Space Oddities – Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries in Barcelona

Contact: for information and a registration form.a4-poster_pysb_bcn_2017_01Poblenou is one of the most interesting areas in Barcelona city, it is an extensive neighborhood of Barcelona (Sant Martí district) that borders to the Mediterranean sea to the south and many others districts, like the Eixample, Horta-Guinardó and Sant Andreu. Its layout was designed by Ildefons Cerdà, following the same characteristics of the Eixample similar to the Paris remodelling. Nevertheless this area instead of becoming residential like the Eixample it was formerly an industrial area. Now it is a mix of both, you can find wonderful and modern buildings like Torre Agbar, designed by Jean Nouvel, and you can also found wonderful beauties like old fashion factories, earning it its sobriquet of the Catalonian Manchester.

From our centrally located base (the DHUB Museum) we will explore BCN’s Poblenou in detail with six different locations for the 3 day workshop and you would be experiencing them all, from 22@ area, la Rambla del Poblenou, the Mercat dels Encants, the AGBAR tower, Can Framis Museum and many more.

captura-de-pantalla-2017-01-04-a-les-16-15-33Visit map with all the locations

Join Urban Sketchers Isabel Carmona, Swasky and Lapin for 3 full days workshop that will get you to know Barcelona intimately and to develop your personal urban sketching techniques.

The workshop will be hosted at the DHUB Museum at the “El Clot-Josep Benet” Library where we will start and end each day and we will put up a developing exhibition of our the work created during each day in their gallery space.

Main Theme:

Architecture and space. How do we represent space? Drawing is a matter of believes, do you believe in perspective?

It will be fun but hard work, as you will be experimenting with perspective and spatial representation all the  time, learning about different ways of drawing what you see from different viewpoints, some more traditional than others. There are multiple viewpoints in urban sketching.

There will be multiple opportunities to try out various sketching techniques without fear, and we will share the work we do and discuss our findings intensely.

Each of the instructors will explore different ways of representing space in urban sketching.

The wider view   (Isabel)

On choosing views and scenes to draw and paint we will look at wide panoramas inside and outside and explore various ways of tackling these views from focusing and noticing the space between objects to fish eyes views, “Escher” style, or simply taking a line for a walk.

Isabel’s theme is panoramic views and we will have fun testing various methods of representing space:  figure/ground, light/shade, layers/planes, noticing the space between objects.


We will use a mixture of quick sketches to represent what you see in different ways, synthesizing the view’s components and testing what works for you.   We will explore what happens when we want to represent a wide perspective, 180 degrees around us and notice how suddenly things “fit” in the drawn space.

Techniques used will include pen, colour line and colour washes, the order you use them on also changes how you focus your sketch. Be prepared to experiment and don’t worry if you have not worked with perspective before or you have been daunted by it – this is where you can play with it and lose your fears.


Bending the floor (Swasky)

Space has been one of the main topics in history of representation in arts. Human being has always tried to represent reality. Along the art history we can find multiple ways of this “space oddities”. What I want to try is make attendees aware that probably most of them are as effective as the common and accepted conic perspective. These are paths already opened but I have not revisited, and I want to go through them again, recovering memories that we have buried deep in our mind. As I have written before space is a huge worry but most of the twentieth art movements answered already with plenty of solutions. We are going to experiment with the idea of how our sight works. Keeping this idea of space recreation in mind we will start to experiment it.

After my experience in Manchester USk Symposium, I have made some little changes in some exercises splitting up the process  and I have emphasize the work we do with the idea of representing space through conventions.


All you can see! (Lapin)

Our way to represent the space since « Renacimiento » is conditioned to a maximum 30º viewing angle, which is very limited compared to what we are experiencing while sitting in a place, turning the head, and looking up and down. That’s how I started sketching some curvilinear perspective in a very intuitive way, exploring how to represent a scene as in a sphere or as in a cylinder.

But I’m also used to fit the elements of a scene into the page, making some distortions, or adding the soundtracks of what I’m hearing while sketching, from the people that are talking to me, to the ringing bells from the church behind, or music of a car passing by…

I have lived in Poblenou for 9 years, and witnessed some big changes during that time.

That’s why I would like to focus my workshop on documenting the big evolution of the district during the past years. Poblenou was called the spanish Manchester, and was the industrial area of Barcelona. Nowaday, most of the factories are crushed down and a few renovated, to build some modern buildings, houses, schools or foundations instead.

During the past years, I dedicate my spare time to sketch this transition.


Learning goals

  • Pushing participants out of their comfort zone, at their own level. From beginners starting to sketch to more confident participants, we aim to teach you something new and push you outside your boundaries, helping you to experiment.
  • Experiment with different perspective  techniques within a live sketch situation, helping you find your own self expression.
  • Making you confident to represent the surrounding space, however complex.
  • Using and trying different approaches – line drawing with pens and pencils, colour in different media.
  • Making you think about how do you represent what you see and to develop your own way of representing it in colour (and line) with confidence.
  • Losing the fear to draw space and people and stories within it.

Workshop Schedule

Wednesday 12th April 2017

5 pm – 8 pm Welcome and introduction: “perspective games”

Thursday 13th April 2017

10am – 11am   Welcome at the HUB cafeteria

11am – 2pm     Isa,Lapin and Swasky group workshops

2 – 3:30pm       Lunch

3:30 – 6:30pm Isa, Lapin and Swasky group workshops

6:30 – 7:30pm Day review

Friday 14th April 2017

10am – 11am    Welcome at the HUB cafeteria

11am – 2pm     Isa,Lapin and Swasky group workshops

2 – 3:30pm       Lunch

3:30 – 6:30pm Isa, Lapin and Swasky group workshops

6:30 – 7:30pm Day review

Saturday 15th April 2017

10am – 11am    Welcome at the HUB cafeteria

11am – 2pm      Isa,Lapin and Swasky group workshops

2 – 3:30pm       Lunch

3:30 – 6:30pm Isa, Lapin and Swasky group workshops

6:30 – 7:30pm Day review

Sunday 16th April 2017

10 am – Sharing of sketchbooks

11 am – Open Sketchcrawl in Barcelona – route to be confirmed


30 attendees maximum, 18 minimum. Any level of drawing experience is welcome


You need to arrange your own accommodation.

Check the map of the workshop here – there are a few hotels in walking distance

Supply list

A list will be provided for participants – generally bring what you normally draw with.

Registration fee

£ 225 – (£180 concessions – 20% discount for students  or unwaged -with proof of concession status)or if paying in Euros 275 Euros (220 Euros concessions).

To book: e-mail: for a registration form

Cancellation policy: All fees are fully refundable if cancelled prior to 27th March 2017. If cancelled after 27 March, a £25 cancellation fee (30 Euros) will be retained. In the event of too few registrants, all monies will be refunded.

Workshop map

Barcelona Poblenou PYSB Workshop Map

Facebook Event: Link to our Facebook event here


About the instructors

This workshop combines the abilities of:



Isabel CarmonaLapin and Swasky

You can read their short biographies by following the links above