London and Barcelona, United Kingdom

London-Barcelona: Sketching the City

when 30 June 2014 - 11 July 2014
duration 2 weeks
fee GBP 1400


This course is about exploring the city of London through observing, drawing and recording on location and in studio workshops. We will also look at how the city has been drawn from past and present artists and illustrators.

Each day we will visit a different area of the city from well known locations to the more interesting and obscure or off the-beaten-tract and hidden - places that reveal the character and heart of the city. Each session will enable you to draw on location capturing the unique sense of place and people of the location we visit. You will be encouraged to use different media and materials with helpful tutorial advice, you will also learn how to capture and record through drawing the atmosphere of the varied locations and build up a sketchbook of lively drawings and observations. In the afternoon Studio workshops you will work up the sketches and create more substantial drawings using the research you have gathered on location. Experimenting with a variety of different materials (acrylic and watercolour, pen and ink or charcoal, different papers and simple printing techniques). This course is open to all abilities - just be curious and want to discover new ways of sketching on location and recording the hustle and bustle of London.


The course proposes an approach to the understanding of the environment having the hand drawing as the major media. Through this principle, we will balance between representation and expression, searching for the individual capacities of every student to find the best way to analyze and communicate the world.

Barcelona offers great possibilities in this sense, as long as it is a city full of contrasts, with wide landscapes in the mountains and the sea fronts, narrow streets, silent cloisters or crowded boulevards. It also provides a vibrant variety of situations and people that take up open space terraces, gothic churches, art nouveau buildings, or food markets. Barcelona has also a special athmosphere, due to sunlight and colour, the human scale of the city and the multiple layers of privacity that provides Mediterranean culture.

First we will get close to the work of some great artists such as Picasso, Miró, Casas or Mir that will give us paths to approach to our own sketchbooks. Visiting Picasso Museum, Miró Fundation or the National Art Museum (MNAC) we will be able to learn of the masters at the same time we begin understanding the city, drawing the magnificent buildings in which this museums are settled.

Later on, we will wander through the city looking for spaces, visions and situations that will inspire our drawings. We will visit Barcelona's main buildings (Gaudi, Mies van der Rohe, Richard Meier…), walk through urban parks like Park Güell or La Ciutadella, visit iron cast food markets like El Born, La Boqueria or Santa Caterina, rest in small squares like Sant Felip Neri or Sant Agustí Vell, or have lunch in terraces in Barri Gòtic, the sea front and the beach. We will also have a one day trip to a fishing village like Sitges or Cadaques, were artist's like Rusiñol or Dalí stayed long periods drawing, to deepen in the comprehension of Mediterranean atmosphere.

This wandering will mix drawings about people, architecture, nature, design… using
techniques like pencil, ball-point pen, ink, markers, watercolour. Dealing with all this techniques and facing this wide range of topics will bring a field of experimentation where the participants may find their own way of representing what they see and feel.

Finally, the sketchbook will become the best way to show his analytic, expressive and communicative skills, with a narrative that links to the experience lived through the so called hand's thought.

Course leader

Howard Read is a freelance illustrator and a graduate of the Royal College of Art. He teaches on the BA Graphic Design course at Central Saint Martins.

Rebeca Font is an architect graduated at Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB-UPC) with her own a

Target group

This course is open to anybody aiming to have a great experience observing, living and drawing Barcelona's various landscapes, buildings, streets and people. Appealing to beginners, students, architects, designers, the course will provide tools to create your own travel, professional or personal sketch-book.

Course aim

Participants of this course will have an intensive experience on drawing, understood as the major communicative media in creative disciplines. They will get to understand how to express and explain their relation with the environment, history and culture through a specific knowledge of their own communicative capacities. Finally, they will have a complete sketchbook that will be the result of their conception of architecture, space and people, and the way they have reached to represent them.


Fee info

GBP 1400: tuition fee only is shown

accommodation, travel, insurance and living expenses are not included.