Watercolour on Location




Enrollment to this course is now closed. It will be available again in 2020

Join the mailing list for updates and free intro lessons



What do you struggle with when sketching on location with watercolour?

This course has been built in response to the real struggles of the participants of SketchingNow courses.

It will address the following issues:

  • knowing how to start sketching a complex scene, how to find a story (a focal point) and how to decide what to leave out
  • improving colour and value (including shadows, temperature, capturing light and more)
  • ways of learning how to sketch various elements such as trees, skies, water
  • how to work out whether to start with line or wash and how to make watercolour decisions as you work
  • the logistics of urban sketching with watercolour – managing your palette and water etc. finding places to sit.



Watercolour on Location includes:

  • 4 in-depth lessons plus an additional bonus lesson recording a full sketching day with multiple demos
  • 2 in-depth reviews of selected students work
  • over 10 hours of video (this is a full video course)
  • extensive downloadable PDF handout of all lesson content
  • private classroom for sharing work and discussions with others
  • weekly course with lots of teacher interaction
  • lifetime access to all course content and any further updates
  • full transcripts for all video lessons.

Who is the course for?

Watercolour on Location has been designed for sketchers with some experience – with some general drawing and watercolour skills. It’s built upon the concepts, skills and techniques developed in other SketchingNow courses – including Foundations, Edges and Watercolour.

In order to explore some new fun topics such as composition, mastering values, and capturing light, we need to have a working knowledge of how to draw basic scenes, look for important edges, and to know how to use our watercolour palette.

If you need instruction (or a brush-up) on the following topics, I would recommend you check out the Watercolour course before September:

  • knowing how to mix watery, juicy and pasty washes
  • knowing how to layer (glazing) and work wet (wet in wet)
  • understanding basic colour theory and mixing – achieving vibrant mixes and creating watercolour magic
  • having your own palette of colours which suits your sketching at the moment
  • knowing the difference between working from light to dark and starting with the darks.

Why is this course special?


  • step by step lessons, each lesson building on the previous
  • in-depth content – the concepts are clearly explained and then applied to different ways of working
  • specific assignments each lesson designed to explain the concept
  • quality video demonstrations of indoor and out on location sketches
  • a variety of indoor exercises each lesson so you have a chance to really understand the principles before going out on location.

How will the course work?

The course will be run through a private specially designed classroom site for all lessons, sharing of homework and discussions

  • A new lesson will be released each week starting from 4 Sept for 7 weeks
  • Questions on each lesson will be answered in the Classroom
  • All homework submitted to the classroom during the week of the lesson will be reviewed and then summarised in a weekly Feedback post
  • Lifetime access to course and all future updates.

What each lesson contains

1. In-depth instruction with optional downloadable pdf of the whole lesson.

Each lesson contains a main concept that will be

  • Clearly explained with notated diagrams and short demos
  • Demonstrated by a specific exercise – either in studio or out on location
  • Applied and expanded upon by use of examples from my sketchbooks over the years – from simple applications to more complex (perfect for the ‘seasoned sketchers’!)
  • Multiple assignments. A few indoor exercises to explain the concepts and one outdoor exercise.


2. Feedback posts
At the end of each week I will put together an additional post that summarises the weeks’ activities and questions. Addressing common issues via notated diagrams/sketches and bullet points for the main queries. This is the most efficient way of sharing my feedback with the whole class, so everyone can benefit.


3. Review weeks
In weeks 3 and 7 there will be a detailed review of a selection of sketches submitted into the classroom. This is a great way to tie together the concepts from the course.


4. Teacher Interaction

  • All questions about lesson content will be answered on a weekly basis.
  • Instead of critiques on individual work each week a special feedback post (published on Tuesday) addressing the major questions and issues from each week’s lesson. This way the instruction will be more efficiently shared with the whole group.

Course Outline

1. Selection and Design
– How to select a story of a complex scene
– How to refine your story and position it on the page

2. Value and Colour
– How to create value studies and map light and dark
– How to convert value studies to watercolour
– How to mix vibrant shadow colours
– How to use colour temperature and dominance

3. Elements and Texture
– How to sketch anything!
– Pages from Liz’s Elements sketchbook
– How to control texture

4. Making Decisions
– How to start and decide what approach to use
– How to solve watercolour problems when sketching complex scenes
– How to make decisions on the fly

5. Logistics of Urban Sketching
– Follow Liz around for a day of non-top sketching – lots of demos and tips for sketching on location.


There is no set materials list for this course but these are the minimum requirements:

  • your normal watercolour kit
  • your normal brush
  • your normal sketchbook
  • a pen with permanent ink (a fineliner or fountain pen)

The only special recommendation for this course is to have some markers to create a 5 step-value scale. Recommended markers are Pitt Artist Pens (Warm Grey 272, 273, 274 and Black 199) or Tombow (N75, N65, N45, N15). A minimal marker option would be to purchase a black marker and a mid-grey water-soluble marker. Tombow N65 or Ecoline 718. You can achieve the 3 greys by layering it to create dark grey and adding water to get light grey. More information in the Materials List below.


Download PDF Materials List


Enrollment to this course is now closed. It will be available again in 2020

Join the mailing list for updates and free intro lessons