New Book Celebrates the Evolution of Urban Sketching Around the World

Urban Sketching Books

Clockwise from bottom left (Stephanie Bower from “The World of Urban Sketching,” Mike Daikubara from “Color First, Ink Later,” Shari Blaukopf from “Working with Color”)
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When journalist and illustrator Gabriel Campanario moved to Seattle in 2006, he started doing daily drawings of the city and posted them online. It was then that he discovered a community of sketchers around the world doing similar drawings of their cities. From there, Urban Sketchers was born. First, fifteen years ago, as an online community and then as a series of books that is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

When Campanario opened the first Urban Sketchers group online in 2007, he wrote a description that still holds true today. “This is a group for all sketchers out there who love to draw the cities where they live and visit, from the window of their homes, from a cafe, at a park, standing by a street corner…always on location, not from photos or memory.”

Eventually, Campanario would publish The Art of Urban Sketching, which sparked a long-term collaboration with Quarry Books. Since that first book 10 years ago, many have followed from various urban sketching authors, covering everything from how to draw architecture and how to sketch expressive people to how to use a tablet.

The newest title in the series, The World of Urban Sketching, is a beautiful celebration of the form. Written by architect turned illustrator and concept designer Stephanie Bower, the book features new sketchers, artwork, techniques, and stories. In many ways, this is a companion piece to Campanario's original book but also examines how the urban sketching phenomenon has gone global.

“The best part about writing the book was connecting with so many talented sketchers around the world, sometimes exchanging emails with people on four continents in one day,” shares Bower, who has also authored several Urban Sketching Handbooks. “These are sketchers I admire and respect, it is an honor to represent them and their beautiful work and stories in this new book. My dream is to get to meet and sketch with each one.”

In a visual feast of over 700 images, readers will discover emerging urban sketchers as well as established names. Through step-by-step demonstrations, artists will also learn new creative options in color and linework, including digital options. And, thanks to first-hand accounts, tips, and observations by the artists, readers will come away with valuable insight into what goes into creating art on location.

For Campanario, seeing the continued success of the Urban Sketchers brand is particularly meaningful. “It's been incredible to see so many people embrace the idea of ‘showing the world, one drawing at a time,'” he tells My Modern Met. “Drawing and sketching is not a practice reserved for artists. Anyone can pick up a sketchbook and a pen and start to draw. Urban sketching helps you slow down and look at the world around you with fresh eyes every time you open your sketchbook.”

The World of Urban Sketching will be published on November 29, 2022, and is now available for pre-order.

The World of Urban Sketching is a celebration of 15 years of Urban Sketchers.

The World of Urban Sketching

The book is a visual feast that includes over 700 images by urban sketchers from around the world.

Inma Serrano from The World of Urban Sketching

Inma Serrano from “The World of Urban Sketching”

Luis Simoes from The World of Urban Sketching

Luis Simoes from “The World of Urban Sketching”

Yohj Kato from The World of Urban Sketching 2

Yohj Kato from “The World of Urban Sketching”

Noel Okello from The World of Urban Sketching

Noel Okello from “The World of Urban Sketching”

Hyeongmi Ham from The World of Urban Sketching

Hyeongmi Ham from “The World of Urban Sketching”

Rob Sketcherman from The World of Urban Sketching

Rob Sketcherman from “The World of Urban Sketching”

The community was started in 2007 by Gabriel Campanario and sparked a series of books by Quarto Publishing.

Urban Sketching Handbooks by Quarto

Each book features work by established and emerging sketchers.

Urban Sketchers - Gabriel Campanario, Architecture and Cityscapes

Gabriel Campanario from “Architecture and Cityscapes”

Urban Sketchers - Katie Woodward, Understanding Light

Katie Woodward from “Understanding Light”

Urban Sketchers - Roisin Cure, Drawing Expressive People

Roisin Cure from “Drawing Expressive People”

Urban Sketchers - Gail Wong, Spotlight on Nature

Gail Wong from “Spotlight on Nature”

They feature tips and demonstrations on how to sharpen your on-location drawing skills.

Urban Sketchers - Uma Kelker, Drawing with a Tablet

Uma Kelker from “Drawing with a Tablet”

Urban Sketchers - Suhita Shirodkar, Techniques for Beginners

Suhita Shirodkar from “Techniques for Beginners”

Urban Sketchers - Mario Linhares, Panoramas and Vertical Vistas

Mario Linhares from “Panoramas and Vertical Vistas”

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor 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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