2019 Urban Sketching Workshops

2019 Urban Sketching Workshops

Urban Sketching workshops provide educational opportunities for current and aspiring urban sketchers, using Portland's sites and culture as our inspiration and playground. The program is designed in collaboration with the international Urban Sketchers organization and takes place in different cities around the world.

Participants will receive full details about the meeting place, materials, expectations, and other useful tips before each workshop.  Scroll down for information about registration, level, cancellations policy, and scholarships. For questions contact urbansketcherspdx@gmail.com

    Future Workshops

    June 29th, 2019 | 10:00am -12:30pm

    Unfolding Stories: Recipes and Ingredients for Visual Storytelling 
    Instructor: Rita Sabler
    Location: Saturday Market

     SOLD OUT.

    Focus: visual storytelling, sketching reportage, speed sketching techniques, drawing people

    Level 2 3

    July 13th, 2019 | 10:00am-12:30pm

    The 360 Perspective: Playfully Capture Your World in one Sketch
    Lauren Ohlgren
    Location: Director Park

     (SOLD OUT)

    Description: 360 view approach is perfect for locations with exciting views in all directions, whether you prefer a simple contour line drawing or sketch with attention to every detail. We will talk about how to get started, choosing a layout to make it all fit, creating focal points, and techniques to make all elements connect into one cohesive panoramic drawing. Participants will complete at least one drawing on location and leave with knowledge of how to apply this technique to any location.

    Focus: 360° point of view, sense of place, playfulness, focal point, panoramic drawings

    Level: 1 2

    August 10th, 2019 | 10:00am-12:30pm

    Follow the Crowd: Techniques for Drawing Moving People in Perspective
    Instructor: Rita Sabler
    Location: Alberta Street Fair

     (SOLD OUT)

    Description: Drawing busy city scenes, moving people, and crowds is one of the most exciting challenges for an urban sketcher. It doesn't have to be so daunting that we give up without even trying. In this workshop we will take all of the stress out of making dynamic drawings. Breaking up the moving body into simple shapes we will learn how to capture the spirit of a busy place without having to draw every individual human figure. Through a series of fun, fast moving exercises we will progress to making a sketch of a popular Alberta street fair.

    Focus: moving subjects, crowds, perspective, speed-sketching, human proportions, conveying busy public spaces

    Level 2 3

    September 7th  | 10:00am-12:30pm

    Ripple Effect: Drawing Urban Bodies of Water 
    Rita Sabler
    Location: Willamette river waterfront

    (SOLD OUT)

    Description: Rivers, lakes, and bays make for a perfect urban setting on a warm summer day, but how do you capture this liquid perfection and everything that is reflected in it with mastery and ease? In this workshop we will enjoy a beautiful morning on the Willamette learning to how convincingly portray boats, buildings, and the sky itself when it is reflected off the water surface. 

    Focus: watercolor, drawing water, implying reflections, splashes, and waves

    Level 2

    September 28th, 2019  | 2:30pm -5:00pm

    Can you see the Forest for the Trees: Urban Tree Canopies 
    Instructor: Rita Sabler
    Location: Hoyt Arboretum


    Description: Trees are an important element of almost any urban setting. From the purely artistic point of view they filter light, create intricate textures, mark seasonal changes. Yet, drawing natural looking greenery could be challenging–some sketchers get lost trying to draw every single leaf, others struggle with drawing convincing canopy shapes. The instructor will demonstrate how to quickly capture different species of trees and how to use color to make sense of light and shadow to portray urban forests.

    Focus: Effective use of texture, common tree species, watercolor, shadows, color casts

    Level 1 2

    October 12th, 2019 | 6:30pm-9:00pm

    Under the Cover of Darkness: Pro Tips for Nighttime Sketching 
    Instructor: Rita Sabler 
    Location: Pioneer Courthouse Square


    Description: Urban sketching doesn't have to be limited to daytime hours. Night time brings changes to how we perceive color, lines, and shapes. The instructor will share options for night-time color palettes and talk about ways to observe and convey city scenes when obscured by darkness and illuminated by artificial light. Dusk hour start time will also allow us to capture gradual changes that diminishing light brings to urban landscape. 

    Focus: watercolor, night-time color scheme, artificial lighting, architectural drawing

    Level 2 3

    November 9th, 2019 |  3:30pm-6:00pm

    Vis-a-Vis Tea Party: Drawing Portraits that Aim for Likeness and Personality 
    Instructor: Rita Sabler
    Location: Eastbank Commerce Center

    (SOLD OUT)

    Description:  We will celebrate our last workshop of 2019 with a portrait party. In a fun relaxing setting of an afternoon tea party we will engage in the favorite activity of urban sketchers when they all get together and that is to draw each other with abandon. But first we will delve into facial proportion lessons, demos on how to mix colors for believable skin tone, and pro tips on making your portraits ooze with personality and likeness. Did we mention there will be desert? 

    Focus: facial proportions, watercolor, color mixing for skin tone, conveying personality and likeness, body proportions

    Level 1 2


    Workshops are designed for all levels of participants. Instructors will provide guidance and tips necessary to get started for beginner sketchers while more seasoned artists will be challenged to further their skills with a fun array of fast-paced subjects and themes.


    You can register for individual workshops, take the entire series of 10, or pick and choose 7, 5 or 3 to save:


    I’m All In  (take all 10 at $29/workshop) $290
    Pick and Choose 7  ($33/workshop) $231
    Pick and Choose 5 ($37/workshop) $185
    Pick and Choose 3 ($40/workshop) $120
    One workshop at a time $45 

    Register Online
    Reserve your spot with a few clicks and maximum convenience through Eventbrite.


    Register by Email

    Avoid fees and register by emailing urbansketcherspdx@gmail.com with your choice of workshops. Then send your payment by check (Rita Sabler 1001 SE Water Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97214) or by Cash App to hold your spot. https://cash.me/$RitaSabler


    Deadlines for refunds and cancelations are as follows:

    I am All In: March 10 is the last day to cancel to receive full refund.
    50% refund before April 7, 2019.

    Pick and Choose 7:  March 10 is the last day to cancel to receive full refund. 50% refund if canceled on the date of the your first workshop.

    Pick and Choose 5:  March 10 is the last day to cancel to receive full refund. 50% refund if canceled on the date of the your first workshop.

    Pick and Choose 3:  March 10 is the last day to cancel to receive full refund. 50% refund if canceled on the date of the your first workshop.

    Individual Workshops: At least 10 days ahead of your workshop.

    Are there discounts available?

    Yes, if you have purchased 5 and 10 workshops packages in the past you can register with 20% discount for any workshop or package. Please email urbansketcherspdx@gmail.com to obtain a discount code.


    Are you a student or simply can't afford the full cost of taking a workshop? We still want you to join. We are making a limited amount of scholarships available. These scholarships will cover 50% a workshop or package you would like to take.  Please send us a message about your sketching goals, background, and financial need to urbansketcherspdx@gmail.com

    Past Workshops:

    March 9, 2019 | 2:30pm-5:00pm

    Introduction to Urban Sketching (Free Workshop)
    Open to all sketchers and general public
    Instructor: Rita Sabler
    Location: PNCA Mediatheque

    April 6, 2019 | 2:30pm-5:00pm

    True Colors: Watercolor Techniques for Urban Sketching
    Rita Sabler
    Location: Eastbank Commerce Center

    1 comment:

    1. Thanks so much, I emailed my registration for the two June workshops, and am mailing a check for $90 to Rita Sabler. I can't wait!!