Fake urban sketching – need advice

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  • I’ve been looking at tons of videos of Teoh Yi Chie lately and I really like his sketching style. So, this is my first try painting something like urban sketching, although faked (from a photo) because I won’t freeze my ass off (it’s raining some mix between wet cold snow and rain, and it’s around 0-2 degrees celsius/32-35 fahrenheit) sitting outside sketching and painting this time of year in Sweden… 😀

    Paints used: Kremer pigments handmade watercolors. Paper: Fabriano studio 300g. Pen: Sharpie, fine, black. Brush: Da Vinci Cosmotop Mix-B, size 8.

    Now, any suggestions how to improve? Anything good, anything bad? I’m absolutely lost. Need help!

    Nice!  One option for urban sketching when it’s cold is sketching cafes or parts of your house!

    I think in an effort to imitate Teoh’s fast, loose style you may have rushed this sketch a little.  Although Teoh colours fast, and is a relatively loose sketcher, he does put a decent amount of time into getting his overall proportions/perspective lined up at the start of a painting.  If you take some time right at the beginning of the sketch to figure out your proportions, you can do the actual drawing and painting fast and loose and it will still look “right”.


    Thanks for your helpful response! You are absolutely right, I rushed it a bit, and I should have put more time into the initial sketch. As this was a first try mistakes were of course gonna happen – so, more practice clearly needed! 🙂

    Lisa IF you are on Facebook join our Virtual Sketchwalk group.  Most of the time we are doing walks from images, and you get to see a lot of ways that people are sketching the same images, which is very interesting and there is good sharing.  Urban sketchers like myself (who are not hung up on sketching from images — I had to for two months after a surgery) play there, and people with disabilities or who are housebound for whatever reasons (like many many inches of snow!)  Some amazing artists who are elderly play there as well.  Most of the pages I am offering below are from me leading the Virtual group…

    Trying to copy a style — and his is an amazing style and I love him and try to make palms like his oh my — i think the underpinnings are still there in the beginning.

    I tell people to use the image as a way to understand and study what they may not know…


    I tend to have a few guidelines, or a lot of guidelines, depending on what I am doing.  The architect in me sees no problem with pencils and the whole idea of pencil no pencil is a bit crazy — and so I often use a pencil as a guideline… either graphite or watercolor.  Once the guidelines are down what you do from there is personal style…  And about personal style… I think it is intrinsic to who you are, how your lines are made.  I can’t do him, but I can losen up, which as an architect is constantly my push!








    the thing is, that even for a formal commission the process is still the same…


    I hope that helps!


    Sorry forgot the link for the FB group.



    I like it.

    When I‘m rushed, it looks like that. However, I found out, for me it works better to loosely sketch with pencil, do the coloring, defining the shapes and then add the contours.

    Also I found it beneficial at this time of the year to do the pencil sketch outside if possible and the coloring and outlines at home where it‘s warm. 🙂

    I like your urban sketching very much,urban sketching appeals to me even though I have never done any…I take pictures then do a sketch from it..I do the ink then the watercolor then sometimes a little more ink to define…please keep sharing..🙂

    Thank you Kate for your helpful info! I joined the virtual sketchwalk group instantly! 🙂

    So many helpful links, I will read up and try to learn, thanks!!

    That’s helpful advice Dominik! I’ve never even thought about adding the outlines afterwards, so that sounds like a good plan to try! Thanks!

    Thank you for your lovely words Pamela!

    Love your work,Dominic

    Also what reallworks nicely for me is using a larger brush than you would normally use, especially a flat brush. I also own a strange blade like brush which I like very much.

    Dominik I think that is true especially for loosening up.  I like a cosmotop that is quite big but can do a nice point when necessary — and it helps me to stay loose!

    Mine is a half cosmotop then.

    Lisa, have you seen the work of Nina Johansson? She’s an urban sketcher whose style I admire, although I can’t recall her techniques for winter sketching. Teoh is also a favorite of mine! Check out Nina’s work here:  http://www.ninajohansson.se  

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