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.