Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Books on Urban Sketching

As both an urban sketcher and librarian, I thought it might be a good idea to combine my two passions and provide readers with a list of books related to urban sketching. I am a consummate reader and collector and, most importantly, active user of art instruction books.  
I am also mindful of the competing interests that can occur when talking about art books. We have excellent libraries here in the Pacific Northwest but we, of course, want to support our fellow artists and teachers through our purchases. One way to leverage your art instruction book dollars is to use your public library to preview works AND then support our fellow artists and authors by buying their books. 

Your public library is a great way to review books over a longer period of time. You can get a better sense of the quality and nature of instruction than simply perusing them in the bookstore or just guessing that they might be what you want from an online source.  Once you decide that you would like a particular book, (and, even as a librarian, I almost always do-since it is difficult to learn the techniques in a particular book if you have to return it in two weeks) then purchase it. And, if you can't afford to purchase every book you want, I am sure most artists would prefer that you borrow it from a library and use it to help you learn and create art.  

If the author makes the option available, I recommend purchasing directly from their website.  A good first step is to go to an author/artist's website to see how they prefer you buy their books. I also advocate using local independent bookstores whenever possible.  

For those new to urban sketching, here are four of the most popular and my personal favorites!  There is a growing number of instructional books on the topic of urban sketching. I post those below as recommendations. 

The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World

by Gabriel Campanario

Check out Gabi's website

The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location

by Marc Taro Holmes

Check out Marc's website:

Archisketcher: Drawing Buildings, Cities and Landscapes
by Simone Ridyard

Check out Simone's website:

Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color

by Felix Scheinberger 

Check out Felix's website:

As I said, there are many others!   The four above are considered standard works in this area.  A search in your library catalog, your local bookstore or Amazon, Barnes and Noble will reveal many more! 

Here also are links to the libraries in Pierce County.  Staff there can assist you in locating the books you are interested in borrowing.  

Pierce County Library System

Tacoma Public Library

Puyallup Public Library

I will refrain from advocating one bookstore over another, but a search in Google will point you in the right direction!   

Please let me know if you are interested in learning more about books related to urban sketching by commenting below.  I would be happy to post actual reviews of newly released works if you would find this useful. Please also share your favorites in the comments section below!  

(Note: All images used with permission of the artist-author.)

Correspondent: Beverly Choltco-Devlin



  1. Thank you Beverly. Great article! Another book to consider, and should not be forgotten is: "The Artist's Guide to Sketching, A Handbook for Drawing on the Spot" by James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade. Though it was published in '82 this is a sincere investment of info from 2 passionate artists who love thier work... with a nice bibliography in the back for further reference materials.

  2. Excellent post.

    There is also a series of Urban Sketching books called the Urban Sketching Handbook:
    Architecture & Cityscapes by Gabi
    People in Motion, by Gabi
    Reportage and Documentary Drawing by Veronica Lawlor
    Understanding Perspective by Stephanie Bower (Seattle local), due out in July 2016