Drawing on Location Course

At the end of January I started an urban sketching course, taught by Swasky and organised jointly with a local bookshop and a publishing house in Barcelona.

A very interesting course, with a classroom-type lesson on Friday afternoons and an on location part on Saturday mornings. A relatively gentle way to get us to draw in-place, with onlookers. And to keep the work up, every day we had homework to draw (usually a picture to keep us from having to go somewhere if it doesn’t fit our schedule.) It’s awesome how much you can improve only by drawing daily. I know, this is not only common sense but also the most usual drawing tip given ever. Just do it. This is what my fellow students and myself will do from now on, meeting each Saturday we can to draw together.

The course is split in 4 modules of 2 weeks each, and you can tackle them together or isolated.
  • Line and perspective: the name says most. This deals with learning all about vanishing points, using different thicknesses to convey depth and the use of colour to show planes. The first practice was inside and around the Disseny Hub Barcelona, the second had us join a sketchcrawl in the National Art Museum of Catalonia

Design hub. Sakura Micron and some watercolour

National Museum of Art. Sakura Micron and watercolour

National Museum of Art. Pentel Pocket Brush and watercolour


Mercat de Santa Caterina. Sakura Micron (several sizes) and watercolour
Mercat de Santa Caterina. Sakura Micron (2 sizes) and watercolour


Just after colour we (Laia and me, not the whole course) traveled to Florence, so I had a little practice of what I learnt about colour and lines.
  • Figure: drawing gestures, movement, portraits all at very high speed. After all, people don’t slow down just because you are drawing them. For a first taste we visited the recently opened Museu de les Cultures del Món (Museum of World Cultures,) then we went to have a drink. The second had us speed-sketch theatre practice.

People at the cafe we went. Lamy Safari with Pelikan ink, smeared with waterbrush
Pentel Superb

  • Travel notebook: How to plan for a drawing trip. From drawing a map to composition and themes. We started by attending a drawing exhibit by Lapin and Mr Mourao for the Poble Nou Open Day,  for the final practice session we again visited the whereabouts of the Museu de les Cultures (which is just in front of the Picasso Museum) and we drew the area. And of course, afterwards we had a great lunch together, visited a local art supply shop and planned for more meetings.
Many, many tools at the same time (worth noting Koh-i-Noor Gioconda lead on the left)

I recommend doing the course either whole or at least split in order. After all drawing people without any idea of perspective or colour is really hard!

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