Urban sketching is a great way to look at your environment through new eyes. Take a few minutes to observe the little details around you and jot it down in a pocket sketchbook. You’ll never be bored waiting for the bus again!
- Small watercolour notebook
- Small ruler
- Pigment pens
- Chameleon markers
- Ecoline watercolour markers
- Water brush reservoir paintbrush
- Marker or pencil case
How to sketch your city with markers
Planning ahead is very important for urban sketching and packing the perfect kit is essential! Make sure you bring a small sketchbook with either watercolour paper or mixed media paper, a pencil, an eraser, a small ruler, a pigment-based drawing pen, a few markers or watercolours and a water brush with reservoir with you on your sketching adventure.
You’ll want to choose a place to draw that inspires you and where you can be comfortable sitting or standing for a few minutes. Urban sketching can take 5-30 minutes, or you could spend all day with a scene, it’s up to you. Start your sketch by observing the perspective. Find the vanishing point and use your pencil to draw guide lines for where the buildings, sidewalks and other objects align with it. You don’t have to realistically recreate all that you see, you can omit things and focus only on the area that is most interesting to you.
Sketching people can be tricky because they are always on the move. A trick for drawing people on the move is to quickly sketch out the top half of the person you see and then the bottom half of another person who comes along later. The people in your sketch can be a compilation of traits borrowed from various passersby.
Once your quick pencil sketch is done, ink the lines with a pen. Don’t worry about being too precise, the engaging thing about urban sketches is their loose gestural feel. Erase your pencil guidelines after your ink has dried.
Now it’s time to add colour! Working from lighter shades to darker shades, colour in the shadows and details of your drawing. With Chameleon markers it’s easy to create several shades with one marker. Simply separate the pen from the mixing chamber, hold the marker vertically and place the mixing chamber overtop of the marker for 15 seconds. The ink will become paler and you will be able to add tones and gradients as the marker darkens again. Layer colours to make darker hues.
Add watercolour to your drawing using Ecoline watercolour pens. Apply them directly to your sketch and blend with a water brush or colour an area on a scrap piece of paper and lift the pigment with the water brush to apply it to your sketch.Remember, as with all art, there are no rules set in stone. Go out there and try things out for yourself. Record what you see, as you see it, with whatever mediums you have on hand. With time, your own unique style of urban sketching will develop.