Announcing: James Richards: Sketching the Energy of Places
As a Craftsy instructor myself, we get free access to all their classes, and I was excited to see his name pop up on the list.
I’ve drawn alongside James at Urban Sketchers workshops around the world, and have always been impressed by his ability to swiftly capture an urban environment bustling with street life. He’s from Texas, and has that big warm personality that seems part of the culture there.
His sketches are full of the color and activity of people in open air markets, squares, and public spaces – in large part due to his experience as a location-sketcher, his successful career as a concept designer in architecture and urban planning, and his current work as an associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington. He’s also the author of Freehand Drawing and Discovery: Urban Sketching and Concept Drawing for Designers, and is an urban sketchers.org correspondent for Dallas/Fort Worth.
The Craftsy course itself follows the format of 7 lessons, where he covers topics such as drawing people and places together – establishing the proportions of people, how to draw crowds, how to set a correct eye line for groups, and how they diminish in size as they go down the street.
The meat of the class is a demo drawing of a train station, which he draws from start to finish, taking side jaunts to explain composition, sight measuring techniques, and plenty of great information on how to capture the important details.
Along the way he gives some great lessons on specific concepts – like how to add trees and cars to your scene – the details that set the drawing into the urban space.
You get to see him finish the demonstration sketch with watercolor, introducing many useful tricks along the way – such as using white pencils to put window panes back over darks.
The lessons culminate with a trip on location where you’ll see James sketching thumbnails and sitting down to do another demo of a finished piece. He includes information on his tools throughout- (we like the same portable easel!).
I can highly recommend James Richard’s new course. If you were to combine it with Stephanie Bower’s class Perspective for Sketchers, and Shari Blaukopf’s more painterly Landscapes in Pen, Ink and Watercolor, Paul Heaston’s Pen and ink Classes; Drawing Everyday and Pen and Ink Essentials – and of course my own offerings – Craftsy is building quite a strong program in sketching! These online courses are frankly giving my art school education a run for its money.