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Urban Sketching Handbook: Architecture and Cityscapes by Gabriel Campanario

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F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
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Traffic is buzzing, people are hustling from place to place, and there
you are, clutching a sketchbook, eager to draw that historic building
on the street corner. Where do you start?
I’d say make nailing the composition your first goal. There’s no
amount of crosshatching or watercoloring or creative mark making
that will fix a poorly composed sketch. Not only that, once you
invest time in sketching a boring viewpoint, there’s no going back.
I hate when I’ve gone as far as coloring a sketch only to realize I
chose a weak angle.
A well-composed scene has a sense of balance and
completeness. Every piece seems to fall in the right place. Move
one and the harmony gets lost.
KEY I
COMPOSITION
skeTch here!
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Architecture and Cityscapes
à Good composition helps you
navigate the sketch and find what
it is about. Here, the excavator’s
arm creates a path that leads us
into the derelict house.
11.1” x 7.5” | 28 x 19 cm; Ink
and watercolor on hot press paper;
45 minutes on location; 45 minutes
to color later.
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Key1: Composition
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Apply the rule of thirds.
Photographers swear by the rule of thirds. I do,
too. This handy design principle makes miracles.
Imagine the scene you are sketching as if it was
divided into nine equal parts (see the figure
opposite). A good composition will result from
placing the subject of the sketch on or near the
points where the lines intersect.
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Architecture and Cityscapes
Warm up with thumbnail sketches.
Sketching is like exercising. You have to warm
up and loosen up your hand-eye coordination
first. Instead of starting to draw and hoping for
the best, I make some thumbnail sketches to test
compositions. I love the feeling of simplifying the
scene to just a few lines. I could just make these
tiny drawings all day long.
à Don’t get caught up in
the details at this stage.
Set yourself a time limit of
5 minutes for each of these
preparatory sketches.
Useful habits
If you have the time, walk
around and scout the
location before starting to
draw. Alternate between
standing up and sitting
down to find new and
interesting angles to sketch.
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Key1: Composition
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à Mukilteo Lighthouse
7.5” x 6” | 19 x 15.2 cm;
Pilot G-Tech on Stillman & Birn
sketchbook; 15 minutes.
Warm up with thumbnail sketches.
Sketching is like exercising. You have to warm
up and loosen up your hand-eye coordination
first. Instead of starting to draw and hoping for
the best, I make some thumbnail sketches to test
compositions. I love the feeling of simplifying the
scene to just a few lines. I could just make these
tiny drawings all day long.
F39_Job:05-41203 Title: RP-The Urban Sketching Handbook
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