Visual Storytelling for Urban Sketchers with Rita Sabler


Rita Sabler is a visual journalist, artist, and educator based in Portland, Oregon, USA. She has taught Drawing, Urban Sketching and Visual Journalism courses for Parsons School of Design, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Portland State University. She also works on a variety of freelance illustration and visual reportage projects. Rita Sabler serves as the Education Director on the board of the global Urban Sketchers organization. 

Rita has presented numerous lectures and workshops around the world inspiring diverse audiences to cultivate a lifelong passion for urban sketching and reportage illustration. Her work has been featured in solo and group local and international shows. 

Rita holds a B.A. degree in Psychology and Art, an M.A. in Linguistics, and a Masters in Interface Design from The Elisava School of Design in Barcelona. She is currently working on an advanced degree in Journalism.

Rita Sabler’s reportage on the Kalaupapa settlement has won Doctors without Borders Coup De Coeur and International Sketchbook Prize at the 2019 Rendez-Vous Du Carnet De Voyage in Clermont-Ferrand.  

Rita’s main areas of interest are Reportage Illustration, Travel Sketching, and Visual Storytelling, but she is often seen on street corners capturing busy markets, festivals, protestors, musicians, and regular citizens living their life in both ordinary and extraordinary ways. When not drawing or teaching she is a busy parent and a tango pianist. 


Instagram: @ritasabler


Workshop description

We all love drawings that are not only beautiful to look at but also tell a compelling story. How do you infuse your work with meaning that is universally understood? Successful visual reportage requires familiarity with your subject, research, and time for extensive exploration. How do you tell a good story as you witness it happen in front of you with limited time and tools, sometimes standing in a crowded place? This workshop will introduce you to the key ingredients of a visual story and teach you easy to follow recipes to put together one of your own.

The workshop will foster confidence in reporting visual stories on location and, finding unique characteristics of a place. We will address the emotional power of line, color and composition and learn how restricting our palette can impact the final sketch. Students will learn to make editorial choices that bring the focus to the essential elements in the story. The workshop will challenge students to seek out human subjects and action to achieve the maximum storytelling potential.

 Learning Outcomes

By the successful completion of the workshop, students will learn:

1. Sketching from observation, on location

2. Techniques for note taking using words and pictures simultaneously

3. How to work in the field, recording place, time, and story

4. How to create "finished" work on location in real time

5. Main principles of drawing reportage

6. How color and composition can increase the emotional impact of your drawing

7. Capturing human subjects in motion

rita sabler supply list

Site location:  To be determined.  In the event of inclement weather, the workshop will take place in the KAC studio on Cameron Harvey Drive.

Dates/Time:  July 27th - 30th inclusive 2023.  9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Fees:  KAC members - $665.00   Non-members: $700.00 due at registration.

Registration:  limited to 15 participants, on a first-come, first-served basis.  Email the registrar at to register.   Registration will open on April 15th, 2023. 

Fees must be paid in full at the time of registration.  Kanata Art Club reserves the right to cancel a workshop where there is insufficient registration.  You will be notified and issued a cheque for a full refund. 

To withdraw prior to the start date, please contact the  A cheque for a full refund less an administrative fee of $25.00 will be issued if a written request is received no less than 30 days prior to the start of the workshop, i.e., on May 27th, 2023.  There will be no refund issued for withdrawal requests received after May 27th, 2023, unless we are able to fill your spot from a waitlist.