Foundations
Essential skills that every sketcher should have

Foundations

Build a solid foundation for your own sketching journey by learning fundamental observational skills and the basics of urban sketching.

Does this sound like you?

“I want to start sketching but don’t know where to start”

“My sketches don’t look right but I don’t know what’s wrong”

“I can draw objects at home but feel overwhelmed when I go out on location” 

“I want my sketches to be more accurate but still feel lively and fun”

 

Foundations has been designed to address these common struggles

 
 

Group Self-Paced Version

starting 19 June 2024

 

Work through the course in 12 weeks with an inspiring group of sketchers from around the world

 

Why learn Foundations?

The secret to becoming a confident urban sketcher is to be well-grounded in the three ways of visual thinking: feeling edges, abstracting shapes and constructing volumes.

The in-depth instruction in Foundations will give you a system to follow and will help you to see the world differently, in a way that will make it much easier to sketch.

So whether you are starting out or simply want to improve and sketch faster, there is plenty in this course for you.

In the Foundations course you will learn how to:

– build a solid foundation with all the essential skills you need to start sketching
– develop the most effective techniques for sketching out on location regardless of the subject matter
– improve your ability to sketch faster and more spontaneously

You’ll be part of an inspiring community of sketchers from around the world who will share their unique styles. You’ll never lack inspiration!

You can use these techniques for any subject matter, for a variety of different sketching styles and any level of experience. Anyone can learn these essential sketching skills!

Who is the course for?
Foundations is designed for people of all levels of drawing experience - from beginners to more seasoned sketchers who want their work to be looser.
JUST STARTED SKETCHING?
If you are a beginner, it will give you the essential skills to start recording the world around you on the page.
BEEN SKETCHING FOR A WHILE?
If you are a seasoned sketcher, revisiting the basics is always healthy for your development as an artist. I will be giving you special challenges and encouragement to test new ideas.
WANTING TO SKETCH MORE QUICKLY?
This course will also help those who want to ‘speed up’ their sketching – a more structured way of visual thinking certainly helps the ability to work faster.
The main focus of Foundations is developing essential observational and drawing skills. This is not a dedicated watercolour technique class but does contain lots of tips to get you started using watercolour and/or watercolour pencils.

See Watercolour for more specific lessons on watercolour.
How will the course work?

Start today and work at your own pace

  • All lessons are available when you purchase the course so you can work through the lessons at your own pace
  • Share your work and interact with other students inside the custom-designed classroom galleries and forum
  • Ask Liz questions related to the course in the dedicated question section for each lesson.

Work through the course with a group

  • Each year Liz hosts a number of Group Self-paced or Live Versions for selected courses.
  • A Group Self-paced Version allows you to work through the lessons as a group with weekly emails to prompt you to move onto the next lesson.
  • A Live Version will include bonus live teaching sessions with Liz  (private YouTube Livestreams) as you work through the lessons with a group.
  • If you’ve purchased the course at any time you can join these group events for free. See FAQ below for more details

Group Self-Paced Version starting 19 June 2024 – find out more here

Ready to build a solid foundation for your sketching?
How you'll learn
Custom-designed classroom
Interactive Livestreams
How you'll learn
  • over 20 hours of step-by-step video lessons, each lesson building on the previous, so you can make steady progress in a systematic way
  • theory sections that clearly explain the essential concepts so that you can apply them to your own style and way of working
  • downloadable PDF handout so you can quickly review the key elements of each lesson when you need it
  • specific assignments designed so that you really understand and know how to use the concepts from the lesson – these can be done from the comfort of home, from photos, or out on location
  • multiple examples from Liz’s sketchbooks explaining how to use the concepts
  • bonus material showing how to apply the concepts in more intermediate ways so that you can continue to improve your sketch every time you go through the course.
Custom-designed classroom
  • specially designed private classroom with dedicated assignment galleries and forum so that you can connect with and be inspired by other sketchers from around the world who are working alongside you
  • ability to ask Liz questions about the lessons you are working through so you can get help when you need it
  • livestreams during Live Versions – which will include reviews of student’s work, mini demos, bonus material and a chance to have your questions answered in real-time
  • full transcripts for all video lessons so you can easily follow along
  • lifetime access to all course content and any future Group Events and bonus material so you can continue to learn as your skills grow
Interactive Livestreams
  • A very special part of SketchingNow courses is the interactive livestreams that are hosted during Live Versions. These live Q&A sessions include a review of work posted in the classroom, additional demos and a chance to get all your sketching questions answered in real-time!
  • Live Versions only occur once every 1-2 years however replays of previous livestreams are available inside the classroom.

 

"As someone who is entirely self-taught, what I valued most was the way Foundations made us stop and think about what we were doing, and how it related to each core concept. This helped me understand why some things are not working for me and enabled me to change my technique."

Jules
“I always thought that sketching was only about getting desired lines with pen on paper. Now I've learnt that a huge percentage of sketching is about seeing properly! I’m only at lesson 3, and I'm already very thankful for this shift in my understanding.“

Adrian
“During the latter weeks of Foundations, I realized I’d made significant progress internalizing concepts that I’d been introduced to during Watercolor on Location and Buildings. It’s thrilling to see my progress and sketching has become much more fun, with healthy evaluation instead of harsh self-judgment.”

Susanna
"What a wonderful gift of community you have given all of us! The fact that we were able to open our most inner selves and share with a like-minded community is truly a gift I will always treasure.

Your creation of this community has allowed us to take chances, explore new ideas and lend each other a helping hand, is a true gift!!"

Heather
Course Outline
Part 1: Keeping a sketchbook and building a kit
2 weeks
- Why keep a sketchbook
- How to get to know (and love) your materials and build a kit that suits the way you want to sketch
Each week contains:
Theory
Indoor Demo
Outdoor Demo
Gallery (examples from Liz's sketchbooks)
Exercises
Questions, Feedback and Takeaways
Bonus Material
Livestream replays from previous Live Versions
Part 2: Learning to see the world differently
3 weeks
Three ways of seeing and thinking visually:

- Feeling Edges: how to see edges and convert them to lines on the page. Ways of improving eye and hand coordination, and how to prioritise the edges you see
- Abstracting Shapes: how to simplify what we see into an abstract shape of colour, how shapes add form and tone to sketches
- Constructing Volumes: how to ‘see-through’ objects to understand visually the underlying volumes and 3D forms, how to construct these using edges and shapes.

Each week contains:
Theory
Indoor Demo
Outdoor Demo
Gallery (examples from Liz's sketchbooks)
Exercises
Questions, Feedback and Takeaways
Bonus Material
Livestream replays from previous Live Versions
Part 3: How to start a sketch – whether to use pencil first and how to sight measure
3 weeks
- Ways of starting and developing your sketch depending on time and subject matter
- To set up (using pencil) or not?
- How much setup to do and different tools that can be used.
- My minimal setup rule

Each week contains:
Theory
Indoor Demo
Outdoor Demo
Gallery (examples from Liz's sketchbooks)
Exercises
Questions, Feedback and Takeaways
Bonus Material
Livestream replays from previous Live Versions
Part 4: Playing with Line and Colour
1 week
- How to decide what to draw in ink and what details to do with paint.

This week contains:
Theory
Indoor Demo
Outdoor Demo
Gallery (examples from Liz's sketchbooks)
Exercises
Questions, Feedback and Takeaways
Bonus Material
Livestream replays from previous Live Versions
Part 5: Urban Sketching Essentials (sketching on location)
3 weeks
- Basic approaches to composition
– How to fit your drawing on the page, ways of using a viewfinder and different approaches to using the rule of thirds in a spontaneous way out on location.
- How to simplify a complex scene, create a strong focus and tell a story about where you are.
- How to work in a spontaneous way from a focus and let the sketch develop itself.

Each week contains:
Theory
Indoor Demo
Outdoor Demo
Gallery (examples from Liz's sketchbooks)
Exercises
Questions, Feedback and Takeaways
Bonus Material
Livestream replays from previous Live Versions
Part 6: Reviewing your own work
1 week
- How to become your own teacher and learn from Liz’s review of other students’ work.

SketchingNow courses have been designed to build on each other so you will see the most progress in your own sketching by working through them in a logical order.

 

Buy Foundations as a standalone course or buy the Sketch Your Life bundle and save!

 

Group Self-Paced Version

starting 19 June 2024

 

Work through the course in 12 weeks with an inspiring group of sketchers from around the world

 

Foundations Course
In Foundations
  • Develop fundamental observational skills needed to draw anything
  • Learn the basics of sketching with ink and watercolour (plus watercolour pencil too!)
  • Sketch objects at home and simple scenes out on location
  • Explore different ways of sketching so that you can start developing your own style
  • Use these techniques to make your work more lively and spontaneous
$ 199 USD
Sketch Your Life Bundle
In Foundations
  • Develop fundamental observational skills needed to draw anything
  • Learn the basics of sketching with ink and watercolour (plus watercolour pencil too!)
  • Sketch objects at home and simple scenes out on location
  • Explore different ways of sketching so that you can start developing your own style
  • Use these techniques to make your work more lively and spontaneous
PLUS
In Watercolour
  • Master the basics of watercolour
  • Learn to control the water in your brush and how to create consistently lively washes
In Sketchbook Design
  • Design beautiful layouts for every page in your sketchbook
  • Add text and elements to elevate your pages regardless of how happy you were with the sketch
$ 597 USD $ 497 USD

Money back guarantee

We offer a money 30-day back guarantee for SketchingNow courses. If you are unhappy with the course for any reason, let us know and we will refund your payment within the first 30 days of the course.

Frequently Asked Questions
What materials do I need for Foundations?
As this is a concepts course rather than a technique class for a specific medium there are no specific requirements – you are free to use whatever you would like.

The basic requirements :
– a medium pencil (B or 2B)
– a permanent fineliner pen
– some form of colour (watercolour pencils or watercolour paint or coloured pencils or markers)
– paper suitable for your choice of medium (sketchbook rather than loose sheets is encouraged)

I will be demonstrating the use of a range of materials – mostly ink, watercolour and watercolour pencils and working in a sketchbook.

Please do not feel there is any need to buy new materials to match mine. I would prefer that you really test and get to know what you already have before you rush out and spend up.

SketchingNow Foundations Materials List downloadable PDF
Is the course live or pre-recorded?
The course contains over 20 hours of pre-recorded videos which can be watched at any time.

During a Live Version (which only happens every 12-24 months) there will be bonus livestreams. Replays of previous livestreams are available in the classoom.
What do I need to know about the June 2024 Group Self-Paced Version?
Specific dates and the structure of the June 2024 Group Self-Paced Version can be found here
Can I work through the course at my own pace?
Yes! All SketchingNow courses are available as self-paced courses at all times. All you have to do is signup and you can start working through the lessons straight away!

- You have full access to all lessons on enrollment within the custom-built SketchingNow classroom.
- You can interact with fellow students inside the classroom, comment on each other’s work in the homework galleries and discuss all kinds of art topics within the forum.
- You can ask Liz questions related to the course in the dedicated question section for each lesson.
- If you want some accountability in working through the lessons, you can sign up to receive weekly lesson reminder emails. Each week you will receive a new email to prompt you to move on to the next part of the course.
- You have full access to all lessons at the time of enrollment and free access to all future Group Self-paced and Live Versions for that course.
What is a Group Self-paced version of Foundations?
Group Self-Paced Versions occur within specific courses each year. There is no extra charge to participate.

- From time to time Liz will suggest a specific course to work through in preparation for an upcoming Live Version.
- She will suggest a start date and a schedule for going through the course. You'll get the benefit of working through the exercises together and getting lots of helpful and supportive comments from the group.
- You can ask Liz questions related to the course in the dedicated question section for each lesson.
- If you have enrolled for the specific course previously, you can join a Group Self-paced version of that course for free.
What is a Live Version?
Live Versions are special events that occur within specific courses each year. There is no extra charge to participate.

- Every year Liz chooses a few SketchingNow courses to go through with a group. Together we work through the lessons and keep each other motivated and inspired!
- You will get the benefit of working through the exercises together and getting lots of helpful and supportive comments from the group.
- Each week you'ill be prompted to move on to the next section of the course and participate in bonus live streams where you can ask questions, see reviews of selected work from the classroom and hang out with the group.
- Every livestream will have unique discussions and demonstrations related to the current lesson and there will be lots of opportunities to ask Liz questions in real-time.
- Livestreams will be held at alternating time slots to accommodate people in all time zones and replays will be available in the classroom after the event.
- Liz will be in the classroom regularly looking at the work uploaded and answering questions.
- If you have enrolled for the specific course previously, you can join any Live Version of that course for free
- If you get behind during the Live version, you can finish off the lessons at any time.
Do I need to have any special social media accounts?
Everything you need to access the lessons, post homework and interact with others is contained within the SketchingNow classroom.

The only exception are the Livestreams (during Live Versions) which will occur on Youtube. A YouTube account is needed to interact with the live chat but without it you can still watch the livestream and send your questions via email. Replays will be available.
Will Foundations help me develop my own style?
It’s really important to have confidence in your own personal expression and acceptance of your own mark-making. But it’s hard to develop these if all you do is follow demo-based art classes.

Foundations is a concept-based course designed to help you really understand the essential skills and at the same time develop your own style and preferences. Once you become more comfortable with your own preferences and style the whole creative journey will become so much more fun!
I’ve been sketching for a while… will Foundations be too basic for me?
Even though it’s a course designed for beginners there is a lot of content for more seasoned sketchers. Many of the things we struggle with when sketching complex scenes can be solved by sharpening our foundational observational skills.

Lots of bonus material has been added to the course showing how to use the core Foundations concepts in more advanced sketches.

Still deciding whether Foundations is a right fit for you?

Sign up here for three free Intro Lessons.