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LinkedIn Learning

Drawing Foundations: Urban Sketching

via LinkedIn Learning


Learn how to draw from life—in an urban setting. Will Kemp shows how to draw buildings, street scenes, cafés, and people, as well as the bustling movement of cities and towns.

You don't need to drive out to the country to draw from life. From an artistic point of view, urban settings have just as much appeal. This Foundations of Drawing course shows how observing everyday life can give you an eye-opening appreciation for cities and towns and their surroundings (from the view out of a bus window to a half-built construction site). Will Kemp, founder of the Will Kemp Art School, demonstrates how to create frameworks for successful sketches using freehand vertical lines, perspective, and tonal blocks. Lessons follow a logical progression, from sketching static buildings and monuments to capturing the movement of individual figures and bustling crowds. The course will enable artists to practice their drawing skills and create fast, bold urban sketches with pencils, pens, or watercolors—whatever tools they have on hand.


  • Welcome
  • Using the exercise files
1. Sketching the Everyday
  • Capturing movement and change in the urban landscape
  • Pencils, inks, pens, and sketchpads
  • Watercolor and acrylic marker pens
  • Urban sketching vs. landscape sketching
  • The casual observer vs. the epic documentary maker
2. Structure, Mark Making, and Choosing the Right Materials
  • Thinking in straight lines: One building at a time
  • Light and shadow
  • Matching materials and marks to your subject: Pencil sketch
  • Matching materials and marks to your subject: Pen sketch
  • Matching materials and marks to your subject: Color
  • Challenge: How much detail is enough?
  • Solution: Will sketches a harbor scene
3. Architecture, Perspective, and Making Depth Work
  • Cityscapes, rooftops, and panoramas
  • Twilight and nightlight
  • Early morning light
  • Capturing a panoramic
  • Perspective: 1 point and 2 point
  • Challenge: Sketch realistic windows and doors
  • Solution: Will sketches a building
4. Cafes, People, and Movement
  • Cafes, bars, and restaurant scenes: A single figure
  • People: Groups and scale
  • Cafes, bars, and restaurant scenes: Groups
  • Challenge: Sketch people and movement
  • Solution: Will sketches a street busker
5. Monuments and Street Furniture
  • Monuments
  • Natural elements in the city
  • Lampposts, telegraph poles, and benches
6. Bringing It All Together
  • Challenge: Bringing it all together
  • Solution: Bringing it all together in sketching
  • Solution: Bringing it all together in watercolor
  • Goodbye

Taught by

Will Kemp

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