top of page

What is Urban sketching and how can I learn it?

What is Urban sketching:

Urban sketching is a popular form of drawing and painting that involves capturing scenes of city life on location. It is a way to observe and record the world around us, whether it's the bustle of a busy street or the quiet stillness of a park bench. Urban sketching can be done in a variety of mediums, including pen and ink, watercolour, and pencil.

I love sketching outdoors and you can often find me sitting on a bench, sketching the world around me.

Here are some steps to get started with urban sketching:

  1. Do not worry about creating something perfect, it is hard to get all the perspectives and proportions right straight away so it's ok if your first sketches are a little wobbly.

  2. Get inspired: Look at the work of other urban sketchers for inspiration. There are many websites, social media platforms, and books dedicated to urban sketching.

  3. Choose your materials: Urban sketching requires a few basic materials, such as a sketchbook, pen or pencil, and a portable set of watercolours. Experiment with different materials to find what works best for you.

  4. Find your subject: Look for interesting subjects to sketch, such as historic buildings, street scenes, or local landmarks. You can also sketch people, animals, and nature. I think objects that do much easier to start with, but that do not have to be a building can be a lamppost, bin, sign or tree. Easier to capture and just as fun to draw.

  5. Choose your technique: There are many techniques you can use in urban sketching, such as contour drawing, loose sketching, and washes of color. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you.

  6. Practice regularly: The more you practice, the better you will become. Make time to sketch regularly, whether it's a few minutes during your lunch break or an afternoon spent exploring your city.

  7. Join a community: Join an urban sketching community to connect with other artists and get feedback on your work. There are many online communities as well as local groups that meet in person. I host some urban sketch events in my local area and I know that most towns in England have Urban sketch communities. If you cannot find one, why not set one up yourself? It is a great way to make new friends and connect with other creatives.

  8. Keep learning: Attend workshops, read books, and watch online tutorials to continue learning and growing as an urban sketcher. There is always something new to discover and explore.

Urban sketching is a fun and rewarding way to capture the world around us. With practice and patience, anyone can learn this art form and develop their own unique style. So grab your sketchbook and get started!

What if you cannot leave your home?

There are some great ways of simulating urban sketching from the comfort of your home and my personal favourite is using google maps/google earth.

Almost every place on earth has images on google and it is a fantastic way to draw places where you cannot go.

If I want to draw a street in El Salvador for example, I just look on google maps, and I use the explore tap in the bottom right corner. Pictures of the place you are looking at will pop up and it is a great way to travel the world from home!

There are also loads of Urban sketch groups all over the world, have a look if you can find a group local to you. They are often free and for all abilities.

If you are sketching outdoors, I would love to see your creations!

If you tag me @makingsandmusings in your social media posts I can see what you make.


18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page