O'Reilly logo

Urban Sketching Handbook: Architecture and Cityscapes by Gabriel Campanario

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:6
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:7
001-112_41203.indd 7 5/16/14 9:28 AM
(Text)
inTroducTion
Not every city has an art deco skyscraper or centuries-old cathedrals, but
buildings—big and small, old and new, lavish and utilitarian—are everywhere,
offering the urban sketcher a wide array of drawing opportunities.
Buildings reflect the history, geography, climate, and lifestyle of the
communities in which they were erected. In southwestern Spain, where my family
hails from, whitewashed homes cover the landscape of sundrenched towns.
In Seattle, where I live now, houseboats are a product of the region’s maritime
history. In New York, soaring skyscrapers symbolize American ambition.
It’s easy to overlook that ample variety of buildings and spaces we inhabit,
and how different they are from city to city, country to country. From houses,
apartments, and shopping malls to public buildings and places of worship, the
structures humans have created over the centuries, for shelter, commerce, industry,
transportation, or recreation are fascinating subjects to study and sketch.
In this handbook, I lay out keys to help make your experience of drawing
architecture and city spaces fun and rewarding. These keys—composition, depth,
scale, contrast, line, and creativity—are my own gold standards. I put a premium
on composition and getting proportions right. I also want my linework to carry
emotion and, whether I use color or not, I strive to make sketches that have
contrasting tonal values and a sense of depth. If I can mix all that with a touch
of personal style, I consider myself happy.
The word architecture may bring to mind blueprints and meticulously
rendered floor plans, but remember that sketching architecture is not an exact
science. It’s a fun pastime! I hope the tips I share in this handbook will serve
as a jumping-off point to develop your own creative approach, no matter what
your skill level may be today.
As much as this handbook may inspire you to draw more urban spaces,
I also hope it increases your appreciation of the built environment. Drawing the
places where we live, work, and play, is a great way to show we care.
|
7
Á Think of sketching
architecture, especially old
buildings, as a time-traveling
experience. I like to imagine
how life must have been for
the original occupants.
Stimson and Green Mansion,
Seattle
8.6” x 9.5” | 22 x 25 cm;
Lamy Safari fountain pen,
Noodler’s black ink, and Daniel
Smith watercolors; About an hour.
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:6
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:7
001-112_41203.indd 7 5/16/14 11:02 AM
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:8
001-112_41203.indd 8 5/16/14 9:28 AM
(Text)
8
|
Architecture and Cityscapes
Á Imagine a building as a
tabletop still life you could
reach with your arms. That
approach can make the giant
structure easier to grasp.
MURRAY DEWHURST
Il Duomo, Florence
15” x 7.5” | 38 x 19 cm; Sennelier
half-pan watercolors, Staedtler
pigment liner 0.5 on Hahnemühle
sketchbook; 90 minutes.
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:8
001-112_41203.indd 8 5/16/14 11:02 AM
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:8
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:9
001-112_41203.indd 9 5/16/14 9:28 AM
(Text)
Á Imagine a building as a
tabletop still life you could
reach with your arms. That
approach can make the giant
structure easier to grasp.
MURRAY DEWHURST
Il Duomo, Florence
15” x 7.5” | 38 x 19 cm; Sennelier
half-pan watercolors, Staedtler
pigment liner 0.5 on Hahnemühle
sketchbook; 90 minutes.
à It’s less intimidating to
draw architecture when you
think of it as the backdrop
of city life.
MELANIE REIM
Chelsea Street Market
15.7” x 8” | 40 x 20 cm;
Schminke watercolors and Pelikan
200 fountain pen with Noodler’s
Sepia ink on Cachet Studio
sketchbook; 30 minutes.
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:8
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:9
001-112_41203.indd 9 5/16/14 11:02 AM
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:10
001-112_41203.indd 10 5/16/14 9:28 AM
(Text)
10
|
Architecture and Cityscapes
skeTch here!
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
#175 Dtp: 229 Page:10
001-112_41203.indd 10 5/16/14 11:02 AM

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required