burban sketching

Drawing On Location: ‘Burban Sketching


We’ve been talking about Urban Sketching, the art of sketching on location, because we’re getting ready to start an exciting kourse, Urban Sketching. But a member of the Sketchbook Skool community had a good question: What if you’re not in an urban area, and you live in the suburbs, where everything tends to look similar?

Our answer: ‘Burban Sketching.

Urban Sketching is a global art movement, but the name leads people to think that you have to live in or be visiting a big city, full of bustling street scenes and varied buildings, to do it. But the true definition of Urban Sketching is drawing live, on location, rather than from memory or a photo. With that in mind, suddenly the whole world is a subject for sketching—even in the suburbs.

Jason Das, one of the teachers in our Urban Sketching kourse, had the following to say about ‘Burban Sketching: “You can always sketch people doing things, like eating, playing sports, hanging out, whatever they’re doing.” As long as you’re sketching them live on location, you’re in the spirit of Urban Sketching. You’re ‘Burban Sketching!

Here are some ‘Burban Sketching tips:

  • Sketch houses you like, and at different times of day to experiment with different colors and shading
  • Draw a series of shops in your area
  • Take your sketchbook to the mall and practice doing fast, loose sketches of people as they walk by, as well as interesting window displays
  • For more detailed people sketches, draw them at the mall food court. Draw different ages of people—babies, children, and teenagers as well as adults
  • Sketch your food, and your companions, while eating in restaurants. Ask a friend to go to coffee and sketch the coffee shop, the people in it, and add part of your conversation in creative lettering
  • Go to the local library and sketch people there. They hold still for a long time!
  • See some live music at a jazz club or concert and sketch the musicians


Sketchbook Skool co-founder Danny Gregory has another suggestion: Draw while sipping a cocktail—Bourbon Sketching!

Summer is a great time for attractions like state fairs and botanical garden exhibits, and year ’round, you can go to museums, zoos, galleries. You can practice sketching animals as well as people

In the Urban Sketching kourse, artist Lapin teaches how to draw a vehicle. Practice drawing the different types of cars in your neighborhood, taking note of the colors, the shine on the metallic surfaces, the play of light. Also how you can add personality to your car sketches, as Lapin does when he draws them as though looking through a fish-eye lens

Once you start thinking about sketching, you start looking at the world the way artists do; the objects, places, and scenes you see every day but don’t really notice suddenly become great subjects to draw. Whether you’re an Urban Sketcher or a ‘Burban Sketcher, learn how to draw life on location with our next kourse, Urban Sketching!

2 mins

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