Sketching with Light, Shadow and Color in Seattle

When you look at a great sketch, what is it that really makes a strong impact? What really makes a sketch a success is a strong composition–that’s what grabs your eye and holds it!  In this weekend workshop, we’ll practice dynamically composing a sketch–first by exploring “Notan”, the harmony of light and dark, and then […]

Book Review: 5-Minute Sketching – Landscapes

[Book review by Tina Koyama] When I think of Virginia Hein’s work, two things come to mind: light and composition. She is a master of both, and when I heard she had a new book on landscape sketching, I was thrilled to be able to learn her techniques. 5-Minute Sketching – Landscapes: Super-Quick Techniques for Amazing […]

Sunny Santa Monica

[By Shiho Nakaza, Virginia Hein and Tina Koyama in Santa Monica, Calif.] Tina: While visiting family in L.A. a couple weekends ago, I had the fun and good fortune of sketching with soon-to-be-official Urban Sketchers Los Angeles. On a gorgeous, blue-sky day that was a welcome respite from Seattle’s drizzle, we met at Santa Monica Pier, a popular […]

Sketching in Los Angeles…the LA Plein Air Festival

[By Virginia Hein in Los Angeles, USA] Last week was the third annual Los Angeles Plein Air Festival, with well over 100 artists drawing and painting the historic downtown core for 5 days. The event is produced by Raw Materials Art Supplies, and I was asked to do a watercolor demo.  I was excited to participate, […]

Sketching in Tacoma!

[By Gail Wong, Gabi Campanario and Virginia Hein] This past weekend, over 150 urban sketchers converged on downtown Tacoma, Washington for the 4th Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl.  Sketchers came from up and down the west coast of the US–from California to Canada, and several from Arizona!  Local organizers Frances Buckmaster, Kate Buike and […]

Revisiting a Childhood Love…

[By Virginia Hein visiting San Diego, CA] As a child, summer vacations sometimes meant a trip to Balboa Park in San Diego, just a few hours south of Los Angeles.  Lydia Velarde, our San Diego USk correspondent, often posts her lovely drawings of Balboa Park, and I’m always reminded just how much I loved the […]

A Travel Sketchbook…

[By Virginia Hein in Southern California] Several times a year I make the trek from Los Angeles into the Mojave Desert–well, maybe trek isn’t the right word, it conjures up a dusty vision of walking alongside pack animals in merciless heat, while I’m fortunate to ride “shotgun” in an air-conditioned car and sketch all the […]

Things Just Don’t Stay the Same…

[By Virginia Hein in Los Angeles, USA]…no matter how much we might want them to!  But that, of course, is a big part of being an urban sketcher–recording things as they change.  The urban landscape is interesting in part because it’s a living, changing thing–and unpredictable!  I have visited and sketched the Grand Central Market […]

Early Spring in Public Gardens…

[By Virginia Hein in Los Angeles, California, USA] Early Spring in Southern California means we finally have a bit of rain, and so our semi-desert landscape is getting greener!  This is the lovely Los Angeles Arboretum, and an overgrown view of the Victorian era Coach Barn. Also at the Arboretum–the Peacock Cafe, sketching over lunch […]

Sketching the light

[By Virginia Hein in Los Angeles, California] It would be easy as a native of Southern California to take the light here for granted…but I’ve found it’s the thing that I always notice first in a scene. Here are a few sketches made when I’ve had some time to develop the story a bit (always […]