Workshop: Sketch Now Think Later

Looking for the perfect subject, angle, composition, materials and tools to use etc can take lots of time and bog you down even before you start sketching. This approach is to bring these down to the essentials of a few tools, few techniques and few approaches so you can enjoy what you like to do in the first place: To jump right into sketching anytime, anywhere, and in any situation!

Learning goals

1) Sketching within a limited amount of time allows you to create better-looking work since it allows you to concentrate harder.

2) Sketching with a limited amount of tool set allows you to approach sketching situations faster.

3) Sketching with a limited amount of techniques allows you to capture the moment faster.

Workshop location

It will be in Boston MA, USA. The location will be convenient to go by public transporation or by car.

(Exact Location will be announced to the people that sign up)


2 separate days:

Day 1: September 1st (Sat)

Day 2: September 8th (Sat)


10AM – 1PM (3 Hours)

Number of participants:

Maximum of 15 people.

Workshop Schedule

For this workshop, a 28 page booklet will be printed out and given to all the participants (Included in the fee). The booklet will cover everything listed below and major sections will be covered in detail during the session. Participants will have something to take home with them for reference later on too.

Introduction – 15 min

Discuss the fundamentals of the sketching approach/philosophy of this workshop: the balance between Time and Energy, and why it’s delightful to create sketches all inside a limited situation.

Tools/Technique/Tips overview. Small Demo. Overall approach/ Straight to ink – 10 min

Overview of the 5 basic tools will be shown. Emphasis will be placed on the usage of the “fude” fountain pen and why it can be used to create an entire sketch using this 1 pen. A few tips/tricks about the pen will be covered, and then will jump right into showing a live demo of sketching from real life while setting a rough theme/composition.

Sketch on own – 45 min

I will go around working individually with everyone and answering any questions.

Small Demo: Straight color to paper – 10min 

Water coloring tools and techniques will be covered. In the “Sketch NOW” technique color is not mixed on the palette but is mostly done on the sketch page. 4 different approaches on how various colors are created will be shown. Minimal mixing of colors means the sketches will be done faster and the colors will unlikely come out muddy, a common problem with watercolor when colors are mixed too much.

Sketch on own – 45 min

I will go around working individually with everyone and answering any questions.

Lecture/small demo: Finishing off a sketch: Annotation and Graphics/Logos – 10 min

Tips on how to finish off a sketch on location or later on will be discussed. We will be covering tips on what makes a sketch fun to view later on when adding stories, graphics, and logos relevant to the sketch that was done.

Sketch on own – 45 min

I will go around working individually with everyone and answering any questions.

Supply list

1) Sketchbook. Any size/format that best works for you. Great news! I spoke with Stillman & Birn and they will be sponsoring this workshop with free sketchbooks for everyone! S&B brand is what I have personally used for the past several years and love it.

2) Fude Fountain Pen. These are the pens that have a bent tip to them allowing you to create thin to thick lines all in 1 pen. Various manufacturer’s make them (Hero, Duke etc) but my recommendation is the Sailor brush fountain pen.

(Pen alternatives: You can use other fountain pens or water proof pens (e.g. Sakura Pigma pens) if you would like but be sure to bring 1 thin and 1 thick). Here is an economy priced versions of the Sailor Fude pen which is quite nice. Green-Nib-Angle-55-Degrees/pd/4541

3) Ink: Since we’ll be using watercolor on top of the lines, it is best to use a converter for the fountainpens and pick an ink that is waterproof. Noodler’s black or Lexington Gray works very well, and so does Platinum Carbon Ink. (Please note: The cartridge ink that originally comes with the Sailor pen typically is not waterproof. Be sure to do a small test on your sketchbook prior to coming to the workshop to make sure that it’s waterproof. Also the level of waterproofness is determined by the relationship of the ink and the paper material so results will vary from people to people on the combination)

4) Water brush. 1 brush is all you need and it will easily last you a couple of years! Medium tip is a nice size.

5) A small Water color kit. Any water kit is fine, but if you do not have one a nice intro kit can be purchased from Sakura Koi. I used the Koi for years, but then later have continued to use the outer case with colors removed with new colors added in from Holbein. I recommend having at least 18 colors. sh/pd/2896

6) White Gel Pen Sakura Gelly Roll 08 is a nice white gel pen to add highlights in the end.

Registration fee
$50 per person
Please contact for space availability and paypal link.

Cancellation policy:

In the unforeseen event the workshop is cancelled, all fees will be reimbursed.

No refunds for cancellations received after August 18th, 2018.


Stillman and Birn


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