Colour and People PYSB Brussels 2020 – Cancelled

Brussels is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world with over 100 nationalities living there. During this weekend in September, we will explore and sketch its people and architecture and look into its history to understand its diversity and variety. All in all we’ll try to capture this intensity in colour and line.

For prices and how to book: go to the end of the post – here

What will be cover

Light and colour is everywhere (Isabel)

Every place has its own feel for light and colour, unique and personal. Light can affect our mood and what’s more we each experience colour differently.  During this workshop we’ll work intuitively with colour using it to reflect our feel of each place that we visit with fresh eyes. The spaces we’ll visit are busy with architecture and people and we’ll push ourselves to simplify while we record what we see with emotion.

What comes first action or setting? How do we differentiate between them?

In each location, stop and think first and consider the mood, is it crowded, busy, active, solitary or contemplative? 

Start the scene with colour, abstracting shapes and light to give the atmosphere of the space, composing the sketch as you go and summarising in big shapes what you see.

Then, focus on the action(s) – people and moving objects- and find appropriate marks to depict these. 

Finally, express some architectural details that make the place special and review the whole sketch thinking about the light and colour contrast.

As we move around the city, we will work in various scales and speeds, some bigger open spaces or views others intimate moments between observed characters captured on the go.

Flow, relations and layers (rolf)

Drawing is our method to experience places. If we go somewhere, our habit to draw makes us stay and observe, we experience a place’s life, its structure and people, through a period of time and with open senses.

We want to try to record this experience of a place’s life and atmosphere in our drawings. To do so, we need an attempt that deals with the unexpected, that does not aim for a pre-planned composition, keeps our drawing open, but still captures a places specific features.

In this workshop, we want to access this challenge by focusing on three aspects of a drawing process.


We want to deal with the problem of sketching an actually or potentially moving person or group of people. We want to find and automate techniques to do this, so we will be able to achieve a usable capture in limited time, without having our attention fully occupied, so we do not lose contact to the whole scene, we capture.

We will exercise:

  • quick drawings of figures, to loosen our marks and to automate the pen’s movement
  • balance volumes and details, by combining different tools (brush+watercolor, markers and pencils), to capture a figure’s presence quickly and add specific features as needed and achievable.


We will learn methods, to position our captures of different figures or figures and ‘hard structure’ on our sheet, so that a plausible impression of space is evoked and a scene with narrative relations emerges.

We will exercise:

  • the role of our position, especially eye level, on the positioning and scale of elements
  • creating reference points and accurate relations to them, using different measures, to be able to position our fluid captures following the spatial plausible structure of our scene.  


We will allow overlaps of the elements of our image, as this provides the freedom we need, to give an authentic capture of a moving scene. To keep the drawing readable and provide additional atmospheric impression, we will treat these layers differently

We will exercise

  • methods to quickly capture contextual elements (architecture, plants, vehicles) with different tools (lines, masses, colours)

Finally, we will draw full scenes, using all the aspects we practised. We will focus on structuring our drawing process, altering spontaneous fluid capturing with analytic decisions. We will tell the story of our time on a location in our sketch.

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 experiment.
  • Drawing and sketching people within settings, creating stories about the place you experience.
  • Experiment with different techniques and ways of approaching a live sketching people situation, helping you find your own self expression.
  • Using and trying different approaches to drawing people – line drawing with brushes,  marker pens and watercolour pencils, painting with watercolours, light and shade, 
  • Develop your own way of representing what you see in colour with confidence
  • Improving mark making ability – with pen, with brush,
  • Losing the fear to draw people and buildings.
  • Sketching people and their stories as they happen.


Friday 11/09/20

16:30 Welcome at  Cultural Center Bruegel 

17:00 to 17:30 Short intro to the city of Brussels by local Urban Sketchers, leaving at 17:30

17:45 – 20:45 Sketching at Grand and Petit Sablon – Sketching session in two groups one with Rolf and one with Isa.

21:00 Drinks/ Dinner together – location to be confirmed

Saturday 12/09/20

9 to 9:30 Meet at location Brussels historic centre – Cafe Le Petit Choux de Bruxelles on Oude Graanmarkt

9:30 to 12:30 Morning session (two groups) one with Rolf and one with Isa..  Sketching typical streets and food markets

12:30 to 2:30 Lunch – suggested at food market Sint Katelijneplein

2:30 to 5:30 Group change instructor. Afternoon sessions (two groups) with Isa and Rolf . Continue around  Brussels historic centre – meet at Maison du roi (Broodhuis) across from City Hall

6 pm Groups meet for sharing sketchbooks (location tbc)

Sunday 13/09/20

9 to 9:30 Meet up outside CC Bruegel near Flea market

9:30 to 12:30 Morning session (two groups) one with Rolf and one with Isa around flea market and lift to Poelaertplein

12:30 to 2:30 Lunch in small groups around the area and sharing of sketchbooks (at Bruegel CC) with local USK group

2:30 Group photo and departure

Afternoon – optional if staying a bit longer – further sketching and meeting with Brussels group around the Marolles area till 5pm.

NOTE: all locations and meeting points subject to change depending on weather and other reasons so please double check schedule at Welcome meeting and each day’s meeting.

Participant numbers

20 attendees maximum, 15 minimum, any level of experience is welcome

Travel and accommodation

You will need to arrange your own accommodation and travel. To help you decide the area see the map of the workshop below. Suggested sites to look for a good range of accommodation: or 

Travel: in Brussels you will need to use public transport. We will walk a lot but meet at various public transport nodes.

Registration fee

£200 (fees are in GBP)

How to book?

Follow the button link below to buy your ticket. Fill in the participant details at checkout. An automatic confirmation will be sent to you once the purchase is made. e-mail: for information if needed.

Cancellation policy: All fees are refundable if cancelled more than 6 weeks prior to commencement of course (up to 1 August 2020). Bank charges will be deducted for the refund in the case of an attendee cancellation. If cancelled after the 1 August and up to two weeks before the start of the course, a cancellation fee of £50 will be retained. No refund will be possible two weeks before the course.In the event of too few registrants, all monies will be refunded.

Workshop map

You can find the workshop map here 

About the instructors

This workshop combines the abilities of: