Urban Sketching for Beginners (or how to loosen your drawing style & embrace your wonky lines!)

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£47 GBP / $58 USD / 55 EURO / $79 CAD / $79.75 AUS

(exchange rates may vary slightly)

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Imagine becoming an artist where your inspiration comes from observing your everyday life.

You would gain an eye-opening appreciation for the town or city you live in and places you visit.

Bustling crowds, interesting architecture, and wonky lampposts would become your subjects and a fine-line pen your only drawing tool.

You could start today.

You wouldn’t have to wait until you had the perfect view in the perfect place with perfect pencils and the perfect light.

Creating a visual diary of the world around you, developing the daily practice of recording the story of your life through sketches, is what’s so exciting about ‘urban sketching’.

What would you draw?

And, the second part of the question, would you be happy with your drawing?

You could say that no artist is ever truly happy with their finished works but learning how to move away from overworked drawings can be a hard stage for many beginners.

But what if your wonky lines and ‘mistakes’ actually turned into an asset?

Learning to embrace the wobble, loosening your style yet still creating a drawing that looks realistic yet sketchy, is what I want to teach you on this course.

You can learn to leave the eraser at home and develop a confidence with line.

By setting up a simple framework of a scene and focusing on the key points in the gesture, your sketches of places and people can come to life.

Urban Sketching for Beginners Course

urban sketching online video course

I’ve developed a new course to show you exactly how I approach my sketches when drawing in the city, the materials I use and how you can do the same thing.

This course will enable you to practice your drawing skills and create fast, bold urban sketches with pencils, pens, or watercolors—whatever tools you have on hand.

I’ve included an introduction to the materials you’ll need and demonstrations on how to create frameworks for successful sketches using free-hand vertical lines, perspective, and tonal blocks.

The lessons follow a logical progression, from sketching buildings and monuments to capturing the movement of individual figures and groups of people in cafes.

rooftop sketch

What are the topics the Urban Sketching for Beginners course covers?

The course is a mix of real on-location sketching with studio based lessons and concepts. So you can learn the steps in the studio and then see how they translate to the street.

  • Drawing theory
  • On-location drawing demonstrations in Cornwall, England & Florence, Italy.
  • Studio-based drawing & watercolour tutorials.

The course is split into 6 downloadable video lessons, with each lesson made up of separate chapters that follow on sequentially.

With over 15 follow-along drawing demonstrations and 3 1/2 hours of lessons this course gives you a fab foundation for you to build upon.

urban sketching course

Lesson 1 – Sketching the Everyday

Introduction to Materials – Pens, Inks & Sketchpads – An introduction to a range of multi-purpose sketching materials that fit easily into a pocket or satchel.
Introducing Colour – How different marker pens & watercolours can quickly add mood and atmosphere.
Urban vs Landscape – Observing the different approaches when Urban Sketching vs Landscape Sketching, moving away from the picturesque landscape viewpoint towards documentary style urban realism.
Sketching a Moment – How to open your eyes to the drawing opportunities that surround you every day, learning to capture a moment in time within a hectic environment.

perspective drawing

Lesson 2 – Structure, Mark-Making & Choosing the Right Materials

Straight Lines Framework – Discovering the importance of verticals lines and free hand architectural structures that will form the framework to your sketches.
Light & Shadow – Introducing tone into your line drawings with simplistic tonal blocks of darks, mids and lights to balance composition and reveal light & shadow.
Using Pencil – How to match materials and marks to your subject, a more sensitive study.
Using Pen – How to match materials and marks to your subject, a stark black and white scene.
Using Colour – Cheating detail with colour using simple watercolour washes to create the illusion of a more complicated painting by blocking in simple flashes of colour.
On Location – Challenge.
On Location – Solution.

architectural sketching

Lesson 3 – Architecture, Perspective & Making Depth Work

Observing Light – Introducing Cityscapes, Rooftops and Panoramas, sketching the cityscape in an early evening light.
Twilight & Nightlight – How to capture the evening lights, including a ‘Silhouette Skyline’  incorporating watercolour washes.
Early Morning Light – Observing the early morning light capturing the different shadow shapes on Italy’s intricate rooftops.
Panoramics – An ‘inside-out’ technique of how to change your approach when drawing panoramics.
Perspective – Tackling the tricky subject of perspective whilst out on location and how different viewpoints create different problems with perspective and scale.
On Location – Challenge
On Location – Solution

lesson 4 title (1)

Lesson 4 – Figures, Groups & Movement

Single Figure – Creating a realistic individual figure using ink, pen & wash.
Introducing Figures – Quick tips and techniques when introducing figures into your drawings, giving a sense of movement and scale, efficiently and effectively.
Group Scenes – Capturing a busy crowded cafe scene with seated groups of people, using bold pen marks and watercolour marker washes.
On Location – Challenge
On Location – Solution

Lesson 5 – Monuments & Street Furniture

Monuments – Sketching a monument with sepia pen and wash.
Natural Elements – Observing nature, trees, bushes and water within the urban setting incorporating watercolour washes to add colour and life.
Street Furniture – Capturing a bike in strong light, observing dramatic shadow shapes with fine line pens and markers, looking at different thickness of pens.

watercolour sketch

Lesson 6 – Bringing it all Together

Final Project – A busy street scene incorporating vertical architectural structures, street furniture, a wide tonal range, colour contrast and figures.
Pen Sketch – Part 1 Incorporating all the techniques from the course, looking at composition and tonal balance.
Adding Watercolour Part 2 Bringing in a watercolour wash to bring the sketch to life and the piece all together.

I want this course to demystify the urban sketching process and slowly introduce new concepts, from tackling static buildings and perspective to adding movement of people and capturing crowds.

When you understand the steps to take, it can be empowering to think ‘I think I can do this’.

urban watercolour sketch

How is the Course Delivered?

  • 6 Downloadable Step-by-Step Video Lessons – over 3 1/2 hours of video instruction that once downloaded – you have anytime, anywhere access.
  • A ‘Getting Started & Materials List PDF‘ – which includes your materials list.
  • A ‘Your Urban Sketching Downloads PDF’  – which includes all the reference images used throughout the course.

Requirements for the course

  • A broadband internet connection – the files sizes for the video lessons are quite large (3GB in total)
  • Enough free space on your computer or iPad– the video files are quite large (3GB in total)
  • A colour printer – to print out the reference images
  • 10 – 30 min – ‘you-time’ – You’ll need to be able to dedicate 30 minutes for each drawing demonstration, slightly longer for the watercolour lessons, but practice can pop up every day. On a tea break, a train ride,
  • Some experience of drawing with pencils 
  • A love of Italian Gelato or Good Coffee and a Croissant (optional, yet some might say essential)

The Artists Eye

Having studied film and cinematography, I’ve tried to create a video course that will give you the best results, as if I’m in the studio with you. This course also goes out on Location, comparing and contrasting the theory and techniques in the studio to what actually happens when you’re sketching on the street.

  • High-Quality Full HD Video Recording
  • Recorded in pristine 24/96 kHz audio which has been digitally mastered using the latest audio software, so you can hear me clearly (no more audio hiss)

Edited by the artist

I filmed it, edited it, and coloured it myself (with a little help from Vanessa!) rather than working with a production company.

Artists have different needs than editors so I wanted to cut the course like an artist, showing you exactly what I wanted to see when I was learning.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who is the course for?

An aspiring sketcher who has been working with pencil and erasers but wants to learn how to loosen up their sketches and has tried a few drawings indoors but wants to progress to sketching outside.

What if I can’t draw?

Well, wobbly lines are a must for urban sketching!

If you’re an absolute beginner who hasn’t even picked up a pencil before you might take to sketching street scenes as your natural style! – but if you’re not sure, I would recommend you take a look at my Absolute Beginners Drawing Course. It will guide you through all the basic materials and show you how to really understand how drawing ‘works’ when observing from life.

What results will I achieve at the end of the Urban Sketching Course?

The main aim of the course is to get you motivated and feeling inspired to start sketching your everyday life.

If you capture a drawing of a meal out with friends, fantastic! a view out of the train window, amazing! making the step from a camera to pencil or pen can be a really freeing jump forward in your own drawings and artwork.

Here’s a story from Stacey who took the course last year and how she’s incorporated the skills into her daily life:

“Will, A year ago I took your Urban Sketching class. I had a little sketching experience and had tried to paint a few times, but my eye was too sophisticated for my skill set and I was always unhappy with what I produced, even when others liked it.

I took your class and not only enjoyed it thoroughly, but found myself able to stick with it and practice for the first time. I liked that you recommended specific pens and products and found that they worked for me as well. Your descriptions and instructions were soothing and encouraging but, more importantly, they are detailed and they work- and you never talk down to the student and neither oversimplify things that are complicated nor complicate the simple things!

Your step-by-step sections helped me see the thought processes and the steps and also helped me to trust my instincts and develop my own style even as I tried to copy exactly what you demonstrated. I practised in a notebook in the evenings and just enjoyed the process even when the drawings were TERRIBLE and the perspective totally off, I took your advice and just stayed in the moment and had fun with the play of ink and water and line and colour. Within a couple weeks I had improved enough that I began to share sketches on social media and in a few months people were asking to BUY them, so I had to begin playing on better paper! It is a year later and I’m drawing and painting up a storm and about ready to take your portrait class.

People remark on my “talent” and “relaxed style” — that is all a result of your teaching and your sense of humor and the techniques and attitude your classes cultivate. 

This class not only taught me a lot, but stated me on a path towards drawing and painting as a main part of my life, influencing much more than I could have anticipated. I’m selling drawing myself and paintings — something I literally never expected.” 

Click the add to cart button below to get started on the course!

Add to Cart

£47 GBP / $58 USD / 55 EURO / $79 CAD / $79.75 AUS

(exchange rates may vary slightly)

So how does it work?

After clicking ‘Add to Cart’ you can pay via Paypal using a credit/ debit card or a Paypal account.

Don’t have a Paypal Account?

In most countries, Paypal offers an option for you to pay using Paypal, without opening a Paypal account.
Here is a screenshot from UK Paypal.


Once you’ve paid, after a few seconds you’ll be redirected to a download page containing all the video links and Information (see image example below)


You will also be emailed your download link as a backup.

How big are the video files?

To download the course you ideally need a broadband connection as the video files are quite large (Total 3GB) – you do not receive a DVD.

You then have to Download and Save the video tutorials onto your home computer.

This can take up to 20 minutes for each file depending on your internet speed.

(Please Note: If you want to watch the videos using an iPad, you need a free app called ‘Documents’ this will allow you to download and save the files – you can read more about Downloading to an iPad here)

Do you have a DVD version of the course available?


Do I need a special program to watch the videos on my computer?

No, the video files are MP4 ‘s and 95% of computers/laptops will have a media player on them.

If you have earlier software that doesn’t have a media player, you can download one for free.

Apple Quicktime

or VLC media player (also free) VLC Media Player http://www.videolan.org/

To view the PDF files, you need Adobe Reader (also free to download)

How do I download the videos onto my Computer/iPad?


Download Page example

On a P.C

Hover the mouse over the orange ‘Click here’ link and ‘right-click’ your mouse. There will be an option that says ‘Save Link as’

Click this option and a box should come up saying where do you want to say the files (eg, desktop, whatever your files names are called) decide where to save them and then the file should start to download, it might take 10 minutes before it downloads fully (depending on internet speed.)

On a Mac

Click the ‘click here’ link.
It will give you the option to ‘Open with’ or ‘Save file’
You want to click ‘Save as’ and the file will download into your downloads.

Can I download the videos to my iPad?

Firstly, I would download the files onto a desktop or laptop if you have one, just so you have a copy of the files.

Then you have a couple of options, either to transfer via iTunes or to purchase an app on the iPad.

Use a separate app

If you have an iPad you can use a free app called ‘Documents to be able to download the video files onto your iPad.

Please note: Without the app you won’t be able to download and save the videos directly to your iPad. here is a more in-depth tutorial on how to download the lessons to an iPad.

Transferring files via iTunes

If you have a Mac you can:
1. Download the files to your desktop (or find the ones you’ve already saved)
2. Plug in iPad to Mac
3. Open iTunes
4. Drag MP4′s (video files of the course) on the Mac into TV shows or Movies
5. To Play on iPad open the Videos App then look under TV shows or Movies
6. The MP4 video files from the course should play fine.
If you’re on a PC you can download iTunes here and go through the same process.

Can I download onto my Tablet?

Not directly – to download the videos onto your tablet you need to download them to your main computer first and that transfer to your tablet via USB. Here are the instructions from one of my students:

“Here is what I did to get the files onto my Android tablet from a PC.

1. From your link I downloaded the files to my Download folder on my PC. From there I moved them to my Video folder. (which is part of the Libraries folder on Windows 7)
2.I connected my tablet via USB cable to my PC
3.Using Windows Explorer, I copied the files from the PC Video folder, to a folder on my Acer Aconia tablet called Videos.
4. To view the course on my tablet. I click on the App called Multi- media and use the Acer media video app.’

Windows explorer is a graphical file manager in the Windows operating system that displays the contents of Libraries, folders and files. I do not know if this would affect the routine or not, but my tablet is 2 years old and for newer tablets there might be an easier routine.”

Can I download the video files and put them onto my own DVD or USB flash drive to watch on a DVD player/TV?

Yes, you can download the files onto a DVD or USB flash drive.

Downloading to a USB Flash Drive

USB-SAN-DISK-3.0You can download the files direct to a USB flash drive that will give you portability and extra storage.

Downloading to a DVD

Not all DVD players will playback Mp4 files.

There are a couple of options:

1. DVD playback on another computer:

If you burn the MP4 files onto a DVD and then play the DVD in another computer or laptop it should play without a problem if you have an up to date media player that supports MP4s.

(If you need an up to date media Player you can download one here: VLC media player (also free) VLC Media Player http://www.videolan.org/)

2. DVD playback on a DVD player with a file Converter

It depends on if your DVD player supports MP4 video files.

Many DVD players will say MP4 on the front tray, for example ‘DVD/Audio CD/DivX/MP4/MP3/’

Some older DVD player do not support MP4 because MP4 is a format with different decodes.

If you have an older DVD player you will have to convert the files using free software.

The MP4 to DVD converter from www.freemake.com is a good choice.