Incredible Urban Sketches Celebrate the Historical Architecture of Paris

Architectural drawing by Stephen Travers

Rue du Gros Horloges, Rouen. (Drawn from original photography by @cbuiron)
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Inspired by the light, color, shapes, and texture of the world around him, artist Stephen Travers creates stunning urban sketches. The Australian artist is particularly fascinated by Paris, with many of his sketches capturing the city's charm. Using pen and ink, he expertly captures the architectural environment.

Interestingly, Travers began his artistic journey as an adult, first creating oil paintings of Australian wildlife and nature. He transitioned to sketching in 2018 during a trip to Paris with his children. A simple exercise drawing Notre-Dame with his family transformed his life and set him on track to a full-time career as an artist.

Thanks to a collaboration with Parisian photographers, who allow him to use their work as reference photos, Travers has been able to continue his love affair with the city from a distance. His drawings have garnered him a large following on Instagram, where he posts his sketches, which are done with a pencil underdrawing and then finished with ink.

Travers' work is distinguished by his skillful perspective and his ability to capture the rich details of historical architecture. Whether drawing the bustling interior of Palais Garnier or the Gothic exterior of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, he is able to create an intriguing visual story that transports us to Paris.

Church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont

Church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, Paris (Drawn from original photography by @vmphotographe)

In developing a scene, Travers creates a focal point around what first attracted him to the scene. “It may be an object in itself, or it could be the play of light and shadows, or contrasts of various surface textures, or any combination of these and other possibilities,” he tells My Modern Met. From there, he builds out the sketch, favoring COPIC multiliners and COPIC sketch markers to build out the ink values.

Fans of his work are grateful not only for the finished product but also for the wealth of drawing tips that he shares. Travers' YouTube channel is filled with informational videos on everything from how to improve your drawing process to the pros and cons of social media as an artist. For more in-depth instruction, he also has an online drawing class with over nine hours of instruction.

“I hope people are drawn into my work when they see it and that it connects in some significant way—whether their own memories of the location or more visually through the effects of angles, marks, and values,” he shares.

“Although the amount of detail is often commented on, I hope most people see the whole before individual details start to push forward.  And I like it when people realize that I haven't, in fact, even drawn all the detail they had supposed at first.  My technique is to draw the effect of the detail rather than the precision of it.”

Australian artist Stephen Travers is known for his architectural sketching.

Sketch of the interior of the Pantheon in Paris

The Pantheon, Paris. (Drawn from original photography by @cbuiron)

Architectural drawing by Stephen Travers

View from St. Paul's, London

Urban Skteching by Stephen Travers

Interior of Palais Garnier, Paris.

He is particularly enamored with Paris and its urban environment.

Urban Skteching by Stephen Travers

Paris (Drawn from original photography by @hifromalix)

Urban Skteching by Stephen Travers

Place du Terte, Paris (Drawn from original photography by @parisvisuals)

Architectural sketch by Stephen Travers

Staircase in Chateaux de Chantilly, Chantilly. (Drawn from original photography by @parisvisuals)

Using pen and ink, his work is filled with detail and visual interest.

Architectural drawing by Stephen Travers

Napoleon's Tomb, Paris (Drawn from original photography by @jbperraudin)

Sketch of the Staircase of the Princes, Palace of Versailles

Staircase of the Princes, Palace of Versailles, Versailles. (Drawn from original photography by @jbperraudin)

On social media, he provides tips and tricks on how to successfully sketch the built environment.

Drawing of Hotel Russell in London

Hotel Russell, London.

Sketch of the Australian bush by Stephen Travers

Australian bush.

Stephen Travers: Website | FacebookInstagram | YouTube

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Stephen Travers.

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Incredible Architectural Illustrations Celebrate the Immense Beauty of Historic Façades

Architecture Student Living in Paris Wanders the Streets Sketching His Favorite Buildings

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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