Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco

I spent a weekend in Oakland and every morning began with a bagel at Boichik Bagels. A short sketch session often accompanied pickup. I’m going back soon, I have so many questions about bagels and how they’re made and what makes some magical and others not so much…

Here’s a sketch from Land’s End after a visit to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. I’m so glad they left the bridge with its orange-red undercoat of paint and didn’t add the yellow and black paint they planned to add on.

And some bits of visual magic from that day.

A good day in San Francisco often ends at Green Apples Books. After I’d collected a good-sized pile of books, I sat down to a sketch, while the kids kept browsing.

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That waterfall we sketched together…

If you joined in to paint that waterfall with me last week, thank you. Here is the finished sketch.

And to watch the process ( and listen to me talk non-stop 🙂 ) you can go here, but skip past the first 4.5 minutes which I spend trying to figure some technical stuff out.

I love doing this sort of relaxed demo/sketch-together session, but I missed that I couldn’t chat with everyone who sketched along. If you were one of those who did, thank you, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

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Come Sketch Along Online Tomorrow!

Just a quick note here to say that tomorrow, at 10 am, Pacific Time, I’ll be on InstaLive and you can join me. This isn’t a class, it’s just an opportunity to sketch together and chat.

I did the sketch in this image in minutes at Secret Falls in the Grand Tetons. But I also took a photo of it so I could do a longer study later.

And that’s what I’ll do tomorrow.: Use the photo below and do another sketch. If you download it and join me, you can sketch your version of it too!

I’ll have my camera turned on my book as I sketch but we can chat. We can talk anything, really: our shared love of sketching, our obsession over supplies, what it’s been like to make art this year, what our challenges have been with creativity and motivation…

So how do you join in? if you don’t already, follow me on Instagram. And just bring along this photo reference, your sketchbook and favorite supplies and log in to Instagram. You’ll see me go live at 10am and I’ll be there about 45 minutes. Can’t join in? Download the image, make a sketch, tag me so I can see it, and send in a question right here if you wish.

Hope to “see” you on Friday, it’s been a long time since I did one of these!


ps: If you’re in the mood for an online workshop, this one is almost full:
SKETCHING VIGNETTES is for anyone who wants to learn how to see and simplify busy scenes and who believes they can’t draw people. In this 2.5 hour workshop, you’ll do both: draw little vignettes from complex scenes and draw people, all without any prior knowledge. And if you can’t attend in person, the workshop will be recorded and available for 4 weeks after, so you can watch, follow along and “attend” it on your own time too. Sign up and read more here.

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Persimmon: Wait There’s More?

Thought I’d be done with the persimmon after this post and this one? Not a chance! I have a big tray full of persimmon ripening, so I sketched them all. When I layer on stuff, often those first layers are almost completely hidden by the end. But I know they’re there underneath everything else I piled on and that makes me happy.

Here is that piece in three stages. A pretty tame-looking start, looking at contours, getting a feel for the roundness of those persimmons.

Then came lots of stuff: Ink, pencil, pen, crayons and acrylic markers were in the mix.

And here is where it landed.

I had a blast working on this. Can you tell?

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Persimmon: Going Big

I did a bunch of studies of persimmon that I posted yesterday. They’re all little studies, but you can see I am drawing the fruit much bigger than life-size.

That’s because these were all studies for a bigger piece, I’ve been wanting to work on. This one is painted on wood panel primed with watercolor ground. It was fun to work big and I mixed in lots of media for this piece. Here are some progress shots of it.

Watercolor and colored ink goes into that first layer. My chai cup sits dangerously close to the piece, closer than my water container which is out of the picture.

Drawing something much bigger than it is truly changes how you look at it. Every bump in its shape and every speck on it is accentuated and becomes special. I’m doing more in this series soon, it was too much fun to stop at just one!

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Persimmon Season Begins

For me, persimmon season doesn’t start until Gay Kraeger says the fruit on her trees is ready to be sketched.

Here are two sketches from my visit to her wonderful orchard in the Santa Cruz mountains.

This next sketch is of her apple tree (with the green leaves and the sweetest apples) and the orange and yellow leaves and fruit of the persimmon tree just behind it. Hidden among the trees are Gay, her family of artists and Nina, all drawing and painting.

I came home with lots of persimmons, as always. Here are a bunch of little studies of this glorious orange fruit.

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Gift Yourself an In-Person Workshop!

If workshops are not your thing, skip to the end of this post for the little fun stuff including a save-the-date to draw together on Instalive. But if they are, I want to tell you about two in-person, fully immersive workshops I am super-excited to be a part of! They’re both in 2022, and are very different workshops, so read on to see what works for you. (also, feel free to ask questions about them if you have any!)

An Art Retreat with Suhita Shirodkar, Uma Kelkar and Nina Khashchina

Feb 11-13, 2022

This 2-day immersive workshop in California is based on mark-making, textures and printmaking. We will spend all weekend experimenting with different techniques brought to you by your three instructors and will learn techniques you can incorporate back into your practice, be that sketchbooking, plein air painting, urban sketching or a studio practice.

Here’s a short blurb, but really you’re going to want to read more details at the link below and sign up soon. We announced this one to our mailing lists first, so it’s filling up nicely…

Are you ready to get away on a creative break without getting too far away? Ready to put to paper that bottled up creativity and make art with like-minded people?  We have just the answer for you. Join Uma Kelkar, Suhita Shirodkar and Nina Khashchina on a creative all-inclusive weekend:  instruction, supplies, lodging and food are all included when you join us on this retreat. 

Read all details and sign up here:



4 INTERNATIONAL URBAN SKETCHING INSTRUCTORS, ONE LOCATION, 5 DAYS OF URBAN SKETCHING. Don’t miss this opportunity to access these fantastic instructors close to home!


URBAN SKETCHERS INTERNATIONAL: Spirited Color, Line, and Texture
An Urban Sketching workshop with with Paul Wang, Maru Godas, Santi Salles and Suhita Shirodkar

August 29-Sept 2, 2022

It’s always hard to access all those fantastic international sketches you follow, so they’re coming to the USA to teach together in ONE LOCATION for FIVE WHOLE DAYS. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to do an immersive 5 days learning from them!

Heres a short blurb and a link to where you can read more and sign up,

Not ready to book a trip out of the country yet? Don’t miss this unique opportunity to spend a week on Madeline Island with 4 international urban sketchers right here in the USA. Santi Salles and Maru Godas from Spain and Paul Wang from Singapore will join Suhita Shirodkar in this 4-instructor, 5 day workshop. Each of these internationally renowned sketchers has a distinct style and technique, yet they share a common love for exciting and experimental urban sketching!

Dates: All day including nightly talks from Monday August 29 to Friday Sept 2nd , 2022
Registration open NOW! This is a workshop you want to gift yourself!

Read all details and sign up here:



And if those are both out of budget or hard ot travel to, all my workshops including online ones are always listed here: https://sketchaway.wordpress.com/workshops/

But if you want to hear about them before anyone else does ( and recieve monthly sketching tips too) then you should sign up for my montly newsletter here:
Sign up for a montly newsletter with sketching tips.

This week only, my ETSY shop has it’s deepest discount of the year: 20% off and free shipping within the United States until this Sunday.

And before I wrap up this post, Save the Date to draw together in an Instalive session. This costs nothing, all you do is follow me on instagram. I’ll post an image the day before for us all to use and on December 3rd at 10am Pacific Time, we’ll draw together for 45 minutes to an hour. All you need to do is be following me beforehand, and you’ll see the session go live on instagram. Bring your photo reference , we’ll draw together and share comments and questions in the chat! I’m @suhitasketch on Instagram.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend. Stay safe, Stay warm.

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Fall Vignettes from the Farmers’ Market

Now that it’s all, my local farmers’ market is a good bit quieter. But it still runs, all year round, twice a week.

This was the market about three weeks ago, still quite summery.

But when the Silva’s Orchard apple stand shows up, you know it’s fall.

Still lots to draw, with all the root vegetables and peppers that have showed up.

If you’re in a colder place than I am, perhaps the markets are all done for the season, and will only be back in spring. And maybe you’ll want to visit then and sketch them through the spring and summer?

I enjoyed running this online workshop, Sketching Vignettes, a couple of weeks ago. And since both sessions filed up so quickly, I’ve opened a 3rd session for everyone that missed out. Want to join us? Read on.

NOTE: This is NOT an urban sketching workshop, but the skills you learn are transferrable to working on location.

Learn to Sketch Fearlessly by Simplifying a Busy Scene

Saturday, December 11th, 7am–9:30am Pacific Time

When you sketch on location, are you overwhelmed by all that you see? Do you struggle to simplify the scene before you? Have you been afraid to dive in and sketch the subject because it involves people? In this online workshop, themed around a Farmers’ Market, you will learn to sketch quick vignettes that capture the energy and essence of a place and its people.

I will share skills designed for and transferrable to working on location, including composing vignettes and thinking in visual stories. You will learn to draw sketches fearlessly, regardless of subject matter, and get tips on how to begin sketching people.

I have only a few more seats open in this workshop. Click here to sign up and join in!

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Little Stuff

Somedays I draw big oak trees, other days it’s little stuff like acorns.

The acorns and other random little treasures live in bowls around my studio. They’re perfect subjects for when the urge to sketch a small something hits me but I don’t want to spend forever debating what to draw.

Here’s another small sketch, garden gloves, and the last of the cherry tomatoes.

This was sketched standing around with Nina, watching her neighbors chickens.

Sometimes I feel like those chickens packing away at my paper with a pencil or pen. Some days the pecking comes together to form a bigger picture. Some days, I just enjoy the mark-making.

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A few wild trees

In the last 18 months of drawing more in nature than I’ve ever drawn before, I’ve come to love drawing trees. In them, I can see the same gesture and energy that I love so much in drawing action-filled scenes.

These oak trees at my local park are thin on leaves just now and you can follow the sense of upward motion through the trunk and branches.

I’m not sure I would have ever chosen to sketch this scene if I were looking at it in a photograph. But I was parked here for a half-hour and the breeze was rustling the leaves. That bit of movement and shimmer made for the higgledy-piggledy line I used to describe their forms.

The birches below are in a friend’s front yard, right by a big picture window, so I can sit inside in the warmth of her home and draw them.

At the end of a hike, my niece and I plonked down on the trail for a sketch of the manzanitas. That’s us and our sketches, two interpretations of the same tree, hers in colored pencil, mine in crayon.

Here’s a closeup of the layers of marks that come together to make that tree.

I know a few artists that have trees they draw over and over.
Shari Blaukopf draws this tree in the fall every year. Even in her ballpoint pen sketch, I recognize that tree and know it is a mad burst of yellow right now.
Tina Koyama has a trees-and-wires series that pops up in her feed regularly.
Liz Steel has been drawing trees everyday lately.
Debbie MacKinnon immortalized this tree in this piece before it got cut down.

Do you have a favorite tree-sketcher whose work I don’t know? Let me know, I love looking at a wide range of ways to express something.

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