Workshop S: The Urban Sketchers Cookbook

Instructor: Veronica Lawlor (USA)

Location: Waterloo St (Outdoor Bazaar & Cheng Yan Court)



What makes a good recipe? What makes a good sketch? Please join me on Waterloo Street as we experiment with the ingredients of drawing, and see what kinds of picture recipes we can create.

Taking our cues from the five tastes of Chinese cuisine: pungent, sweet, sour, bitter and salty, we will work individually with several ingredients of picture making: calligraphy, marks, pattern, colored line and colored shape. We’ll combine them in different ways, enhancing our understanding of the abstraction beneath our sketches and discovering our individual drawing ‘recipes’ along the way.

We will also discuss picture proportions, how to combine people, buildings, and nature with our drawing ingredients, allowing our work to evolve as an organic whole. Drawing exercises will push us into these areas of discussion.

Create your own drawing cookbook, freeing up your expectations of what an urban sketch can be!


Workshop Schedule:

Part 1

Lecture and instructor demonstration: language of drawing. (10 minutes)

Participants create small exercise sketches isolating these elements of drawing: color, line, marks, pattern. Instructor will give individual demonstrations as needed. (50 minutes)

Quick review and critique of small exercise sketches. (15 minutes)

Part 2

Participants create multiple small sketches of one picture, playing with the amounts of mark, line, and color and pattern in each. Individual demonstrations as needed. (45 minutes)

Quick review and critique of multiple mixture sketches. (15 minutes)

Part 3

Instructor demonstration: combining the elements with proportion. (10 minutes)

Participants create one or two large drawings utilizing their own favorite ‘recipe’ from part 2. (45 minutes)

Large drawing review and critique. (20 minutes)

(*Please note: schedule will be flexible to deal with each group’s needs)


Learning Goals:

Through lecture, demonstration and hands-on experience, participants will experiment and explore the language of drawing in a very direct way.

They should walk away with a better understanding of design and picture proportions, giving them greater control of their own expression in a drawing.

By taking away a new understanding of the elements and proportions of picture making, they can continue to mix and match these elements, creating new picture recipes for new locations in the future.


Please bring a mix of supplies for this workshop from the following categories (participant choice.):

Drawing Materials:

To create Black line and marks: a range of pen thicknesses, a fine line and a thick line, and a brush pen. Disposable pens, fountain pens, markers, and brush pen will work, or perhaps a dip pen and bamboo pen, brush and ink. (Bamboo pens give a nice variety of line and texture.)

To create Color line and marks: bring a few colored pencils (prismacolors give good coverage) and/or a few colored markers. Dual tip markers are fun, giving you two line widths in each.

To create Color shapes: bring any color medium that will allow for good coverage, such as pastels, crayons, or a small watercolor set.

This is a mixed media drawing workshop so please feel free to experiment.


Please bring a medium sized sketchbook.

Another option: bring both a small and large sketchbook. You can do the exercises in the small sketchbook, and the larger drawing in the larger sketchbook.

Bring a portable stool if you like, to sit on while working.