I have enjoyed teaching two urban sketching classes this month. My students are enthusiastic, curious, and eager to learn urban sketching techniques. It has been a joy to be with them! I did demos for each group, which included this sketch above in the evening outside our library in Central Park (an indoor gathering area with tropical plants, an amphitheater, seating areas, indoor children’s play area, and waterfall). They wanted to see me sketch something from start to finish, so I chose to sit outside this glass window looking into the library. What caught my eye was the interesting colors and stripes of the flag by the door. I also chose to sketch people, so I could show them how to start with basic shapes and colors, as well as how to edit a scene. Luckily the girls stayed put during the time I was sketching. I think I did the flag first, getting in the lines and shapes, later adding color. I drew quick outlines of the main woman with the gray sweatshirt and quickly sketched the table and chair. I also added a partial view of the girl next to her and the duffel bag on the floor. I did light color washes of watercolor over the figures and flags, and then went in several times to deepen values and colors. A question I have often gotten from students—“What do I do about the background?” For me, it depends on a lot of things…. How much time do I have, and what is the story I am trying to tell. There was a lot in the background behind the girls—-book check-out counters and machines, a pillar, chairs, etc…. Due to time running short and wanting to keep the girls and flag the main focus, I chose to keep the background very simple— I added in a couple lines or so for the glass wall coming in the door and chose to do a loose blue-gray wash with spatters for the background. I like the composition of the very vertical flag on the right, the figures in the middle, and lots of open space. Sometimes, less is really more!