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Saturday, Feb. 24: Gab & Grab

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Lively First Steps Lead to Fun-Filled Workshop

Michele Cooper’s quick wit and lively banter made her Seattle 10x10 workshop: First Steps in Visual Journaling a really fun way to spend Saturday morning. Grand Central Bakery Arcade again served as a perfect meeting place with indoor tables and relatively few early morning customers.

After sharing a few tips about sketching in public, collecting and using memorabilia, and selecting sketchbooks, Michele started with first things first—something everyone could feel comfortable with: letters. “Lettering can be expressive” according to Michele, it’s another opportunity to play and express yourself. She introduced 5 basic styles as seen below.

Next Michele reviewed different tools – pens, pencils, erasers, different sharpies, fountain pens, water brushes, showing how to use each one and allowing students to try out those that were new to them.


“Your sketchbook is your guilt-free zone; a place to play” Michele told students guiding them to select something simple as a second step. “Stay away from  the “P” word (perspective) to begin with. It complicates things too much.”

Michele demonstrated her “six steps to drawing people” using a water brush and crayon d’arche water colors- a simple yet effective way of  drawing people. 

Michele led everyone outside to have students choose items in the environment to create montage drawing. She reviewed the environment pointing out interesting architecture, signage and shapes. She also demonstrated drawing sky shapes to get the basic shapes of buildings in the surroundings.

A bit later, Michele demonstrated “thinking within the box” to draw a car. To wind up we pulled together four turquoise tables, laid down the sketchbooks while Michele pulled out scissors and glue sticks for students to use and gave tips on how to pull the pages together with lettering, memorabilia and color.

Winding up with a group photo at the end, the students, all smiles, laid down their drawings as evidence of what they has soaked in from the fun-filled morning.

And her's my summary of what I learned - simple objects, memoribilia, 6-step people and pulling it all together.  


  1. Excellent report and great sketches, as always! Even an embedded video! I took Michele's workshop last year and still use her method to design a page. I just used it on Saturday at Blue Poppy Day!

  2. Thank you for your kind words and comprehensive review of my workshop, Jane. I love your final sketchbook spread with all the elements of the workshop beautifully composed. It was a perfect day and I hope both local and visiting urban sketchers visit Occidental Square soon for a grand selection for their sketchbook reportage.