Zen and the art of urban sketching


Improve your art • improve your memory • improve your mood • improve your mind!

Unhappy with your sketches? Smash that negativity. Make your sketches more effective, and make sketching work for you! 
Join us for Zen & the Art of Urban Sketching, a series of two classes offered at our Fort Mason store! These fun 3-hour sessions are offered throughout the spring and summer.



Part 1: You Can Do This!

Sunday September 8, noon - 3pm


Part 2: Perspective, Light & Shadow
Sunday September 22, noon - 3pm


(Sign up for one or both classes by filling out the form below)




Part 1: You Can Do This! - $55

This class is about getting outdoors and putting pen to paper. With a hand-picked set of tools and some simple, practical techniques, we’ll set out to sketch in a location rich with subjects, like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Sketching is fun—if you do it right. And it’s good for you. 

In this class, you will:

• Learn how sketching is linked to brain plasticity. 

• Learn how to use sketching to enhance your memory, perception and mood. 

• Learn how to make art a daily habit you look forward to!

• Get some great supplies. See supply list here.

Part 2: Perspective, Light & Shadow - $40

Seeing is complicated, but your brain makes it seem easy. So why is drawing things “right” so hard? We’ll learn how the brain looks for cues, or shortcuts, to make sense of what’s out there. Artists use exactly the same cues to create images that look real. We’ll explore how to use these cues - perspective, light and shadow, to anchor your drawings in the world. 

In this class, you will:

• Learn how powerful visual cues can be

• Explore different kinds of perspective

• Learn about light sources, shadows and what they reveal

• Use these tools to reveal more in your drawings

• Get some great supplies. See supply list here.

Zen & the Art of Urban Sketching was so popular last year, that we decided to add a part 2. Zip designed this class as a follow up to part 1. Both classes will be offered throughout the Spring and Summer at our Fort Mason Center store.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORZip Lehnus is a San Francisco urban artist, citizen scientist and the creator of Big Stick Charcoal. He carries a sketchbook everywhere, and won’t shut up about it.



LOCATION: The meeting location for each class is at the FLAX Fort Mason store, located at 2 Marina Blvd, Landmark Building D in Fort Mason Center between Crissy Field and Fisherman’s Warf on the waterfront.

Fort Mason Center 
2 Marina Blvd, Bldg D
San Francisco, CA 94123


Public Transit: We are an 8 minute walk off the MUNI 30 Stockton line.
Driving: Expansive parking lot!

Please arrive 15 minutes early to pick up all your materials and meet your instructor!



Part 1 - Sunday September 8, from 12pm - 3pm

Part 2 - Sunday September 22, from 12pm - 3pm


Part 1 - $55.00

Part 2 - $40.00

The class fee includes a complete urban sketching kit which is yours to keep after the class!

(Parts 1 and 2 are separate classes. You can sign-up and pay for one or both classes separately. You do not need to sign-up for both, but we do recommend you take these classes in order.)

REGISTRATION: To sign-up online, fill out the form above. You may also sign-up for this class in-person at the the FLAX Fort Mason store, or by calling 415-530-3510.

Fees will be collected before the beginning of the class. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to pick up your materials and meet you instructor.


Included in the class fee is an urban sketching kit which contains everything you need for each class. These kits were designed so that you can take them home and continue your urban sketching practice on your own. One of the biggest takeaways we hope you get, is to learn to make art a daily habit you look forward to!

As each class explores different facets of Urban Zen Sketching, each kit is specially selected to ensure that you get the most out of your experience by exposing you to, not only different concepts and skills, but also materials. Zip wants to show you that there are many ways to express yourself using different materials to help broaden your artistic perceptions.


Sakura Koi Watercolor Pocket SetSakura Koi Watercolor Pocket Set





The perfect portable watercolor set, complete with a refillable water brush to transport and store water while on the road. This lightweight affordable kit fits into a shirt or jacket pocket and is a favorite among many urban landscape sketchers. 


• 12 half pan watercolor paints, formulated to blend easily.

• 1 Koi Water Brush with 4ml reservoir barrel handle and detachable medium brush tip.

• 1 dabbing sponge

• divided snap lid cover serves as a palette

Strathmore Vision Mixed Media PadStrathmore Vision Mixed Media Pad

This versatile sketchbook contains a medium weight, all-purpose paper for a variety of dry and light, wet media sketching you will be exploring in this class. The pages are perforated and easy to tear out. The backing is made from a sturdy chipboard. Tear off the top sheet to reveal a mixed media cover that can be customized with your own artwork!

5.5" x 8.5", 70 sheets



Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen SetTombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen Set

Fudenosuke pens feature a flexible brush tip for different lettering and drawing techniques. Create extra-fine, fine or medium strokes by a change in brush pressure. The work great for both lettering and drawing.

This set contains one soft and one hard tip Fudenosuke Brush Pen.




Uni-Ball Gel Impact PenUni-Ball Gel Impact Pen

A cult favorite, these pens produce thick vibrant lines of opaque white pigmented ink needed for highlights and corrections.

Color: Coconut White



Palomino Blackwing PencilsPalomino Blackwing Pencil, soft

The legend of Blackwing exceeds the reputation of any other pencil, and for good reason! The pencils are made from California incense cedar. Their cores are made in Japan to a formulation that is smoother and softer than most pencil leads, yet still allows them to keep a good point. Their erasers are refillable, and can be extended as they wear down. If you're not already hooked on Blackwing pencils... you will be soon!

The full line of Blackwing pencils are available in both of our stores.


Factis Extra Soft Vinyl EraserGeneral Pencil Extra Soft White Vinyl Eraser

Sometimes called the "much kneaded" eraser, the Factis Eraser is ideal for erasing a variety of mediums, from charcoal to pastel on fine papers including watercolor and vellum, without smudging or smearing. It is one of the softest art erasers made.



Single Hole Metal SharpenerMagnesium Wedge Sharpener

No urban sketching kit is complete without a good pencil sharpener. This wedge-shaped magnesium-alloy sharpener features dynamic torsion action tempered steel blades.



Super Deluxe Mixed Media Pad with archival Bee Paper

The only sketchbook you'll ever need! This pad contains heavy weight archival quality drawing paper - well rounded for mixed media. The natural white sheets have two distinct surfaces. The top side of the sheet has tooth for dry media and works well as a cold pressed watercolor sheet. The bottom side is fabulous with pen and ink and works well as a hot pressed sheet for watercolor and other mixed media. The double wire binding creates a flat surface, allowing the artist to draw across the page. The water-resistant cover can be personalized with acrylics to make your journal your own! Extra heavyweight 100% recycled chipboard back is perfect for field work.


Pentel Brush Tip Sign Pens

Pentel Arts Brush Tip Sign Pens are filled with intense waterbased dye ink that are fully blendable.  Dilute the tip with water to get a full range of values. The waterbased dye ink is bright and intense. The pens have a flexible brush tip for creating different techniques - perfect for everything from writing to drawing to blending.

Pack of 3 - Black / Grey / Sepia



pentel-aquash-waterbrush-flat.jpgAquash Water Brush - Flat Nib

This refillable water brush makes it easy to transport and store water while on the road.

● Fill barrel with water to blend, or add your favorite ink wash

● The durable, nylon tip will give a sensitive response for delicate lines or pools of water

● Durable nylon brush tip holds its shape. The flat nib of this brush is perfect for blending!

● Easy to clean and dishwasher-friendly





Westcot C-Thru Plastic Ruler

A The Westcott Ruler is constructed in plastic and features beveled edges that make it a good choice in working with ink. Each ruler has a zero centering scale and is laminated for durability. This see-through ruler will become one of your most important tools in this class!