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The Broken Silhouette is the handout from my 2017’s USK workshop in Chicago, emphasizing direct watercolor in urban settings.


Cover_Expressive Pen and Ink Sketching

Making Expressive Pen and Ink Drawings on Location: This 11 page self-printable booklet is the class notes and exercises from an Urban Sketchers workshop designed in partnership with the Virginia Center for Architecture.  At the time I was thinking about bringing Urban Sketching to an audience of architects – so the underlying goal here is to loosen up line work and to start sketching like a painter. These exercises were originally posted on the blog back in April 2015.



Tea, Milk, Honey: A Watercolor Sketching Cheat Sheet is a single page, folded booklet, crammed with notes about sketching in watercolor. I made it for my workshop on three pass watercolor sketching at the USk symposim in Paraty Brazil – but – it should be useful as a refresher for any beginners.

Feel free to grab the PDF for yourself, or to hand out to your own students.  Just print the file and fold it: in half lengthwise, and in half shortwise – to make a little booklet.



Drawing People in Motion is a short (7 page) PDF packed with helpful drawing tips and step by step sketches. It was designed as a handout for my class at the 2013 Urban Sketchers symposium in Barcelona.

I recommend reading in iBooks or Acrobat Reader on any tablet or mobile device. Links may not work in the Kindle Reader because Apple and Amazon can’t seem to get along. Of course you can also read PDFs in any web browser.

Enjoy, and let me know if you found it helpful! ~m


Cover_Actors on Stage

Actors on Stage: Sketching Characters on the Street is the printable PDF version of my class notes for my session at the 2015 USK Symposium in Singapore. This is a quick little class on sketching portraits and ‘slice-of-life’ activities on the street. It’s a collection of simple tips really, but I hope you find it handy. Feel free to try out the approach to sketching people – and use it in your own Urban Sketching outings.


Reportage Drawing Cards_01

The Site Sketching Card Deck: is a multiplayer drawing game developed for my workshop at Urban Sketchers 2016 international symposium in Manchester UK.

This project is ideal for art instructors, workshop leaders, or sketching club co-coordinators. Feel free to distribute these files, or pass on the link to this page.

Summary: Typically, at an un-guided sketchcrawl each artist wants to maximize their time drawing, so they sit right down and immediately begin drawing the ‘best view’. An unfortunate side effect is that we often end up with many renditions of the same drawing!

If instead, artists were to be given assignments – specific tasks of what to draw – which are pre-planned to avoid overlap with the work of other artists, the group could insure complete coverage of a site. Nobody would draw the same thing, and together, we would draw everything!

In recognition of the natural tendency for artists to resist outside direction (herding cats?) – and just to add an element of fun :) I propose an automated system of choosing drawing assignments.

No single person will be ‘in charge’ of the project plan – but rather, topics can be assigned by random chance.

In short: a deck of cards.

Click through for a PDF of printable cards, and the rules of the game!

79 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2013 7:44 PM

    Thank you for sharing! It’s nice for us who can’t make it to Barcelona to follow via a mini-version!

    • barbara Joabson permalink
      July 6, 2018 11:13 AM

      My prayers and thoughts are with you on this personal journey with your family.
      Thank you for still taking the time to still teach us.

  2. June 28, 2013 11:49 PM

    I agree. Thanks so much for your generous offer of the hand out for all of us not going to Spain.

  3. June 29, 2013 1:09 PM

    Thank you Marc — this is really nice, as Jen says, for those of us who can’t go ;-)

  4. Kate Crowe permalink
    June 29, 2013 2:09 PM

    This is lovely. I have a question about the download. What software did you use to put it together? It looks great, and I might want to try to make something similar for the classes that I teach.

    • marctaro permalink*
      June 29, 2013 3:29 PM

      Hey Kate – ya I did the page layout in adobe illustrator and combined them into a single PDF in acrobat. I should probably use InDesign – but I need to study up on the interface ;) Haven’t used that DTP stuff for 15 years :)

      • Kate Crowe permalink
        June 29, 2013 7:09 PM

        Thanks, that helps. I haven’t used Illustrator for my student materials but maybe I’ll give it a try.

  5. June 29, 2013 5:36 PM

    Fantastic Marc.
    This is an area I find difficult.
    Brilliantly done & linking the video to it essential

  6. June 30, 2013 9:52 AM

    Hi Marc
    I have followed your work on Urban Sketchers for a couple of years, enjoying the ideas as style in your work. THANKS for posting this PDF. I hope others will follow your example. It is so helpful in improving my work the work of others.
    Take care and good luck in Barcelona

  7. Nigel permalink
    June 30, 2013 2:09 PM

    I have been following your blogs for a while. If you were to ever publish and instructional book on drawing/painting many people would be interested I think!

    • marctaro permalink*
      June 30, 2013 5:32 PM

      Good to hear! That’s not out of the question :) We’ll see how things go this summer.

  8. Jana permalink
    June 30, 2013 5:29 PM

    This is great! Thank you so much for making this accessible for everyone.

  9. July 1, 2013 11:12 AM

    What a great handout! Thank you for this. Love your work – loose but structured with great skill. A fine balance…

    • marctaro permalink*
      July 1, 2013 3:19 PM

      well thank you – exactly what I’m going for!

  10. July 2, 2013 7:34 AM

    Thank you for your fantastic tips. I look forward to the next ones!

  11. chapel permalink
    July 3, 2013 4:07 PM

    Merci ! Comme je ne viens pas à Barcelone j’apprécie doublement. et merci pour la vidéo, je ne comprend pas l’anglais.

  12. July 4, 2013 12:56 AM

    Your work is awesome! Thanks for posting this handy pdf, it’s quite inspiring and makes me want to go out and gesture now. I’ll share this with my classmates.

  13. Doug Moench permalink
    July 19, 2013 12:48 PM

    Thank you for this gift & for your work teaching others. For someone with your talent to be giving others inspiration is, well, inspiring. I absolutely love your loose, free approach to rendering realism, so much so that I just made a purchase on your Etsy page. Keep up the good work!

    • marctaro permalink*
      July 19, 2013 12:57 PM

      Well hey! Thanks Doug – that’s great :)

  14. July 28, 2013 10:06 AM

    Thank you for sharing this… I’ve always wondered how artists captured people in motion.

  15. Suzanne Marinier permalink
    July 31, 2013 9:19 AM

    From my point of view, this is the first chapter of your next book ( OK maybe not the first one). Good tips, good layout and in your very personal style. I will practice these step by step techniques. Thank you very much.

    • marctaro permalink*
      July 31, 2013 9:33 AM

      Well, that is sort of my thinking – trying on what a book on sketching might be like. I certainly have plans that are only in the idea stage :)

  16. Marie-Odile Thirion ! permalink
    August 1, 2013 10:02 AM

    Hi Marc, how nice of you to share your experience with us ! I’ll no doubt do try them here in Paris, and we can see what results I got next time I am in Montreal. This afternoon together with you and Shari really was great, with the first snow flake on the season. I do regret I could not make it in Barcelona, well that’s life. Take Care ! Marie-Odile

    • marctaro permalink*
      August 1, 2013 10:15 AM

      Yes, give us a call next time you’re in town – we’ll go give it another try!

  17. Marie-Odile Thirion ! permalink
    August 3, 2013 3:28 AM

    I tried your system with 4 steps, indeed it helped since the fact of changing the medium gave me some distance to the subject (a couple dancing in Montmartre), I was not stuck in what I saw but I sketched what I felt (at least I tried!) – still a long way to get a correctly satisfactory result, but definitely an improvement

    • marctaro permalink*
      August 3, 2013 7:14 AM

      Hey – great to hear you’re applying the method – I like to know people are having fun with it.

  18. August 8, 2013 12:00 PM

    Thanks for this handout. I need to work on gestures, now that I understand why they are so important.

  19. Antonio permalink
    May 26, 2014 7:41 AM

    Lamento que el PDF Drawing People in Motion no este traducido al español o al menos yo no lo he conseguido. Todo su trabajo es muy interesante y muy útil.

    • May 26, 2014 9:07 AM

      Eso es una gran idea – y el francés sería bueno también porque vivo en Quebec. Si alguien estaba interesado en ser voluntario para hacer una traducción, yo estaría encantado de trabajar con ellos. (Lo siento, google)

  20. June 6, 2014 12:47 AM

    This is lovely. It looks great, and I might want to try to make something similar for the classes that I teach…..

    • June 6, 2014 10:21 AM

      Feel free to use the handout for your class, if you think it would help out :)

  21. nukiart permalink
    July 31, 2014 1:04 PM

    Thank you so much for this and well all of your helpful tips and demos, Marc. Although I’ve worked in watercolour for a number of years, I’ve just started getting into sketching to improve my drawing and observation skills.

  22. August 19, 2014 8:30 AM


  23. August 19, 2014 12:17 PM

    Thanks for sharing with us all!

  24. August 19, 2014 12:58 PM

    Wow! Thank you so much! I am already in love with your idea of “Tea, Milk, Honey” for a long time and trying to keep this in mind in my watercolor sketches. I do in in sketchbooks, may be this is why it is so hard for me, but I keep killing previous layers of light. But I will keep trying, thank you for this wonderful Teaching sheet. :D

  25. Sam Dammers permalink
    August 19, 2014 1:55 PM

    Thank you very much for generously sharing these tips!

  26. August 19, 2014 3:05 PM

    Thanks a lot, Marc !!!!!!

  27. September 6, 2014 8:11 PM

    Thank you so much for these, Marc. I find your work truly inspiring and I´m counting the days for your book to come out!

  28. satish sharma permalink
    September 12, 2014 6:15 AM

    really real

  29. Mandy permalink
    November 17, 2014 5:30 PM

    Thank you for the handouts – very useful :)

  30. May 13, 2015 9:11 PM

    Marc, I am sharing this download with my sketching group:

  31. July 14, 2015 4:11 AM

    Thanks Marc, this is great. I’ll share with my sketch group:

  32. July 14, 2015 9:27 AM

    Thanks for generously making these resources available.

  33. Graciela Solanas permalink
    July 15, 2015 2:17 PM

    Thanks a lot ,Marc,hope you have fun at Singapore.Saludos from Barcelona .Graciela

  34. Pauline Donohoe permalink
    September 30, 2015 7:57 AM

    Hi Marc. Thank you for the PDF. But I’m unable to download it. The message says it is not a PDF just thought I’d let you know in case others are having the same problem. Thank u for the really informative blog

    • September 30, 2015 10:11 AM

      Hey Pauline – they are all working on my end – so – not sure what’s up. Maybe your wifi signal was weak?

  35. November 7, 2015 4:18 PM

    Many thanks for making these available. Extremely helpful tips.

    Now to sign up for your Craftsy course!

  36. January 21, 2016 3:53 PM

    wow, thanks!

  37. Vera permalink
    May 1, 2016 2:11 PM

    Thank you!! :) /Vera

  38. May 30, 2016 3:40 PM

    Thank you so much for this! I haven’t drawn in years but seeing your sketches have definitely inspired me to go for it again :)

  39. Paolo permalink
    June 1, 2016 1:13 PM

    Thanks for sharing and help us to learn your technique!

  40. Isla permalink
    July 12, 2016 10:07 AM

    ¡Muchísimas gracias! Excelentes y generosas ayudas para los que vivimos del otro lado del planeta.

  41. July 15, 2016 4:18 PM

    I have no words to thank your drawing lessons.
    Today I discovered by chance one of these PDF files ACTORS ON STAGE. I’ve been drawing following instructions and the result has been very satisfactory.

    I´ve got the book THE URBAN SKETCHER and I think it’s wonderful. It contains large drawing classes. It is a gift for any artist. Although until now I have not started to draw people.

    The discovery of these other lessons has motivated me a lot. I consider you one of my drawing teachers.

    I wish you well in all things you do in your life.

  42. LauraLu permalink
    August 10, 2016 7:16 AM

    I have just discovered you through Teoh’s (Parka’s) videos on you tube and I really like your art. I’ve searched around and found your web page and its impressive with all your wonderful sketching and sharing and teaching, wow. Thanks so much for these downloads. You have already inspired me to just go out and sketch. But, I need help. I am going to study these downloads and then take your craftsy class. Thanks so very much! 🌻🌺🌼

  43. Linda Lower permalink
    August 16, 2016 2:11 PM

    Thank you. So helpful.

  44. August 22, 2016 8:07 PM

    thanks Marc…I intend to use it for my beginners watercolor journaling class. May have to adapt it a little, but what a great idea. I’ll send photos after I use your info.

  45. Margaret Mankin permalink
    August 22, 2016 8:50 PM

    Hello Marc,
    Thank you for your generosity and expertise! I have tried some of these activities with my senior students. Your approach will make sketchin more fun!

  46. Deb DesMarteau permalink
    August 23, 2016 10:11 AM

    Your generosity is overwhelming! All WONDERFUL lessons and reminders! Your work is awesome! I also have your book, The Urban Sketcher!

  47. August 23, 2016 1:38 PM

    I attended Marc’s workshop at the recent Symposium when he shared this. DO IT! :D It’s really fun and gets your brain working in different ways, producing very interesting stuff at the end of the sketchcrawl. Thanks Marc! I’ve been waiting for this post :) Will get the Hong Kong sketchers to try this and let you know how it goes.

  48. EdieB permalink
    August 29, 2016 12:20 PM

    Thank you – They will be a great help. Wish I could go to one of your workshop.

  49. Kathryn permalink
    November 26, 2016 2:07 PM

    Thank you so much for these downloads. They are really helpful. I have really been enjoying your urban sketcher book too. I couldn’t put it down… There was just so much great information!

  50. March 2, 2017 9:02 AM

    Merci pour ses tuto très intéressants, avec une approche originale. J’ai déjà testé celui de dessin de foule en extérieur, j’aime ! :)

  51. raspberrythief permalink
    January 9, 2018 5:02 AM

    Thank you for sharing these, they will be very helpful.

  52. January 17, 2018 10:17 PM

    Thanks Brother So much download to your water color sketch. so much helpful me .

  53. roxannesteed permalink
    May 17, 2018 5:42 PM

    OMG- thank you so much!!! This is awesome!!

  54. May 18, 2018 5:55 PM

    Thank you for your generosity! Much appreciate these pdf’s.

  55. burf permalink
    May 18, 2019 8:13 AM

    Thanks, Marc, I hope it is not too much to ask when you are already so generous… have you made any such videos?

  56. Jean Coombs permalink
    November 5, 2019 2:20 PM

    I learned about you from a posting by Angela Fehr. I loved watching you paint that landscape and am now learning so much from the material you have to generously shared here on this site. Many thanks to you for this so helpful material.

  57. April 9, 2020 1:41 PM

    Thank you so much for the loving offer of so many drawing and watercolor lessons. You are an extraordinary person and for years I have followed You from afar :-) I recognized in one of the PDF’s some drawings from my city, Terreiro do Paço, Lisbon :-D The PDF’s are great to show my students too :-)
    Stay home and stay safe!

  58. Jacky permalink
    April 18, 2020 1:19 PM

    Hi Marc, thank you so much for these exercise cards, I run Black Country USk in the UK and can’t wait to use them at the next meeting. I’ve printed them off ready…I don’t know why but Draw 1 & 2 pages only print text and not images…all the other pages are fine though. I love your sketches.

  59. Tammy F. permalink
    September 4, 2020 7:15 AM

    This is amazing! Thank you for sharing this helpful materials!

  60. May 3, 2021 6:50 AM

    Marc, I downloaded a free pdf from you ages ago on making an accordion style sketchbook from a single sheet of paper. It’s a brilliant design and I’ve used it a lot myself, and I’d like to share it online via Instagram and Facebook with a local heritage group that I do voluntary work with (it’s @cliffecastle_supportgroup on IG) for a project I’m working on.
    I see it’s no longer on your download page. I have a copy of the pdf but I was thinking of sharing it preferably via your own website link to make the attribution and the connection to you. Please let me know if you’re OK with me sharing it – I’ll attribute it whatever way I do it – and thanks again for all your generous downloads!


  1. Drawing People in Motion – in Barcelona | Citizen Sketcher
  2. Great drawing tips for free! | Drawn In

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