Ian Fennelly's Route 66 Workshops

Super talented and bubbly UK-based artist and author, Ian Fennelly will give students an over-the-shoulder view in real time as he takes you step-by-step through his process in this new Sketch Route 66 series.

Ian Fennelly's Sketch Route 66 Workshop Tour is a series of four LIVE online workshops inspired by an imaginary trip down America's most famous highway. Travelling (virtually) from west to east we will stock up on general provisions in Hackberry, get distracted by a donkey in Oatman, rest for the night at the Palomino Motel, then fill up on gas before heading home. See map below for details.

"Sketching Route 66 is an online journey of discovery, and like any journey, you pass through places and notice things. A big part of what you discover are the places with their own unique story, and the signs help to tell that story: whether it's the name of the store, the price of the petrol or the coca cola that's for sale. What I think is fascinating from an artistic perspective, is how the visual language of these signs can be incorporated into the sketch so they are all part of the same story. The challenge will be to find a method or stylisation that fits in with the way buildings and street furniture are described. So the lettering will become important - some will be chunky, some coloured, some with patterns, some exaggerated, some made bigger, smaller, funkier and broken - but all will be part of the narrative and compatible with the feel and charm of the sketch."--Ian Fennelly

Each workshop is approximately 3 hours in length broken up into stages. In between each stage we will take time to answer questions and will take a 20 minute break after the watercolour stage so the the paint has time to dry and everyone has time to make a coffee or stretch.  Students will sketch along with the reference photos provided. 

These four LIVE online Sketch Route 66 Workshops will be held on Sunday May 23, Sunday May 30, Sunday June 13 and Sunday June 20.

What Time Does it Start in My Time Zone?

All four LIVE online workshops will start at 12pm EDT (i.e. 9am PDT and 5pm BST etc). Check the start time for the workshop in your time zone by clicking HERE.

Reference Photos

Click the images below to download the reference photos for your workshops.


Sunday May 23--Sketch Hackberry General Store

Travelling west to east, the first "stop" of our tour is Hackberry General Store in Arizona. Opened in 1943 the store is now a souvenir shop and gas station. In this workshop we will be looking at how to incorporate all those vintage signs into our sketch to try to capture the history and significance of this location. Registration is now closed.


Sunday May 30--Sketch Oatman Theatre

Next "stop" is the Oatman Theatre in Arizona originally built in 1902. In this sketch we will capture one of the free-roaming burros that are the descendants of burros used during its mining heyday.

Note: This workshop has 2 reference photos. Please download both photos.

Paint colours used in this workshop are cerulean blue, transparent orange, ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.

 Registration is now closed.

Sunday June 13--Sketch the Palomino Motel

In this workshop we will sketch the Palomino Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico built in 1953. This motel features a oversized illuminated sign added in the 1960s and lots of funky signage that's open for interpretation. Registration is now closed.

Sunday June 20--Sketch the Old Gas Station

In our final workshop we will sketch the Gay Parita Service station built in 1930 in Paris Springs, Missouri. Replete with signage and memorabilia, this will be great fun to sketch and we can even fill up with gas at 15¢ a gallon! Registration closes Friday June 18 at noon EDT.

Focusing on Signage

Ian loves signage! All those vintage roadside signs marking mileage or selling Pepsi or gas--so cool! In this workshop Ian will be having fun playing with the funky shapes and fonts of the historic signs in our reference photos. 





How to Enroll

This LIVE online workshop will be hosted on a Zoom webinar platform. You will be sent a link from Zoom on the day registration for the workshop closes, that is, on the Friday (2 days) before the event. 

24/7 Lifetime Access

After the LIVE online workshops, participants will receive a link to the recorded version of this workshop and will have lifetime access to the workshop material and can study the material when and as often as you like.  

Sketch Route 66 Supply List  

  1. Spiral Bound A3 Sketchbook 140lb HP or loose paper. I prefer Fabriano brand. Click HERE for a lnk to order online.
  2. Tombow Brush Pens – black and a range of greys, particularly the lighter greys – N15, N79, N89, N95 -- water soluble NOT alcohol-based. 
  3. Fine liner pens – from 0.1 – 0.8 Pilot, Staedtler, Faber Castell, Derwent – any of these brands are fine.
  4. Watercolour pan set– I use Winsor & Newton but any good brand will do.  
  5. Watercolour brushes – variety of sizes from flats to small round heads.