Urban Sketching

What is Urban Sketching and what do I need to know as a beginner? Helpful explanations and tricks for beginners and advanced sketchers.


NEW: Mediterranean Sketching Set

Discover the new Mediterranean Sketching Set from Tombow! It includes the best Tombow products and two easy-to-follow sketching videos. And the best part? The exclusive MONO case ensures you can be creative on the go.

To the Sketching Set

To the alley video

To the landscape video

To the landscape tutorial


What is Urban Sketching?

Urban Sketching comes up as a global art movement. The followers of this movement are called Urban Sketchers. Urban Sketchers try with their drawings to show the places and the moments as they see them with their eyes. This is done in everyday places as well as traveling. Urban sketching also sees itself as a kind of counter-movement to fast consumption. A photo is quickly taken, which leads to the fact that one doesn't perceive the moment and the motive with all its details. With Urban Sketching, you try to slow down your life a bit more and enjoy the art you have created. The art movement thrives on the intensive exchange of artworks, which is why they are shared a lot on social media platforms.

How did Urban Sketching come about?

The movement was started in 2007 by journalist and illustrator Gabriel Campanario in Seattle. He launched the online community and quickly realized that more and more artists were starting to share their work on the web, which is why he founded the Urban Sketcher blog back in 2008. There, events of everyday life were presented and shared with journalistic ambition.

What are the techniques for urban sketching?

The best method is "learning by doing". You grab your tools and start drawing. But we still want to give you a few tips to optimize your drawings:

6 Tips for Urban Sketching Beginners!

Small size

Especially for beginners, it is easy to start with an A6 format. You don't fall into perfectionism so quickly with a smaller format and thus concentrate only on the essentials. We recommend the Tombow Bristol paper in A6 format. It is the perfect size to start with Urban Sketching and is suitable for any drawing technique.

Little sketching

Especially in the beginning, it can help to make preliminary drawings to give yourself a feeling of security. However, it is important to only sketch the important things right from the start and not to go into too much detail.

Time pressure

You're supposed to enjoy the moment, but if you find that drawing is pushing you in a direction where you want to get everything perfect, it can help to limit yourself in time. Maybe tell yourself you only have 5 minutes for the preliminary drawing.

Beautiful motif

The best thing to do is to choose a motif that you really like and simply try the motif several times. For example, this could be a tree in your garden that you try to capture on paper in the morning, midday, and late evening sun.

 Handbook or block 

Among many urban sketchers, it is common to have handbooks so that the drawings are collected all together in one book. The advantage of this is that you can document your development and have all the places bundled into one book. But a handbook isn't for everyone. With a handbook, you feel demotivated very quickly, because a not-so-successful drawing can destroy the overall picture of the book. If you don't mind that not every drawing is perfect and you like to show your development, we recommend you buy a handbook. If you are a perfectionist, a pad may be the better choice for you.


In order for your sketch to look really impressive, you should take great care to choose the right perspective. This is especially important to capture the textures of architecture.


Digression: Drawing in perspective

You don't know what vanishing points and horizon lines are? We will explain what you need for the basic elements of perspective drawing:

Perspective drawing

What materials do I need for urban sketching?

Basically, you can successfully capture your environment with any technique. It depends on how you want to put what you see on paper and whether it's practical to take with you. Basically, you just need a few pens of your choice, paper and a motif.


Urban Sketching Set

Would you like to start sketching but don't feel like buying all the products individually? The Urban Sketching Set comes with a lovingly designed metal storage box that contains all the materials a beginner needs. The set includes 9 coordinating products that will give you the perfect equipment to make your preliminary sketches and color them creatively.

Urban Set

Already getting the hang of it? Expand your Urban Sketching material with the following:

MONO drawing pen

Do you love to sketch in black and white or need a good pen for the outlines? The fineliner is available in 8 different line widths and is good to use for illustrations.

Learn more


For urban sketching, you need an eraser on the road. With our precision eraser with a round or square tip, you have an eraser that fits comfortably in your hand and feels like a pencil. The MONO zero is refillable.

Learn more


The practical MONO graph has a robust lead with an innovative "Shake"-mechanism: By shaking the pencil, the lead is advanced.  So you always have a pencil at hand that doesn't need to be sharpened and is well protected from breakage by its casing.

Learn more

Blending Palette

If you love sketching with watercolor, our Blending Palette just gives you even more ways to combine your colors and create watercolored backgrounds. The palette is wipeable and so small that it doesn't take up much space and fits in any bag.

Learn more

Tombow Papier

For a good work of art, you need good paper! Bristol paper is an excellent companion for your sketchnote journey. The paper comes in 3 sizes. So you can ideally choose which size is best for you on the road. Another advantage of Bristol paper is that it is well suited for multiple techniques. So if you don't want to commit to a technique yet or like to create your work as a combination of different techniques, you can do that with the Bristol paper without expecting annoying bleed-through.

Learn more