Sunday, May 30, 2021

Weekly Theme: Sketching Curves



"Been thrown a curve ball?  What to do?  Well... Draw it of course!  Our theme for this week is Sketching Curves.  The idea was inspired by Jeanine Martin.      


A curve is a continuous and smooth flowing line without any sharp turns.  One way to recognize a curve is that it bends and changes its direction at least once.  According to the article, 5 Types of Line in Art, Their Meaning and When to Use Them, "Curved lines are lines that bend and change direction gradually. They can be simply wavy or spiral. Such lines convey the feelings of comfort and ease, as well as sensual quality as they remind us of the human body." 

Look to Van Gogh's Starry Night or Munch's The Scream, for example.


Whatever type of drawing you plan to do, there are bound to be curves.  As you look about, you will see many curves worthy of sketching: the arch of a building, the waves of the ocean or a person's hair, the slope of a mountain or the rise and fall of a roller coaster.   

Sketch by Leslie Gordon-Sim


Have fun and be creative as you like with your drawing.  Enjoy that curve ball!

Sketch by Chris Brown



For further inspiration: 

How to Draw Better Curves - It's Important / Art of Wei 

Learn the basics on drawing nice curves.

How to Draw Curves / ArtGraphicA

Learn how to draw curves by using straight lines. A curve can ... drawing curves by straight lines, perspective bridge ... human head in perspective.

How to Draw Curves by Bob Davies, Art Tutor

A couple of techniques for making our curve-drawing life a little easier. This video covers two types of curves: "even" or symmetrical curves and "uneven" or asymmetrical curves. Both present a slightly different challenge.

Drawing for Beginners: PART 1- Draw with Curves / Paul Priestly

Learn how to draw with curves by learning basic techniques in a simple step by step approach. With curves you can draw a lot of objects very simply such as: ribbons, flags, grass, cliffs, leaves etc. Paul shows you stage by stage how to create each of these items by sketching the basic outlines and then using a 4B pencil to shade in the detail.

How to draw curves accurately: the one big secret / Virtual Art Academy 

Curved shapes are important in many paintings, not only in paintings with figures in them, but also if you are trying to capture the gesture of a particular tree, an archway on a bridge, or a vase.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Holiday Weekend

Enjoy the Holiday Weekend

There are no official Urban Sketcher events

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

SATURDAY - The Blowing in the Wind Sketch Event

Concept suggested and developed 
by Ingrid Margarethe Engelmann

Something old is new again - Windmills!

Perhaps you saw them during the Amsterdam Symposium?  Some are Unesco World Heritage Sites, too.  The most important use of the windmill was for grinding grain. In certain areas like the Netherlands, its uses in land drainage and water pumping were equally important.  The Dutch embraced windmills centuries ago.  The windmill has been used as a source of electrical power since P. La Cour's mill, built in Denmark in 1890 with patent sails and twin fantails on a steel tower
There are windmills everywhere in Europe.  Ingrid points out that they can be seen where she lives in Schleswig-Holstein/Germany.  Also well known are the Spanish windmills through 'Don Quixote of La Mancha' by Cervantes. Here in the US we are starting to embrace wind technology to produce electric power.

Kinderdijk Windmills in 4 seasons. Unesco World Heritage. Dutch Mills:  (Video shows 19 different windmills in all four seasons.)

The Windmills of Consuegra:   Twelve windmills can be found atop the Cerro Calderico ridge, along with a striking 12th century castle. Fans of the Spanish writer, Cervantes, will instantly recognize these windmills, which were prominently featured as the ‘giants’ in the ‘Don Quixote’ novel. Standing proudly atop the ridge, with their white cylindrical towers and blue, pointed roofs, I can imagine why Cervantes felt so inspired by them!

Windmills of the World.  



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Monday, May 17, 2021

WORKSHOP: The Value of Values



May 23rd starting at 2:30 PM EDT

We announced a workshop for next Sunday - to be taught by Suzala.   The workshop sold out almost immediately.  Not surprising, it's an important topic, and Suzala might be the perfect person to teach this subject.  The Value of Values is apparent in all her work.   

If you were closed out, or allowed the opportunity to pass we will be offering an a second, separate afternoon workshop.

Click here for more information and to register:

All drawing skill levels are welcome

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Weekly Theme: Architectural Textures

Hitting a Brick Wall ...(or sketching it)

Brick wall watercolor hand painting background Vector Image

As our world starts to open up we will be back on the streets sketching the world around us, live and in person!  And what will we be seeing?  Walls, streets and buildings made of stone, brick, wood, slate and asphalt.  Capturing those textures is an excise in layering paint and working the medium to make our sketches more realistic.  This week’s theme is how to render these architectural elements so that we bring life and believability to our work.  Below are a few references, but perhaps the best reference we have is the cadre of Urban Sketchers who teach our workshops, publish books on urban sketching.  They have worked out the process that we can replicate.  Go to the Urban Sketchers web site ( look for the Education tab and then click on Instructors.  You will find more than 60 people who you can look up their work, read their books and follow their blogs on how to render the surfaces around us. 

HOW TO RENDER WOOD TEXTURE / using only low-cost markers

Material textures WATERCOLORS | Step by step | for architecture

Watercolour Textures (Pinterest)

Stone Wall Texture Watercolor

Brick Texture Watercolor

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

SATURDAY - Sketch Austronesia

Hosted by Cecilia Evasco and Jessie Sung

Welcome to the New York City Urban Sketchers Celebration 

of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Join us for a visual journey through an exotic medley of countries and cultures encompassing parts of Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, Madagascar, and Easter Island.  Learn about the 550 Million people who call Austronesia their home

Cecilia and Jessie have laid out this trip to make things as easy as possible for you.  You’ll only need one website for everything:​    ​All you’ve got to do is make wonderful art.

  • For the morning session:   Focus on the people of Austronesia: their smiling faces, native costumes, or at work doing a daily activity in their natural habitat.
  • For the afternoon session:  Focus on the dances, rituals, warrior training, art, writing, or cultural monuments/icons, archeology of a particular territory, country, or region of Austronesia.​


There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

SATURDAY - Sketch your Cabinet of Curiosities

From an idea suggested by Suzanne Cleary,

Image created byAaron Mahnke

You live a life, ​...  ​and you collect things.  

Walk on a beach and it’s hard not to bend down to collect a shell or an interesting piece of driftwood.  The things we collect are so personal.  We pass by innumerable things every day, objects with no special meaning to us, anonymous things.  But every so often an object calls out.  We pick it up.  We examine it.  And, for whatever reason, that object comes home with us.

Some curiosities are store-bought, we get others as gifts.  When I was 22 I hitched across the US.  One ride took me through Death Valley.  The driver wanted to stop at  Zabriskie Point and climb down to the ancient river bed.   It was staggeringly hot and dry.   As we walked along I noticed a rock on the ground, it seemed like two rocks fused together​.  Mostly it was a gray stone but the fused part was red.  I poured some water on the rock and the red became “blood red” and the rock went into my pocket as a reminder of my trip.  I still have it, … somewhere.  It became the symbol of my entire adventure.  

Curiosities - we all have them.


Find yours.   Get them out and use an artist’s eye to arrange them into a compelling piece.

  • AM:   My Curiosities
  • PM:   The Story of my Curiosity (either imagined or real).



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Sunday, May 2, 2021

WEEKLY THEME: The Sky's the Limit

Beautiful Sky Sketch by Weijin Wu

The phrase "The sky is the limit" means there is nothing to prevent someone or something from being successful.  Often, the first thing an artist tackles in a painting is the sky.  After all, the sky and clouds are an important part of the scene.  A perfect model for sketchers, the sky pretty much stays still unless you catch the subtle movement of the clouds during unpredictable weather.  

Sketch by Janette Rozene

For this week's theme, "The Sky's the Limit," allow yourself to gaze up and appreciate the beautiful hues of the sky at dawn, sunrise, midday, dusk or sunset.  Maybe you can capture a rainbow, depict reflections of the sky in a puddle or on the water, or even draw the sky at night.  Remember how we learned about clouds in school? Nimbus, cumulus, etc., and how the different types of clouds predicted the weather?  Whether you paint realistically, or you lean more towards abstraction, go for it and have fun. Remember that the sky is the limit - all things are possible. If you are not drawing on location, please label any sketches you post to social media as NUS (non urban sketching).

Rainy Day Sketch by Lynwa Kreimann

NOTE: The idea for this weekly theme was inspired by a 'LOOKING UP. CLOUDS AND SKIES'
watercolour sketch workshop created by Erin Hill, our urban sketcher friend from Australia.
What colours are the clouds? What colour is the sky? Here’s a guide from Erin:
  • Start with blue skies in watercolour pencil, then in watercolour.
  • Next grey skies in watercolour
  • Next a sunset skies in watercolour.

Some tips and additional inspiration:
How to Paint Skies in Any Medium by Artists Network Staff
Learn how four artists paint skies in their respective mediums. Plus, a roundup of our best articles on painting the ever-changing skies above us.

Summer Sky Sketch by Sophie Cheung

What are clouds?

Sketch by Joan Szalay Tavolott

5 Key Factors for Painting Skies and Clouds by Courtney Jordan, Artists Network
Think of Turner’s skies or even Monet’s — they are multifaceted and carry the hum of several colors. The sky is rarely blue — or rarely just blue (except for a few lucky places in the world).

Nocturne Sketch by Thomas Kerr