Book Review: The Art of Urban Sketching

Book Review: The Art of Urban Sketching

The Art of Urban Sketching book

This book arose out of a vibrant online community of urban sketchers sharing their locale through the internet; there are tips and sketches shared here from people all over the world. Not only did this book show a broad range of sketching styles and diverse subject matter, it also was like going on a world tour culturally and architecturally. I am inspired to sketch more right where I am instead of pinning away for more interesting fodder. I have also “liked” the Urban Sketching group on Facebook so will continue to see this work shared incrementally. Below are some of the bits of text that I found interesting, and below that are some photos I took of sketches in the book:

  • “I believe no amount information or detail is too daunting if you take one thing at a time.”
  • “Sketching is something close to a spiritual experience, a state of meditation.”
  • “The calmer I am, the better it gets.”
  • “I feel a close connection between traveling and drawing, a fact that has many advantages: I get lots of memories from my sketchbooks when I travel, and the fact that I feel like I am traveling whenever I draw enables me to travel day after day, in my own town.”
  • “Drawing everywhere is like traveling all the time.”
  • “Draw in black the spots with less light.”
  • “It’s easier to catch the light on an object or face if you sketch in monochrome, because you don’t have to think about the color of the subject and you can concentrate on the brightness or darkness of its different parts.”
  • “Try to wet each shadow part completely. That way, you can push around the paint and let it flow, which makes the shadows come alive a bit. You don’t have to draw in every detail… you can focus on the parts you find interesting.”
  • “To create a sense of distance, I add more details in the foreground and less in the background, lightening things as they move farther away from me.”
  • “My personal mantra is ‘less is more,’ and I am still working on reducing the clutter when I sketch.”
  • “The priority was ‘quick grasp’ then accuracy.”
  • “I try to take in the scene and find what fascinates me about it. I never sketch it out first but try to see the drawing before I put it down on paper.”
  • “Most sketchers agree that patience is step number one for drawing architecture.”
  • “One of the secrets is to be organized and patient. I think that with a basic technique, in which we go from less to more, you can obtain very good results.”
  • “To create a sense of distance, she used different pens: a gray brush for the buildings farther away and a black ink pen and more detail for the closer ones, to make them pop.”

I loved the variety and caliber of artists in this book. Even though I’ve already gobbled up every word and poured over each sketch appreciatively, I’d still love to own this book (I read a library copy.) I give this book an enthusiastic five stars and look forward to joining their community by looking at my world with positive attention and creative results. I am thrilled there is this burgeoning movement, making the world even more close-knit and better able to understand each other by sharing in this way!

The Art of Urban Sketching

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The Art of Urban Sketching book

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.

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