You don’t need to drive out to the country to draw from life, from an artistic point of view, urban settings have just as much appeal!
The lessons follow a logical progression, from sketching static buildings and monuments to capturing the movement of individual figures and bustling crowds, enabling you to practice your drawing skills and create fast, bold urban sketches with pencils, pens, or watercolors—whatever tools you have on hand.
Choosing your materials
Building structure into your drawing
Capturing panoramic views of a city
Drawing people in cafes
Bringing it all together in a start-to-finish drawing
This online drawing course shows you how to draw from life, learn how to draw buildings, street scenes, cafés, and people and you can read more here.
This week we’re going to bring our pen sketching skills into the urban environment.
Sketching your surroundings can be such a fantastic way to create a visual diary of your daily experiences and I’m always a sucker for a sketch of a bike.
This video tutorial looks at how you can use different thicknesses of pens to create variety in your sketches, and how thinking about the surrounding shapes outside your main subject can add context to your drawings.
Earlier in the Summer, I took an impromptu trip to see ‘Late Rembrandt‘.
It was the first time that an exhibition had been solely dedicated to Rembrandt’s late works. Many of the most famous paintings that he produced in the last 15 years of his life had been brought together from museums and private collections across the globe.
This period is often the most celebrated due to Rembrandt’s development of a more gestural, impressionistic style and this was some 200 years before the popularity of the Impressionists.
I’ve just finished creating a new sketching course taking some of my drawing techniques out of the studio into the countryside.
In ‘The Essential Guide to Sketching the Landscape’ we look at new materials, techniques but most importantly what ‘works’ in a landscape sketch, from composition and simple perspective to changing your viewpoint to achieve maximum results.
Developing the habit of thumbnail sketches can build your confidence when gathering reference information out on location and you’ll become used to using your sketchbook to its full advantage, without feeling pressured to make every piece a finished work of art.
Considering it was mid-April in England, we were treated to some truly amazing weather.
We’d travelled down the coast to an area of South East Cornwall called ‘The Forgotten Corner’. Often overlooked due to its remote location but we found some cracking little-secluded coves and practically empty sandy beaches.
Artist’s have always been drawn to Cornwall due to the quality of light and mild climate, but the trip for me was all about getting to the sea.
The ever changing tide, the allure of cliff edges, the great expanse of sky and the unpredictable power of the waves.
We wanted to get to the edge, be battered by the elements and this was the closest we could find.
View from our cottage window – Rame Peninsula, Cornwall
An Artist in His Studio, John Singer Sargent, 1904
Last month saw the opening of a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The show highlights the work of one of my favourite portrait painters, John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925)
I’ve been a fan of Singer Sargent’s paintings ever since visiting the Tate in London as 15 year old student, blown away by Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, the most compelling scene with its magical sense of glowing light.
Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, John Singer Sargent, Oil on canvas, 1885
I’d always thought it was quite a small painting having only seen it in books, but in reality it’s nearly 2 meters tall by 1.5 meters wide, the sheer scale of it being life-size really draws you into the piece. The golden hour light is fading and the glow from the lanterns illuminates the girls faces so beautifully.
And that’s often the most fantastic thing about visiting an exhibition, the experience of sitting in front of the painting and seeing it through the artist’s eyes…
After a long drive we arrived at Laundry cottage in the pitch black, the only sound was running water from the nearby waterfall.
There had been a few minor worries en-route, slight overheating, suspicious drips from under the car and the Sat-Nav had given up the ghost but we were here…and the pack of shortbread left as a welcome gift was quickly consumed!
It was only the next morning we truly appreciated the setting we were in.
Surrounded by lochs, mountains in the distance and a spectacular view of Dunvegan Castle out of the cottage window…
I’ve just finished creating a new drawing course that follows on from the Absolute Beginners Drawing Course.
In ‘How to Draw Light & Shadow for Beginners’ we look at new materials, techniques and work on some figurative drawings. A lot of students come to me who already have basic understanding of drawing and confidence with pencils but feel there is a gap in their knowledge when using different drawing mediums.
This course has been designed to help bridge the gap between graphite pencil drawings to charcoal, chalk and pens and subtlety introduce colour.
Are you stuck in a ‘pencil loop’ ?
Wanting to experiment with new mediums such as charcoal & chalk but unsure of where to start?
Moving onto a new medium with drawing can be a challenge, especially if you’re using the wrong materials.
I was trying to draw with charcoal for years and kept on ‘missing’ the vital ingredient. I thought it was my technique, my paper choice.