WORKSHOP: Sketching's Exercises
Some weeks ago the Urban Sketches Course 10x10, settled in Rome, is ended.
The teachers (Benedetta Dossi, Luca Marini, Eva Villa, Sonia Cipollari, Elisabetta Mitrovic and Kelly Medford) gave to the students some exercise to continue practising sketching.
Benedetta introduced the Urban Sketchers way, talking about "how to draw on location", Luca talked about "Perspective", Eva about "chiaroscuro", Sonia about "how to draw People" and Kelly about the "art of watercolors".

Here the list of exercises everyone can do to improve your sketching skill:

1 minute sketch:
this is a nice exercise I did for the first time in Venice with Mario Linhares and Josè Louro, my friends and Portuguese sketchers.
Walk around your city and stop when you see a nice view. In one minute (you can start with two minutes, easier way) you must sketch what are you seeing.
Pay attention to:
-think about composition, the entirely view must be sketched all in your frame
-put details only in your point of interest
-sketch may be small!
-sketch with few lines!
WHY: this is a good exercise, like stretching is for athletes before doing a hard work, it helps you to focus your attention, avoiding distracting elements and focusing on composition before adding details-

Draw your room using the central perspective (it is governed by a single vanishing point). Add furniture, canvases, windows, doors, lamps focusing just on the main shape, not on details. Then find a high view point, like a balcony at the third floor, where you can see the street so start to sketch it and the buildings around.
Remember! the horizontal line is always placed at eye height!
WHY: this is a good exercise to understand perspective and how it works from different point of views.

EVA_chiaroscuro in Nature
-Start with painting uniform colors on dry paper and after on wet paper to understand how colors react with water and to calibrate how much color you need to paint uniform brushstrokes.
-Nature: choose your subjects, tree and bushes mainly, and observe where light come from.
-Monochrome watercolors: put the biggest, main shadows before, using one single color, then add the secondary and detailed shadows.
-Different moments: practice this exercises in different moments of the day, in the early morning, on the sunset or with a back light.
WHY: this is a good exercise to understand how light and shadows works.

Find a natural place like a park or a lake where you can find birds and other animals.
Understand how are composed animals, figuring the main shapes: ovals, circles etc. and understand how these shapes are in relations to each other.
Then observe how is placed the secondary elements, for example how are placed horizontally and vertically the eyes in relation with the main shape (the head in this case).
Suggestion! When the animal moves stop sketching it, start with another subject and then, when the first subject get back into the position, continue to draw him.
WHY: this exercises is good to focus on main shapes and to became used to draw subject in movement.

-Pyramidal exercise:
Paint  with a focus and concentrate on something that you are weak at. So for  example if I find it difficult to distinguish between tone and color so do a series of small watercolors first using just black and white.
Then use 3  tones:
black, white and grey.
Then move to 5 tones: black, white and 3  gys.
Then take the strongest of the 5 toned study and translate it to  color.

-Warm and cool:
Still life
To  learn warm and cool, for example to create convincing shadows, make a series of small studies outside from life.
You can use a still life and  use just one object to begin with.
Make several studies of the light and  shadow and at the end put them all together and analyze which one(s)  work best and why.
Use a strong direct light source coming from one direction only, so that the light and shadows are very clear.
Also,  go out painting with a friend or friends and give yourself a challenge  for 3 hours. Do 10 minute timed watercolors and then compare.
WHY: these are good exercises to help to approach colors. Because it is not easy to start using directly a lot of colors, try to understand light and shadow with few colors at the beginning.

Try those exercise and specially
Have fun!