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SKETCHBOOK: a creative tool and a way of life that celebrates design and drawing as vital ways to see and value culture, to discover ideas, and to envision a better world.


Workshops in some of the world's most inspirational settings are at the heart of who we are. More than a hobby, travel and sketching are a perfect pairing, like great food and fine wine. When you're sketching, you're no longer a tourist, you're a traveler. The world is your studio, and your sketchbook is your passport. Our workshop guests learn to use sketching as a tool for discovery--to see and to experience places more personally.

Our goal is not for you to draw like anyone else. Our goal is to equip you with eye-opening lessons, techniques, shortcuts and inspiration from my own decades of experience that can help you develop your own style, provide sketching breakthroughs and shave years off your learning curve. Our workshop guests often say we've "given them permission" to be themselves and to enjoy the process. You'll depart with a newfound sense of freedom and confidence that's the foundation for a lifetime of enjoyment and continued growth.

Our currently scheduled workshops are listed below.

Sketching Santa Fe's Sense of Place  April 19-23, 2021

This is a rare opportunity to take your urban sketching skills to the next level in one of America's most unique places. Come and experience for yourself the stunning landscapes, extraordinary light, azure skies, regionally inspired architecture, and fascinating cultural influences that have attracted artists here for centuries. You'll explore the elements and attributes that speak to the authentic character and culture of Santa Fe and its environs, and learn the best sketching techniques to capture them with life and freshness. Jim's workshop--hosted by the renowned Madeline Island School of the Arts--will include daily outings around the central plaza, fascinating historic districts and the surrounding Santa Fe area. There will also be a day trip to sketch iconic spots in Taos, New Mexico.  

See details and register here.

Urban Sketching in Provence at Villa Oliviers  June 6-16, 2021

Experience magical Provence: lavender, vineyards, olive trees, medieval villages, markets, sun-filled landscapes and some of the world's best food and wines. Through on-location sketching, you will discover why the region has been an inspiration for artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, Paul Cezanne and Claude Monet, while documenting your unique impressions in your own creative hand. It will be a cultural and creative experience you will never forget! Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in one of the world’s great places. This will be an enlightening 10 days that will enhance both your on-location sketching skills and your appreciation for the towns, landscapes and culture of this remarkable region of France. 

We're thrilled to be returning to Europe and partnering with Follow Your Senses in Tuscany's Chef Karolina Lenart.  This is an experience not to be missed!

See details and register here.

Urban Sketching Summer Retreat on Madeline Island, Lake Superior  

August 16-20, 2021

This is a unique concept and a rare opportunity! Over five extraordinary days you will work with four renowned urban sketching instructors--Shari Blaukopf, Paul Heaston, Uma Kelkar and James Richards--at the stunning Madeline Island School of the Arts campus in Lake Superior. This site is known for its extraordinary light and color, and offers unlimited sketching opportunities. You'll have group and individual instruction with a different instructor each day from breakfast into late afternoon. Groups are limited to 15 individuals to allow plenty of one-on-one instruction through the course of the day. In the evenings there will be enlightening programs, demos and open discussion over gourmet dinners and wine. The final full day will be devoted to open sketching sessions with all four instructors. Don't miss this chance to take your sketching and painting skills to the next level. See details and register here.

Drawing and Discovery in Tuscany  Lucca, Italy  October 5-15 OR 

October 17-27, 2021

Experience the authentic essence of the towns, villages and countryside of Tuscany, one of the world’s great cultural destinations, through the joy of on-location sketching. Few regions in the world offer such a rich travel experience, and capturing your journey in sketchbooks through pencil, ink and watercolor takes that experience to new heights.  This workshop combines 10 days of sketching instruction and on-location drawing with day trips to extraordinary Tuscan towns and landscapes, gourmet regional foods, wine tastings, optional cooking classes, and even a Puccini concert for a full cultural immersion experience!  The workshop is based in a beautiful 400-year-old villa with stunning panoramic views across the Tuscan countryside.  Jim will conduct group lessons and personal instruction to take your on-location sketching to the next level, while our sketching field trips offer unforgettable experiences that one participant said, "feel like a dream."  

We're thrilled to be returning to Lucca and partnering with Follow Your Senses in Tuscany's Chef Karolina Lenart.  This is an experience not to be missed! See details and register here.

Portovenere, one of the stunning towns visited during the Tuscany workshop.

Comments from workshop clients and participants:

  • "I expected to learn, I expected to eat well, and I expected to experience new things. What I didn't expect was to rediscover that six-year-old boy who loved to draw without judgement...and to find friendships that will last a lifetime." -Professional photographer and workshop participant, Tuscany 2019.
  • "I've attended more workshops than I really care to admit, but this one was different. The memories won't go away. I am basking in a mood of inspiration to draw more and put to use some of the valuable information I learned. I no longer fear using perspective as I did even through years of working as an illustrator. Beyond excellence! I cannot wait to do it again. Anywhere. Anytime." Artist and workshop participant, Tuscany 2019.
  • "It was a great weekend and event--the best we have had in largest measure due to your excellent instruction, nurturing guidance and sense of humor!" -Michigan State University
  • "I loved this workshop, learned so much from James in such a short time. Well planned with clear expectations.  James was excellent at communicating and explaining everything.  I learned a lot more than I anticipated.  This was a great workshop."  -International Urban Sketching Symposium participant
  • "This was by far my favorite workshop, mostly due to Jim's expertly set-up class.  He explains one concept after the other in a clear and understandable way.  There is an easy to follow increase in complexity, which keeps the class challenging and interesting.  Jim was also very able in giving feedback and explaining what and how to improve."   -International Urban Sketching Symposium participant
  • "I would take another workshop with Jim and Patti anytime."   -International Urban Sketching Symposium participant

Invited workshops to date.