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Urban Sketching Short Course

Urban Sketching Short Course

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Ilga Leimanis


This course will take place on location in London: urban environments, sites of architectural significance, parks, canals and gardens, museums and markets. It is designed to help you to improve your hand-eye co-ordination and observational skills. You will draw the details and atmosphere of the city using a variety of materials that will be explored as expressive tools. 

Topics covered

  • The course will build your confidence and drawings skills: drawing at different speeds and durations, one and two point perspectives, measuring and proportion.
  • Texture and surface (natural and man-made), depth and space, and tone (light and shade) will also be covered.
  • Sessions typically will start with demonstrations of how to use different materials or techniques -- range of dry and wet materials will be used, each day another material. 
  • We will work through simple exercises to help simplify and render perspective and consistent scale in your drawings. 
  • We will also look at examples of historical and contemporary work to see how others have interpreted city and landscapes. 

The aim of the course is to help you to establish an urban sketching drawing practice and you should leave the course with new skills, a full sketchbook and many ideas to try at your next location. 

Who should take this course?

This course is suitable for everyone, from complete beginners to seasoned sketchers wishing to refresh and reinvigorate their skills.

Level: All levels

Entry requirements: None

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Ilga Leimanis MA is a London-based artist and writer. She is a member of Five Years, an artist-run gallery, and her own practice is collaborative and interdisciplinary. Her teaching experience of 10 years is varied and extensive. She helps prepare students for degree courses and many of her previous students have gained places at their preferred schools. She also works with professionals looking to develop their communication and creativity skills, as well as people taking courses for personal interest.

Ilga delivers workshops for the University of the Arts (UAL) Academic Support department, working across six UAL art and design colleges. She teaches manual drawing skills for architects and engineers working at leading offices in London, including at Foster+Partners, and she also works internationally.

Ilga is author of three chapters in Creative Sketching Workshop, published by Apple Press (UK), North Light Books (North America) and Tan Yang International (Asia).

See Ilga's websites and


Please bring with you to the first session:

  • A3 or A4 sketchbook
  • one smaller sketchbook (any size, any paper)
  • a pack of coloured pencils
  • one pencil sharpener
  • a rubber
  • selection of pens felt tip/biro
  • selection of pencils 2B/4B/6B/8B
  • a small bottle of black ink

All other materials will be provided.

Any additional materials you may wish to use will be discussed on the first day of the course.

Available dates