5 NEW Online Urban Sketching Courses To Take in 2021


Sketchbook Design – Liz Steel

At the very end of 2020, Liz Steel launched a brand new course to her learning platform, Sketching Now. 

Sketchbook design is a subject close to my heart. I love looking at, researching and understanding what goes into an amazing sketchbook composition. To find Liz had released an entire course on this very subject was very exciting indeed.

The course covers the following areas (although this list is not exhaustive, hop over the course summary page here to see everything it includes):

  • Adding elements such as text, headings, borders, colour blocks, maps, diagrams, charts, collage, secondary sketches, white space etc
  • Strategies for constrained compositions
  • Strategies for open compositions
  • Design principles

Enrollment for the course is currently closed but it will re-open in mid-2021. I believe Liz likes to control when the class opens so she can work through the lessons week by week with the group. I think this creates a wonderfully intimate atmosphere that can otherwise be lost when taking an online course.

If you are new(er) to the world of urban sketching you may want to start with Liz’s Foundations course. The good news is, you can enrol in the course right away.

If you would like to read more about sketchbook design, you can find my post on the subject matter here.

Watercolour Travel Journal – Alicia Aradilla

Oh. My. God. 

I literally could not contain my excitement when I saw that one of my favourite urban sketchers and illustrators, Alicia Aradilla, has released a course on what is quickly becoming my favourite platform for art courses, Domestika.

Needless to say, I signed up straight away.

Let’s address the obvious first. Yes, this course is in Spanish (as are the vast majority of courses on Domestika). However, English (as well as German and Portuguese) subtitles are available and to be honest, using the subtitles has not been an issue at all for me. There may occasionally be an odd translation but you still understand what’s being said.

Alicia has an incredibly beautiful style and as well as teaching her style of ink and wash illustration, she also teaches how she puts together such beautiful sketchbook compositions with additional drawings, paint swatches and handwritten notes.

If you are a fan of Alicia’s work then joining this course is an absolute no-brainer.

The Basics of Urban Sketching – Peter Jochems

This course features a staggering 13 hours worth of lessons. And the best thing is, right now, it is totally free to watch so go check it out quick!

This is an excellent course if you want to learn (or revisit) the fundamentals of drawing.

I really love Peter’s style and the pure volume of content in this course just makes it so worthwhile to dip in and out of. I think it could help you put a new spin on your own urban sketching skills or perhaps get you to think about things like texture that you may not have considered before. Peter literally covers every element you can think of, even art history.

While the performance is not the most dynamic, English is not Peter’s first language and I think the incredible value he provides far outweighs the wooden delivery.  

There are many more courses on urban sketching on the Skillshare platform, you can check out a few of my favourites listed in this post.

If you would like a free trial of premium membership, you can join here. (This is an affiliate link that puts few pennies in my pocket but costs you nothing at all: win-win)!

Light, Colour, Shadow: The Essential Triad for Watercolour Sketching – Shari Blaukopf

While this is not a new course for 2021, I feel like Shari Blaukopf’s short(er) courses are not as well known amongst the sketching community as they should be. The fact you can get over 3 hours worth of Shari’s incredible instruction for a mere US$25 is mindblowing.

In this course, Shari covers how she goes about capturing the light and shadow in a sunlit scene. She teaches how to capture shadows so they give form to subjects as well as colour mixes for things in sun and shade. And my favourite part, Shari shows how to make glowing colour mixes for shadows rather than using diluted blacks or pre-mixed greys. 

She has more courses to peruse on her website and more coming soon so this is definitely one to bookmark and check back on now and again.

Architecture Sketching with Ink and Watercolour – Danny Hawk

Danny Hawk is such a fabulous artist, I love everything about his work. His graphic, simplified illustration style using bold colours is right up my street!

I had a workshop in Germany pencilled in with him for 2020 but unfortunately, the pandemic happened so I couldn’t make it. However, Danny has pivoted nicely to offering live online workshops on specific dates. So, make sure to keep an eye on this page to see his schedule, just keep an eye on which language the course is offered.

Danny speaks both German and English so the courses are offered in one or the other (or sometimes both).

I’m a big fan of the way Danny captures architecture, so this specific course was of interest to me. He teaches how to capture light, contrast and depth as well as demonstrating how he deals with texture and some special watercolour effects.

As mentioned the course is live and runs from 1pm – 8:30pm German time (which is UTC +1), so bear this in mind! 

If Danny is one of your sketching heroes and you would love to have an opportunity to interact with him live as well as getting direct feedback from him then this workshop would be invaluable.

The price is €99 per person (which is approx. US$120 / GBP£88)

AND, finally….

Sketchy Adventures in Ink & Watercolour – Taria Dawson (that’s me)!

Yep, that’s right. I’m throwing my hat in the ring and will be offering you the inside scoop on how I created some of my favourite travel sketches from my book, Sketchy Adventures Around The World.

We shall start off with some street furniture, followed by decorative architectural features and finally finishing off with a full building. You will get to see my full process for creating these sketches in real time along with bonus lessons on alternative methods to experiment with and much more.

I am extremely excited to present this to you and I am working my bottom off to get it out into the world sooner rather than later, so watch this space.

If you are super keen to know the second the course is released then please populate the little box below with your precious email address which I will store lovingly and respectfully until the moment I need to utilise it … you may even get a special discount for being super cool and wanting to join the sketchy adventure…

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