W7: Learn the Language of Urban Sketching



Saturday morning

Michele Cooper


Hieroglyphics is a writing system that uses pictures and symbols instead of letters and words. You could say that urban sketching is somewhat similar. We use symbols for clouds, people, cars, buildings, rocks and trees to tell the story of a particular time and place. The great thing about this “language” of art is that anyone can read it, regardless of age, home location or literacy.

Improve your ability to communicate your story. Learn to put together easy symbols for what we see from direct observation. Learn to describe the sky in watercolor, show the glistening light on driftwood and wet rocks and portray a figure in 6 brushstrokes.

Supply list:


  • A waterproof fine tip pen (i.e. Micron, Pitt, Sharpie, a Lamy Safari fountain pen with water soluble ink)
  • A mechanical pencil
  • Kneaded eraser
  • A waterbrush. Carries the water for painting in the handle so there’s no need for a water bottle. I like Pentel Aquash
  • A roll up or zip up case to keep your drawing implements together.


  • A sketchbook designed for multimedia. Takes ink, pencil, marker, and watercolor equally well. Hardbound books help support your drawing while standing or sitting with it in your lap. I like Pentalic Aqua Journal, Nature Sketch, ProArt, and Stillman & Birn Beta (130-180 lb thick paper) or choose your own preferred paper and make a maze book.
  • Binder clips to hold the pages open.

Color Options

  • Small, travel watercolor kit. Needs at least three primary colors and a lid for mixing. This one is DIY in a mint tin. Yarka has small 10 and 12 color moist pan sets.
  • A set of watercolor pencils for museum sketches.
  • Caran d’Ache Neocolor II is a fun option for watercolor (tin of 15 gives you plenty of colors)
  • Prima Tropicals Set. An affordable travel alternative to the larger studio setup that we use in class.
  • A folded paper towel, sponge or pack of tissues to clean your water brush.

Out of stock

Event Details

Date: July 20, 2024

Start time: 09:00 a.m.

End time: 12:30 p.m.

Directions: Graphite Arts Center. 202a Main St, Edmonds, WA 98020

Sketcher Fest Artist

Michele Cooper loves sharing her discoveries and has taught adult watercolor workshops both internationally and locally from Anacortes to Seattle since 1979. Michele is a contributing author to two publications printed by Northlight Books, “The Ultimate Guide to Painting from Photographs” and Gary Greene’s “Artists’ Photo Reference”. Funny, eh?, for a person who prefers sketching on location! Michele has been associated with USk Seattle since 2014 and was a Seattle 10×10 instructor for the tenth anniversary series of urban sketchers workshops.

IG: @michelecooperart. Blog: michelecooper.blogspot.com