Rhythm, Light & Colour – PYSB in Cadiz 2018

To book contact: isabel@pushingyoursketchingboundaries.com

Cadiz is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest  in western Europe. Founded by the Phoenicians, it stands on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea.

We are going to explore the city and its people, during a time of the carnival festivities, Cadiz’s carnival is one of the best known in the world, famous for its satirical groups (chirigotas) who perform comical musical pieces. There are also choruses, ensembles (comparsas), quartets, storytellers; they all transform the city into a colourful open-air theatre during two weeks in February.

Our ‘base’ will be situated in the Old Town (Casco Antiguo), with its narrow winding alleys connecting large plazas. Also characteristic of this area are the watch towers (there were more than 160 in the 18th century!) from which local merchants could look out to sea.

From our base inEspacio Ecco we will be able to explore the city squares, markets and beaches, the city’s life, while the workshops take place.  During the evenings and nights, there will be opportunities to enjoy (and sketch) the carnival performances.

Amongst the locations we will visit, we have the Torre Tavira, Plaza de la Libertad, the Campo de Sur, Plaza de la Catedral, Playa la Caleta, Plaza de las Flores, and we will visit them all.

We will sketch the city and its people, locals and visitors, during this unique time of the year in Cadiz, not only we will need to capture the light and the colours of the city but also its rhythm. Each tutor will follow a different approach.

Light and Rhythm in Watercolour (Isabel)

We will explore Cadiz as a city in the sun, with special  light quality contrasts. The city looks to the sea from its ordered geometry of rooftops and watch towers.

Using watercolour as the main medium, we’ll explore the idea of colour and contrast as the starting point of a sketch.  We will start by deciding where the lightest points of the sketch are, the paper, and where the deepest shadows will be, the strongest colours.


Seaview (Malaga) – Light and shadow with white paper indicating strongest light

We will learn to abstract what we see, using colour boldly and with strong contrast. Drawing can take place later either with more colour more linear marks or with pen if preferred.

In this workshop we will simplify the complex architecture and tackle painting views that in the first instance might appear too difficult. We will look for patterns of geometry and structure to help us organise the rhythm of the city below us.


Starting with only with watercolour drawing with light and colour we will look for those elements of the view that interest us.

We can then slowly build up the watercolour layers to add complexity and depth to our work, adding a variety of marks to the sketch to increase its richness.  We will practice and experiment mark making in watercolours and finally decide whether any additional marks are needed.


Newbury Roofscape – Abstracting building shapes and forms with colour, building up layers of color – sketching a complex view

Focusing on the coloured rhythm of the city (Celia)

Our sketchbook is a chance to discover a new place and also a way of capture the charm of the special things that catch our attention.

We usually find too much information around us and it’s difficult to draw everything. So, we have to select and focus. The rhythm of a city is created by little stories, that build the character of the place, as pieces of a puzzle. Moreover, when we focus on some detail, an object, a person, an action or situation, we are selecting what is important or curious for us, giving our point of view and, therefore, discovering the new city by telling little stories.

In the first part of this workshop we will be in the market place, heart of the city, where we will deal with people and actions. In the afternoon, we will admire a view of Cadiz from a watchtower, Tavira Tower, the highest point in the middle of the city, in order to feel the rhythm, light and colour of the place from different points of view.

We will practise with short activities drawing first a general view and then focus on some part or detail and, just the opposite, focusing first on a detail or area and then creating an atmosphere around it.

In order to obtain some points of attention,and intention, in our composition, we will use several strategies and resources, to guide us, for example:

  1. Using colour with different intentions:

– to highlight some areas to guide our attention

– to depict a visual walkthrough

– to express some simple ideas and sensations

– to create an atmosphere

     2. Defining some areas with  lines or contrast


Left: The saxophonist is given greater definition by using more color and contrast. Yellow creates an atmosphere and expresses a vital emotion.   Right: Only singers are in colour, to focus on them.

regata copia.jpg

Above: Our attention goes to the boat. We see the people as a continuous block of colour. Red expresses light and hot weather.cadiz azoteas.jpg

Above:The red colour creates a visual walkthrough.

azotea maru aves.jpg

Above: Colour has been used to create an atmosphere. The details in the tower tell a little history about bells and birds…

Media: Participants may use the tools, they are most comfortable with. I suggest colour pencils, brush pen and watercolour.

Let’s tell people’s stories. In “el barrio de la Viña”.  (Swasky)

Coming to Cádiz and not visiting the Barrio de la Viña is simply as if we had not come to the city. This very popular neighborhood, so well known to all, and the eternal essence and idiosyncrasy of street people from Cádiz, is located in the extreme west of downtown. La Viña is where the Carnaval de Cádiz starts. It has always been considered the birthplace and mecca of the biggest party in the town of Cadiz.

Focusing our attention to people moving, people going around, back and forth,… We do not have time, we need to capture them and we want to depict them in our sketchbook. Using a loose and unpredictable technique we are going to lower our likeness standards, details become less important and our goal is to capture gestures, expressions, moods and feelings. Line is going to be our friend and likeness less important than essence and the most important thing is going to be to tell a story.

Some themes we will explore:

  1. Expression. We are going to pay attention to people’s face features and we will try to communicate what they are expressing with them. Just using a pencil and a simple line as our drawing tool, we are going to draw people faces, paying attention to eyebrows, expression wrinkles, mouth, eyes,…

  1. Depicting interaction. What people do and how we interact with each other is the moment when we start telling a story. Now we are going to start drawing the way people interact with each other. Even not interacting is a way of interacting, we are sharing a same space and we are occupying it with our presence. After working faces we are going to draw hands, which are the second part more communicative part of our body.

  1. Context. Now we will observe also context as part of the human being as I have mentioned before here will notice the link between someone and his or her context. We will be among stalls, benches, customers,… people and space and we will tell their stories.

This session will help attendees to successfully deal the fear of drawing people. Because drawing people is less scary than drawing skyscrapers, too much windows.

Learning goals

  • Pushing participants out of their comfort zone, at their own level. From beginners starting to sketch to more confident participants, we aim to teach you something new and push you outside your boundaries, helping you experiment.

  • Experiment with different techniques and ways of approaching a live sketching people situation, helping you find your own self expression.

  • Using and trying different approaches to drawing people – line drawing with brushes,  marker pens and watercolour pencils, painting with watercolours, light and shade,

  • Develop your own way of representing what you see in colour with confidence

  • Experiment with different water mark and drawing techniques and ways of approaching a live sketch situation, helping you find your own self expression.

  • Expressing feeling with colour, learning to focus the story and details

  • Improving mark making ability – with pen, with brush,

  • Losing the fear to draw people

  • Sketching people and their stories as they move.

Workshop Schedule

Introduction on the evening of Wed 14th February 2018

Thursday 15th, Friday 16th and Saturday 17th February 2018 . There will be a sketchcrawl meet with local Urban Sketchers members on Sunday 18th February 2018

Wednesday 14th Feb


Welcome at our base at Ecco

Thursday 15th Feb

10am -11am

Welcome and get together at our base.


Morning workshops with Swasky, Celia and Isabel

2pm – 4pm


4 – 7pm    

Afternoon workshops with Swasky, Celia  and Isabel


Review and share work of the day online

Friday 16th Feb

10am -11am

Welcome and get together at our base.


Morning workshops with Swasky, Celia and Isabel

2pm – 4pm


4 – 7pm    

Afternoon workshops with Swasky, Celia  and Isabel


Review and share work of the day online

Saturday 17th Feb

10am -11am

Welcome and get together at our base.


Morning workshops with Swasky, Celia and Isabel

2pm – 4pm


4 – 7pm    

Afternoon workshops with Swasky, Celia  and Isabel


Review and share work of the day online

Sunday 18th Feb.

10.00am to 2pm

Meet at our base for coffee and start sketchcrawl at 11 am with the local group: Sketchers Bahía de Cádiz


30 attendees maximum, 18 minimum. Any level of drawing experience is welcome.

Travel and Accommodation

You need to arrange your own travel and accommodation.

Travel: the nearest airport is Jerez de la Frontera and then travel by bus or train to Cadiz. Another option is to fly to Sevilla or Madrid and then to Cadiz.


Check the map of the workshop here

Suggested websites to look up:

various types and prices can be found in booking.com, or airbnb.com

Supply list

A list will be provided for participants – generally bring what you normally draw with.

Registration fee

£ 250 – (£200 concessions – 20% discount for students or unwaged (with proof of concession status)) or if paying in Euros 275 (220 Euros concessions).

To book, email Isabel –   isabel@pushingyoursketchingboundaries.com  for registration form.

Cancellation policy: All fees are refundable if cancelled more than 6 weeks prior to commencement of course (up to 3rd January 2018). Bank charges will be deducted for the refund in the case of an attendee cancellation. If cancelled after the 3rd January up to to one week before the start of the course, a cancellation fee of £50 (60 Euros) will be retained.

No refund will be possible one week before the course.

In the event of too few registrants, all monies will be refunded.

Workshop Location

Cadiz workshop Map ishere

About the instructors

Isabelis Spanish but studied in UK where she practices as an architect and artist in Newbury, Berkshire.  Her passion is watercolour, easy to carry around and sketch on the go and likes experimenting and mixing media to get interesting effects. Isabel started sketching in 1993 as part of her architecture training and continues to this day. She joined Urban Sketchers Spain in 2011 and USK London in 2014 where she runs the Facebook group and organises some of their Let’s Draw events.   

As an artist she is part of West Berkshire and North Hampshire Open Studios scheme and joined the Oxford Printmakers Cooperative in 2013.



Celia is a Fine Arts graduate from the University of Seville. She currently lives in Cadiz and teaches classes on Art and Drawing in a public secondary school.

In the past few years she has been very interested in sketching and attended many meetings, workshops, courses, sketchcrawl and symposiums, held in Spain. She is a correspondent in the blog Urban Sketchers Spain and co-founder of the group Sketchers Bahía de Cádiz. She has participated in some publications about sketching and exhibitions on Travel Sketchbooks.

In the past three years, she has held workshops on Urban Sketching in Barcelona, Seville,Cádiz (Spain),  in the International meeting in Torres Vedras and Lisbon (Portugal) and participated in the “carnet de voyage” festival in Brest (France).

She sees “drawing as a way to understand and savour life, and the graphic diary or the

travel sketchbook  as a constant opportunity of learning and as an inseparable





Swasky born and raised in Barcelona, Swasky has been drawing most of his lifetime, but when he finished his BFA he left drawing because he tried to start working. Then he decided to start again a degree in Audiovisual Communication. Once he fulfill his second degree he worked in an advertising production company, RCR, disappointed with a job so stressful and invidious he left his job and run a shop. With a new life he started drawing again.  






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