Zen + the Art of Urban Sketching

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 class offered at our Fort Mason store!
This fun 3-hour session is offered throughout the spring and summer, at FLAX Fort Mason.

Look for this class to resume in April, 2023.


Zip Lehnus,Beached

ABOUT THE CLASS (3 hours of instruction)

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!

Class Fee

  $65 for new students. Includes Zip's required urban sketching kit. See supply list here.

  $30 for returning students, who have attended Zip's class previously.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Zip Lehnus is a San Francisco based urban artist, science writer and naturalist who carries a sketchbook everywhere. He started these urban sketching workshops in 2018.

Zip Lehnus Triptych


This class is limited to 20 particpants. Zip is fully vaccinated, but regardless of anyone's vaccination status please be prepared to wear a mask.

LOCATION: The meeting location for each workshop 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.

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!


Included in the workshop fee is an urban sketching kit which contains everything you need for the day of instruction and future urban sketching outings 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!

The kit is designed 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 the kit components 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



sakura-pens.pngSakura Micron Pens

Artists, writers, and illustrators reach for Pigma Microns. These pens contain archival Pigma ink to safeguard your work. They are waterproof, and work well with other media.

Create extra-fine, fine or medium strokes by a change in brush pressure. The work great for both lettering and drawing.

This kit contains two .45 tip microns in sepia and black, and one brush tip 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!


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.