the art of urban sketching!!

Very exciting news!! They’ve only been and gawn and done it. Check out your bookstore this week, and see if they have a copy of The Art of Urban Sketching, the first book by the global non-profit, Urban Sketchers! As you may know I am the Urban Sketchers (USk) correspondent for Davis, ever since the site was first founded back in November 2008, so have been eagerly anticipating this book since the USk founder, Gabi Campanario, first announced he was putting it together. He has done a tremendous job, as have the hundred or so other contributors (all correspondents on either the main blog or the regional USk blogs). Check out the cover, illustrated by Ch’ng Kiah Kiean and Paul Heaston.

The book has three main sections: “Becoming an Urban Sketcher”, explaining what we mean by ‘urban sketching’ and how to take it up yourself, with peeks inside the featured artists’ sketching kits. The second section, “See the World, One Drawing at a Time”, which takes up the larger part of the book, is a voyage across the world, city by city, through the location drawings of local urban sketchers. Yep, Davis is in there too! See below; there’s a photo of me sketching with Luke, and of course, some fire hydrants. It looks great!

The third section is called “Drawing Inspiration”, and is divided into several themes such as ‘skylines, cityscapes and perspectives’ (a beautiful panorama by Gerard Michel is in there, plus one of my absolute favourite sketches, Toledo by Luis Ruiz), ‘monuments, cars and urban furniture’ (check out the great Bay Area lamp-posts by Jana Bouc), and ‘cafes, restaurants and bars’ (my favourite bar-sketcher, Stephen Gardner, is featured in there). Believe me, there is a lot in this book, and it is all excellent and inspirational.

There is part of Gerard’s panorama above, with cityscapes by Stephen Gardner and Shiho Nakaza, using that brown-black uniball signo pen that I love so much (I ‘discovered’ its delights myself last year, but it was Shiho who actually first showed me the pen, at the Portland Symposium).

What I think I really like about this book is that I feel so familiar with most of the work, through following all these urban sketchers over the years. Some of them I was less familiar with and can now discover or rediscover without having to click here or scroll down there. The biggest pleasure though is that this is all work by a community of sketching friends, many of whom I have had the honour of sketching alongside and learning from in person. Every time I pick it up, I want to go and draw something. And I’m sure you will too! The thing about urban sketching is that it’s accessible to all, all you need is soemthing to draw with and something to draw on. Oh, and something to look at, of course, and what better thing to look at than the town or city where you live?

The Art of Urban Sketching is published globally on February 1st, so check out your local bookstore and see if they have it or can order it for you, or of course get it on Amazon (it’s currently #1 in their section on ‘painting’!). I’m on pages 30, 46-47, and 381.

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