Urban Sketching – Reflection

A short reflection on what I have learnt and what I have enjoyed from the urban sketching project.


For the final week of the urban sketching project I went to the centre of Cardiff and did a couple more continuous line drawings. I decided to use the technique of sticking scraps of coloured paper in my sketchbook and then drawing on top of them using my pilot pen and my ink brush pen. I think this technique works to best out of all of the different techniques and media I have experimented with throughout this project.

Throughout this project I have experimented with a number of different techniques and materials, this has allowed me to develop my observational drawing skills and the way that I draw including drawing with an ink dip pen, charcoal, biro pen, water colour pencils and using techniques such as the continuous line technique.

I have enjoyed this project, I needed to do more observational drawing as part of my practice and this has been a fun way to allow me to do this. This project has also enabled me to develop my drawing skills and I feel I am now more confident at drawing from observation. This has also allowed me to incorporate drawing into final pieces or sketches which is something that I wanted to explore as I usually use a lot of collage within my work.

This project has also enabled me to sketch people from observation with more confidence. Before starting this project I was anxious of observing and drawing people on a train or out in a street but this project encouraged me to just go out and sketch people, focusing on capturing their body language in a more gestural way.

I  think that I will continue doing urban sketching when I can as I have enjoyed this experience and I think that the skills and techniques that I have learnt from drawing from observation and the different exercises we have been given can easily be incorporated into my practice.

Urban Sketching – Cardiff

Some more sketches of buildings in Cardiff, using the continuous line technique.

On the 6th and 7th of Feb I went back into the city centre to do some more urban sketching. On the 6th I decided to just do more of the continuous line drawings, I did two, one of the train station and one of some buildings along St Mary’s street.

I chose to do these as I think that they represent the theme of My Cardiff well as I go through the train station most days to get to uni and walk along St Mary’s street to get the train home. I also chose them as they have interesting architecture. I decided to stick with the continuous line technique which I think works well, however I would like to try and add some colour to these drawings in some way, possibly using my tablet.

On the 7th I decided to do some more continuous line drawing but I wanted to add colour so I got some scrap pieces of coloured paper and stuck them in my sketchbook so that I colour draw over them when I was out.

These two sketches are my favourite that I have done so far. I think that adding the coloured paper worked really well to make the images look more interesting and dynamic. I used the same continuous line technique and the same pens to do these sketches. I also used a bigger sketchbook so that i could make these images more detailed. I think that they work really well as urban sketches and that the coloured paper and the continuous line technique is something that I am going to experiment with further.

Urban Sketching – Cardiff Bay

Some sketches from a trip to Cardiff Bay.

On Thursday the 1st of Feb I went to Cardiff Bay to do some sketching. I decided to continue with the continuous line technique in order to develop it further. I only did a few sketches this time as it was freezing outside and very windy.

I used my pilot v ball pen again with my ink brush pen. For my last sketch I decided to try and add some depth and tone using watered down ink and a paint brush. I don’t think this worked very well as I think I painted too much in the image, I didn’t leave enough of the blank paper to contrast with the darker areas. I also found that some of the lines that I had drawn had ran because the ink is not waterproof.

Urban Sketching – People

Some quick sketches that I did in a lecture using the continuous line technique.

On Wednesday I decided to do some quick continuous line sketches of some people in a lecture that I was in. I think that they look OK but could be improved by adding some watered down ink to add some tone to them. For these sketches I used my pilot v ball pen again.

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Urban Sketching – Continuous Line Drawing

Some continuous line sketches drawn in Cardiff.

On Tuesday the 30th we were given another drawing exercise to do some quick continuous line sketches. This meant that we had to do some sketching using a pen and we were’t supposed to let the pen leave the page until the sketch was finished.

I went into the centre of Cardiff again for this exercise. I completed three sketches in the time that we were given.

I used the same media for all three sketches, a 0.7 pilot v ball pen to do the sketching and an ink brush pen to add darker areas for the windows and any shadows. I think that this technique worked really well, I enjoyed doing it as it allowed me to produce bold and confident sketches. I think this way of sketching allows you to capture the essence of a building without being too correct. I think that I will continue with this technique.

After this sketch crawl I redrew my last image of the windows above Natwest Bank using a waterproof ink so that I could add some watercolour to it.

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I don’t think the addition of colour improves this image, I also think that this may have been the wrong image to choose to add colour too as the colour on the building was quite pale and not very interesting.

Urban Sketching- City Centre Sketch Crawl

Some sketches that I did on a second, short sketch crawl in Cardiff city centre.

On Friday the 26th I went to the city centre again to do some more urban sketching. I only did a few sketches as I didn’t have much time but I chose to focus on drawing pubs again as there are many different ones in Cardiff with unique and interesting architecture .

I decided to experiment with different types of media on this sketch crawl. The first image that I did I used a charcoal pencil, I don’t think this technique was particularly successful as I don’t think its as bold as using a pen or ink. For my second sketch I used a biro pen, I think this worked slightly better than the charcoal but again I think the ink dip pen that I have been using is more successful. For my third drawing I used my ink dip pen and a small set of watercolours. I decided to add colour to this piece as the pub was very colourful and I wanted to portray that. I think that this image is the most successful out of the three.

I also did a digital sketch of a window of the Great Western Pub. I did this using my tablet. I don’t think this drawing is as successful as the dip ink pen drawings that I have done but I think that it is a good way to add colour to my drawings.


Urban Sketching – Drawing People

My sketches from a session that was focused on drawing people’s form.

We were given another exercise to go out into different parts of the campus and focus on drawing people. The idea was to do some gesture drawing, where you focus on the form of people rather than the details such as their face and their clothing. The aim of this exercise was to practice proportions and also drawing people quickly, to get the shape of a person before they move. I chose to sit in the Heart Space which is a cafe / work / relaxing space.

For all of my sketches I tried to focus on the person that I was drawing rather than the page that I was drawing on so that I could observe them and how they were sat or standing before they moved. I found this process difficult at first but I found that the more I drew the easier it got. I also found this exercise helpful as I don’t tend to draw people very often and this is something that I need to work on and this exercise allowed me to do this. I used a dip pen again for this exercise as I feel that it allows me to draw freely without worrying about making mistakes, it also allows me to vary my marks and lines. To improve these sketches I would like to add some colour or some watered down ink in order to add tone.