatening one.

During this workshop I will share simplified ways to capture the life and movement of water. Waves, reflections and movement are all part of capturing water.

Street scenes

As an urban sketcher, you’ll often want to tackle street scenes. In this workshop I will show you tricks for making the buildings on streets a bit easier, and how to use the colours in your paintbox in a way that doesn’t overwhelm.

Food and drink

It’s great fun to sketch in a café. We’ll look at ways to sketch a nice meal, from glassware and drinks to the food you’re having. I’ll also show you how to add lettering in a creative way.

We will visit Sheridan’s Wine Bar, above the cheesemongers of the same name on St Nicholas’ Lane, where we will sample (having sketched first, of course!) some of the delicious Irish cheese and charcuterie on offer.


We’ll visit Papa Rich, an Asian-themed restaurant, with a stunning view across the river. We will have an unobstructed view to Galway Cathedral to sketch. There will be tips on sketching people walking on the canal bank too. Afterwards we will have dinner there.

Drawing Made Easier

Using the “mental grid” system you will discover one of the best ways to ensure solid, accurate drawing. We’ll sketch some of the strong architectural shapes around Galway, including the Docks: we’ll tackle the majestic craft that visit the harbour, including war ships, fishing trawlers and cargo ships, using your newly-acquired drawing skills. You’ll find how sketching a complex scene is often easier than something simpler. I will show you why!

We’ll have a group dinner in Rouge, Galway’s wonderful French restaurant. Fabienne, the proprietor, loves sketchers and she will be delighted to facilitate some sketching of the decor and atmosphere! I will encourage you to sketch the diners around you in a very relaxed situation.

How much?

The workshop costs €320 per person for the three days.


The three-day workshop costs €320. This covers the following:Three days of tuition from 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 2.00pm to 5.30pm

The workshop will have a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 participants. If the minimum number has been reached by May 20th the workshop will be confirmed. Accommodation and meals will be at the participant’s own expense but there are lots of places to stay, from budget to more upmarket, and lots of dining options, from fresh hot food from the market to any one of the cafés and restaurants that are on every street in Galway. In nice weather there are many green areas by the river to enjoy your lunch, so a picnic is a lovely option too.

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Terms and Conditions

(1) Places in the workshop are strictly limited to 12. This does not include companions, whom we will do our best to accommodate.
(2) This workshop is based on a minimum of 5 people attending.
(3) The workshop will be conducted in English.
(4) The workshop will take place between 9.30 am and 5.30pm Thursday 20th – Saturday 22nd June inclusive.
(5) It is the responsibility for the attendees and their companions to make their own way to the location in Galway, Ireland on the first day and to the various starting points each morning in good time and to arrange their own departure after the workshop ends.
(6) Please arrange your own insurance. You should arrange to insure against problems in all aspects of your travel, including flight cancellation, health problems, baggage loss or damage, or cancellation of the group tour booking.
(7) We can suggest some places to stay, but we will not be held responsible for any deficiencies in that accommodation.
(8) The itinerary may be adjusted to accommodate unforeseen changes to the schedule.
(9) The weather may dictate that we have to work indoors. If this is the case, then suitable adjustments to the programme will be made, so that the workshop can continue.
(10) We do not provide any art materials to the participants as standard. Please bring these with you. We will list the items we think you should bring. If you wish us to source some art materials for you, then we can do this, at your own expense. Please contact us if you want us to get anything for you.
(11) We will not be held responsible for theft or damage caused by others during the workshop. Please ensure you are covered by insurance for these eventualities.
(12) We cannot be held responsible for events beyond our control, such as floods, power cuts, storm damage, water shortages, drinking water contamination, leaks etc. We will try to help if we can to resolve any issues that arise.
(13) The workshop fee only covers the tuition fee. All other costs are at the participants expense.
(14) Róisín Curé Art reserves the right to change the location in the case of force majeure. The customer shall inform Róisín Curé Art in writing whether he or she chooses to withdraw or to benefit from the alternate package within and not after 2 days from receipt of the alternate proposal. Should the customer fail to accept any variations, Róisín Curé Art shall return only the sums of money received within 7 working days from receipt of the communication from the customer.
(15) Damage and Charges. Attendees and their companions are required to act in a responsible manner at all times. Róisín Curé Art reserves the right to recover from clients the cost of any loss or damage caused by a failure to respect the property, fixtures, or fittings in the sketching locations.
(16) We cannot be held responsible for force majeure including (but not limited to) strikes, breakdowns, illness, accidents, volcanic dust clouds, storms, war, terrorist acts, riots, floods, etc.

Cancellation Policy: 31-60 days before departure: 75% forfeited. 0-30 days before departure: 100% forfeited.

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