Improve Your Art by Sketching Outdoors

Improve Your Art by Sketching Outdoors

It’s finally here, Spring, Summer, or whatever season we happen to be in, the point is that it is time to get outdoors. If you are an artist yourself or have children that are budding artists then this is a perfect way to help improve art skills and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. This is one of my favourite things to do and is a great way to spend a day. Even better is the fact that the whole family can get involved whether they draw or not. As a parent you can bring along a good book and get some quiet reading time in. Have kids that don’t like to draw then they can bring along a ball and play at the park or take a nature hike. So how do you organize an outdoor sketch trip?

sketch picture


The first thing to think about is comfort. Suntan lotion and bug spray may be first on your list, but after that a comfortable chair, knapsack, and even a small table come in handy. I leave these in my car at all times so I always have them at hand. Appropriate clothing is also important so know the weather.

Where do you go?

Where to go will depend on what you like to sketch. As a professional cartoonist people often think that all I draw are cartoons but the truth is I enjoy drawing landscapes and buildings. When I started my art business I was drawing fine art pen and ink landscapes. I don’t sell those anymore but enjoy sketching landscapes while enjoy drawing the great outdoors. I choose my locations by two criteria.

Criteria 1- Subject

The first thing I decide is what will I draw today? Sometimes I feel like drawing a barn, trees, or even a mansion. Check out my mansion sketch walk by clicking here. It doesn’t matter what the subject it is what is of interest to you. If I want to draw a barn you won’t find those around my town so that may mean a trip up North or into the country. That brings me to criteria two, location.

Criteria 2 – Location

If you have seen any of my other Sketch Walks you may think that I pick locations randomly and sometimes I do. For the most part however it is a conscious decision to go to new places. We have so many beautiful parks and locations in Ontario so I try to choose a new location each time I go out to sketch. Start with your local area and look for parks close to you, remember to choose a place based on the subject you want to draw. I like to draw in the Provincial Parks as you get great options such as a place to hike, great scenery, and interesting subjects. Many of these parks have a history so it is very educational for those willing to venture out.

Check out my Sketch Walks and check out some of the great places I have found.

What materials do you need?

You need nothing more than paper and pencils, but the option is yours as to what to take. My favourite sketching materials are micron pens, hardcover sketch book, my cell phone for music and pictures, and a chair. If you want to change it up a little bit I like to expand and take watercolour paints, markers, or pencil crayons. If using water based media make sure you take the appropriate paper type like watercolour paper.

So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors. Enjoy the beautiful world we live in and enjoy nature. I have introduced a challenge for you to help you get started on your first sketch walk.

Here is your first challenge:

  1. Choose a park in your area that has a walking trail, try to choose a place you have never been before.
  2. Decide that you are going to do at least one sketch on location
  3. Challenge yourself to learn one thing about the location you choose such as history of the area or wildlife.

Enjoy you sketch walk and I would love to see what you’ve drawn. Post your pics and tag us on Facebook or Instagram

Check out the video for a summary of this article, enjoy!

About the Artist

Bruce Outridge Productions offers custom illustration and design services for clients specializing in caricatures and cartoons. before focusing strictly on cartoons Bruce was a pen and ink landscape artist and now continues with that passion through his Sketch Walk Series showing others how to get started drawing on location. You can learn more about Bruce and his business at