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5 Tips for Sketching Cafe Scenes in Watercolor and Ink

by Ottavia Huang, artist-in-residence

Are you ready to capture the cozy charm of your favorite cafe in a sketch? Sketching cafe scenes in watercolor and ink can be a delightful experience, allowing you to not only capture a moment but also express the atmosphere and mood of the place. Here are five tips to help you create beautiful cafe sketches:

  1. Start with a light pencil sketch: Begin by lightly sketching the key features of the scene, such as tables, chairs, and people. This will serve as a guide for your ink and watercolor work.

  2. Use a waterproof pen: When adding ink details, use a waterproof pen to prevent smudging when you apply watercolor. This will help maintain the clarity of your lines and details.

  3. Begin with light washes: Start painting with light washes of watercolor, gradually building up colors and details. This approach allows you to control the intensity of the colors and create depth in your sketch.

  4. Focus on capturing the atmosphere: Instead of trying to replicate every detail, focus on capturing the overall atmosphere and essence of the cafe. Pay attention to lighting, shadows, and the interaction of people in the space.

  5. Experiment with techniques: Don't be afraid to experiment with different watercolor techniques, such as wet-on-wet or dry brush, to add texture and depth to your sketch. These techniques can help bring your cafe scene to life.

Remember, sketching is about capturing the moment and expressing your unique perspective. Embrace imperfections and enjoy the process. If you would like to learn more about sketching cafe scenes?  Check out my upcoming Urban Sketching: Professor Java Coffee Shop Workshop on Wednesday, April 17th, from 4:30 to 7:30 pm. Click HERE to learn more. Happy sketching!


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author's employer, Arlene’s Artist Materials. Please get in touch with us with any questions.


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