Hvar is about to become the host of Croatia’s first Urban Sketching workshop: “Now, that’s some island charm!

10 minute read

If you appreciate art, have an eye for detail, and enjoy the ambiance of Hvar, then the upcoming workshop in June is perfect for you.

We had a chat with Neven Rinčić, the organizer of the three-day workshop. He’s a self-taught artist with family roots from a small village near Hvar town. Drawing is his hobby, while his real job allows him to spend a lot of time on the island during the summer. He sketches during everyday activities like having coffee or waiting for the ferry, telling stories about the island and its people through his drawings. He told us about the artists who will lead the workshop, who it’s for, and more!

How long have you been practicing Urban Sketching and how did you get into this hobby?

Urban Sketching is the act of drawing or painting on location, directly from observation – to borrow a phrase from the lexicon of law enforcement and the judiciary. Carrying a sketchbook with you is the best way to practice drawing regularly and hone the skill of capturing what you see on paper. Finding time for art or having a studio space can be challenging for everyone, but if you can sketch something in a small notebook while you’re on a ferry, waiting in line at the bank, or enjoying your morning coffee, your progress will be rapid. Soon, people who aren’t in the habit of daily drawing will start telling you that you’re talented.


Even Da Vinci diligently conducted serious studies of the human body in his notebooks (alongside jotting down grocery lists), while Charles Darwin and similar researchers kept observation journals. The beauty of a sketchbook lies in its casualness – and such an approach yields the best results.


Urban Sketchers have decided that their notebooks filled with drawings from everyday life and exotic travels shouldn’t just be exercise books but rather works worthy of showing and sharing. All techniques and styles are acceptable. Some sketchers delve into details, others capture the atmosphere with a continuous line, while some complement their drawings with text.

Izvor_SketchbookBytheSea (19)
Izvor_SketchbookBytheSea (19)

Often, the most important thing is being able to quickly capture the moment – that’s one reason why I use watercolors. Personally, I’ve been engaged in this style of drawing for at least 10 years. It’s interesting that it’s longer than I’ve known the term “urban sketching.” When I first discovered it, I realized there are many people around the world with similar interests. Sketchers, illustrators, hobbyists…


It’s interesting that among them, there are many designers and architects who encountered drawing during their schooling but then stopped after entering the workforce. Now, they’re returning to observational drawing because they know how enjoyable and meditative it can be.

Where do you draw inspiration for your drawings? What do you most enjoy conveying on paper?

Inspiration is never lacking because every object, view, or human pose is a challenge. What I enjoy the most are the travels from which I regularly return with dozens of drawings and paintings, having learned much more about my surroundings through careful observation while drawing. Secretly sketching people is another charm of urban sketching because you can catch them in interesting situations. If they noticed they were being drawn, they would immediately change their behavior.

Izvor_SketchbookBytheSea (6)
Izvor_SketchbookBytheSea (6)

How did you decide to organize an Urban Sketching workshop in Hvar?

I’m a summer resident of Hvar, with family ties, a lavender field in Brusje, and a house in Hvar. I spend my summer months here, enjoying the sea and sun, the beauty of the landscape, and what man has integrated into it through layers of history. I revel in the modern cosmopolitan atmosphere and Mediterranean relaxation. My tools and notebooks always go where I go, and in the summer, I exclusively head to my Hvar.


The initiative to showcase Hvar to the world through drawings was recognized by the Tourist Board of the City of Hvar, which gave me additional support. Now, we are preparing an exciting set of workshops led by prominent figures from France, Germany, and Austria, and participants/artists from all over the world will come to learn from them in person.

Who will be leading the workshop? Could you tell us something about the artists?

The workshops will be led by Jenny Adam, a designer and illustrator from Hamburg. She’s passionate about urban sketching and frequently travels the world, teaching how to create vibrant, energetic landscapes using mixed media techniques. She also educates through platforms like Domestika and other online courses.


We also have Oliver Hoeller from Vienna, an illustrator and sketcher who often portrays passersby and captures cityscapes in his work. He has illustrated for many scientific journals and publications. Recently, he wrote (and of course illustrated) a book about urban sketching. He’s the recipient of the “Prix de Carnet de Voyage” sketching award.


The third instructor is Tazab from France, who combines a love for cycling, skiing, hiking, climbing, kayaking… with leading a witty, colorful, comic-book-style journal. He has already announced that he and his family will arrive in Croatia and Hvar well in advance to thoroughly explore everything. The workshop will take place over three days, from June 7th to June 9th, 2024, and you can find all the details here.

How many people do you expect at the workshop? Is it intended for adults or can children also participate?

At the workshops, we expect 30-45 participants, primarily aimed at adults. There’s nothing that children couldn’t follow along with, but the workshop tends to focus on the real world rather than the world of imagination, which is more characteristic of children. Some of my friends, unhappy with the size of their bellies or double chins in the picture, would call it “too realistic.”

Izvor_SketchbookBytheSea (11)

Can anyone apply or is special skill and knowledge required?

All levels of drawing experience are welcome. Those who draw occasionally and are just starting out will take home a new understanding and knowledge, while those deeply immersed in drawing will discover some details that will be the cherry on top, with top-notch instructors. The community, new acquaintances, and the company of people with similar interests will be a great motivation and experience for everyone. Of course, alongside renowned instructors, the beauty of Hvar is what will bring them to our island in June.

What do you expect from the workshop and what message would you give to people considering signing up?

I expect participants to enjoy the company of other sketchers and the act of creating. I anticipate that both guests and instructors will be captivated by Hvar. I expect the promotion of Hvar through pictures, drawings, and viral social media content. I anticipate bringing back drawing and painting to Hvar, but in a new, modern way. I aim to showcase Hvar to both locals and travelers through the eyes of urban sketchers. I envision the city’s water taxis, beaches, and restaurants teeming with visitors eager to experience the culture, beauty, and glamour that actually define Hvar.


I expect this niche of art to gain new momentum throughout Croatia and beyond. Finally, I expect everything to be so successful that we’ll repeat “Sketchbook by the Sea” next year in a larger and more advanced edition.


We wish Neven the best of luck with the new project, and we invite you to visit the island this June – and return home with your own drawing.


Autor: S.K.