Class Details

Urban Rivers and Berman Sketching present a new program focusing on freehand drawing and the Wild Mile. 

Learn a step by step process for great freehand sketches while taking in the Chicago River, the Wild Mile, and Goose Island.

WHEN: 10 am Sunday, October 4; rain day 10 am Sunday, October 11.

WHERE: The historic rail bridge to the east of Jiffy Lube, 1049 West North Avenue, Chicago.

COST: $150.00

PARKING: We recommend Cherry Avenue:'29.9%22N+87%C2%B039'19.8%22W/@41.908312,-87.6560442,401m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d41.9083116!4d-87.6554966 

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: North Avenue Red Line, walk east to 1049 W. North Avenue, the rail bridge is to the east of Jiffy Lube.

SUPPLIES: Provided by Blick Art Supplies. Feel free to bring your own tools.

LUNCH: Provided by Lou Malnati's.

COVID-19 PROTOCOL: This event will be outdoors; we will be socially distancing and require that everyone wear a mask.


  • Learn how to draw faster and with more confidence.
  • Learn about Urban River's initiatives, volunteer opportunities, and the Wild Mile.
  • Learn or improve upon the following freehand sketching skills and techniques: composition, value and contrast, contour lines, perspective, and rapid sketching.
  • Improve your ability to document and remember the built environment.
  • Improve your ability to use freehand sketching as an expressive thinking tool.
  • Increase your focus and memory while learning about the existing built environment.

Course Curriculum

  • 1

    LOCATION 1: GOOSE ISLAND NORTH RAIL BRIDGE - Drawing Composition and Thumbnails

    • LESSON 1A: Introduction {10 am}

    • LESSON 1B: Composition and Thumbnails {10:20 am}

    • LESSON 1C: Thumbnails 2 {10:50 am}

    • LESSON 1D: From Thumbnail to Full Sketch {11:20 am}

  • 2

    LOCATION 2: DRAGON BOAT DOCK - Value and Contrast {11:35 am}

    • LESSON 2A: Breaking Down Values {11:35 am}

    • LESSON 2B: Value Exercise 1 {11:45 am}

    • LESSON 2c: Value Exercise 2 {12:15 pm}

  • 3

    LOCATION 3: REI Riverwalk & Dock - Contour Lines {12:50 pm}

    • LUNCH AT PICNIC TABLES {12:50 pm}

    • LESSON 3A: Contour Line Description and Demonstration {1:35 pm}

    • LESSON 3B: Contour Line Exercise 1 {1:45 pm}

  • 4

    LOCATION 4: MONTGOMERY WARDS NORTH DOCK - Perspective {2:25 pm}

    • LESSON 4A: Perspective Descriptions and Demonstrations {2:25 pm}

    • LESSON 4B: One Point Perspective {2:30 pm}

    • LESSON 4C: Two Point Perspective {2:55 pm}

  • 5

    LOCATION 5: MONTGOMERY WARDS SOUTH DOCK - Speed Sketching {3:25 pm}

    • LESSON 5A: Speed Sketching {3:25 pm}

    • LESSON 5B: Bringing it All Together: The Final Sketch [if time]

    • LESSON 5C: Final Words {3:55 pm}