Urban Sketch for Beginners – Ink & Watercolour Garden Sketch

Morning class, this week I’ve been in Corsica exploring the North Coast of the Island.

Sketching your surroundings can be such a fantastic way to create a visual diary of your travel experiences, so when I’m walking around the streets of any new town or city, I always carry a small sketchbook in my backpack.

A couple of tonal sketching pens and a brush pen is usually all I need, always trying to keep my kit as simple and minimal as possible.

The Romieu Gardens, a series of sketches

I was walking through the old town of Bastia when I came across this beautiful tranquil garden with these fabulous ornamental pillars and wrought iron gates.

Often when you’re out on location, you develop a series of drawings that build on each other. This video tutorial looks at how you can focus on different aspects of a scene exploring different materials.

So I started with a quick 15-minute black pen drawing to get the information down in my sketchbook, purely enjoying the process of recording everyday life on location and then when I got back home to my studio, I spent more time developing a sepia sketch and working up a watercolour.

Each sketch influencing the desicions for the next piece.

Downloading the reference photograph

The photo’s below can be ‘right clicked’ and ‘Save image as’, so you can use them as reference images, print them out and follow along with the video above.

Urban Sketch for Beginners - Ink & Watercolour Garden Sketch

On-location & Sepia Sketch Reference

You can also download a High-Resolution Image here.

So this is the view from where I’m sitting, I initially started with a portrait format but for the watercolour, I decided to crop the view and just focus on two main elements within the scene, swapping to a landscape composition.

Urban Sketch for Beginners - Ink & Watercolour Garden Sketch

Watercolour Sketch Reference

You can also download a High-Resolution Image here.

Materials you will need:

For the On-location Sketch

  • 10.5 × 8.5 inch Portrait Format Sketchpad, I use a Hand Book Journal Company – Travelogue Watercolour Journal 200gsm Acid-Free Watercolour Paper Cold Pressed (Not) Texture Finish


a collection of black sketching pens for urban sketching

  • Pilot G-Tec-C4 – Black
  • Muji Gel Ink 0.5mm Ballpoint Pen – Black
  • Tombow ABT N75 Dual Brush Pen – Cool Grey 3
  • Pentel Brush Pen – Black (Waterproof Ink)

For the Sepia Sketch

  • 20 x 15 cm Portrait format Watercolour Paper Saunders Waterford CP (Not) Surface watercolour paper. Made using 100% cotton. Weight: 300gsm (140lb) White CP – Cold Pressed Not – ‘Not Hot Pressed’ so it has a slight texture to the paper


sepia ink pen with a brush tip used for sketching

  • Pentel Brush Pen – Sepia Ink (Water-soluble)

waterbrush pen used for watercolours

  • Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pen

Additional Materials

  • Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Titanium White
  • Small Round Synthetic brush

For the Watercolour Sketch

  • 18.5 x 25 cm Landscape format Watercolour Paper Saunders Waterford CP (Not) Surface watercolour paper. Made using 100% cotton. Weight: 300gsm (140lb) White CP – Cold Pressed Not – ‘Not Hot Pressed’ so it has a slight texture to the paper


cotman watercolour travel kit

Winsor & Newton Cotman Travel Kit with a mix of Cotman and Winsor & Newton Artist 1/2 pans

  • Cadmium Yellow Pale
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Cadmium Red Pale Hue
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • Sap Green
  • Winsor Green (Blue Shade) – same as Phthalo Green Blue Shade

plein air sketch, bastia, corsica

On-location sketch

sepia townscape drawing of gardens

Studio sepia sketch

Urban Sketch for Beginners - Ink & Watercolour Garden Sketch

Studio watercolour study

You can watch the full video tutorial above and see more photos from my Corsica trip here: @willkempartschool instagram, enjoy!

You might also like:
1. An Art Material Addicts Guide to becoming a Minimalist Sketcher
2. Landscape Sketching in the Highlands
3. Urban Sketching Course

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Thank you, Will. A great opportunity to practice with media different to my usual acrylic.

    1. My pleasure Norbert, really hope you enjoy it,

  2. Once again thank you Will. I just love watching you. Its really inspiring.

    1. That’s very kind of you Patsy, pleased you enjoyed it.

  3. Thank you, Mr Kemp! I have really enjoyed the two classes that I have purchased. I was sad when I finished the class because I wanted it to keep going so this is so exciting. Really appreciate your methodical teaching and process that you teach to help those of us who are beginners.

    1. Really glad you enjoyed the courses Melinda and found the teaching method helpful.

  4. Love the sepia sketch – in many ways prefer it to the watercolour. Thanks Will for another great tutorial. Bonnie

  5. Hi Will, I have just started and very much enjoying your Urban sketch course. The Corsica little garden sketch showing the different media from initial pencil to coloring it in is very helpful.

    1. Really glad it was good timing for you Catherine, pleased you’ve been enjoying the Urban Sketching Course.

  6. Cheers Will, Corsica has been on my bucket list for years. How long did ya spend there?

    1. Cheers Mathew, it’s really lovely there, about 10 days.

  7. Great to see the location and your lovely studio. I like the way the nature seems to be embracing the lone figure in the watercolor. Great lessons as always: the comment about the answers are in front of you is very helpful.

    1. Cheers Lawrence, yes, it can be very easy to become engrossed in your sketchpad or canvas and realise you’ve forgotten to look up!

  8. Once again an excellent tutorial Will. Many thanks

    1. My pleasure Gloria, hope you’re keeping well.

  9. Always a pleasure to see you at work. You are really amazing

    1. That’s very kind of you to say so Anna.

  10. Merci Will, After a week’s work nothing better than enjoying your courses in beautiful settings. your an inspiration !

    1. Cheers Louis-Philippe, really pleased you enjoyed it.

  11. Many thanks Will. It is interesting to see you at work as I am one of those people who will never sketch or paint in public or view someone else’s work.

    1. Pleased you enjoyed it Bernie, hope it helps to give you confidence to try even a 5min sketch outside, they can be so helpful in many aspects of your drawing and painting.

  12. Most inspiring. I will be trying out some these ideas. Thanks Will.

    1. Good one Judy, pleased you enjoyed it.

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