Random notes and commentary on illustration, urban sketching, art and visual communication by newspaper artist and Urban Sketchers founder Gabriel Campanario.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Urban Sketching Handbook

I'm excited to announce my latest publishing adventure with Quarry Books: The Urban Sketching Handbook series! The first title deals with drawing Architecture and Cityscapes, and the second is about sketching people. Both handbooks include work by a wide array of urban sketching pros and by yours truly. Available for pre-order now and in stores this fall! Get your copies and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dopress book not my project

Dozens of sketcher friends around the world have contacted me in the past month about an email they have received from a China-based publisher known as Dopress, which is preparing a book with the same title as mine, The Art of Urban Sketching.

Sketchers are receiving emails from an editor named Ivy who invites them to submit their artwork for publication.

I have never been in contact with this person or this publisher. A quick look at their website shows a catalogue of books on interior design, graphic design and architecture.

While I personally don't like the idea of a book with the same title as mine, I can't find a compelling reason to disapprove of a project that aims to showcase an art form I practice and work hard to promote on a daily basis. Besides, book titles can't be copyrighted.

Sketchers should use their own judgement when deciding to contribute to this or any other publishing projects.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Veronica Lawlor demystifies watercolor in 'One Watercolor A Day'

As far as drawing techniques go, watercolor can be really frustrating. As soon as the paint hits the paper, it seems to take a life of its own. Wait for it to dry, and the results may be far from what you intended.

Before the frustration makes you reconsider the medium, I recommend that you pick up a copy of One Watercolor a Day (Quarry Books, $22.99). The new title by New York City artist Veronica Lawlor and the talented illustrators at Studio 1482 comes with perhaps the most empowering advice I've ever heard about watercolor: "Let it flow."

So simple, yet so true!

Lawlor provides 42 fun and accessible exercises that will make the most timid sketchers loosen up and embrace the free-flowing quality of the medium. Some assignments involve a bit of urban sketching such as visiting a city park to draw botanical patterns or drawing a skyline from a rooftop. Others can be done from the comfort of your studio, such as drawing portraits from photos using your least favorite color or dipping a leaf in paint to create mono prints.

What I love the most about the book is Lawlor's exploratory approach to art, which she already shared in her previous book, One Drawing A Day. While many books teach specific ways to use watercolor, One Drawing a Day shows you the path to find your own way.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Drawn to Seattle

I'm spoiled. Every week, my sketches are published on The Seattle Times for thousands of readers to see. As if that wasn't enough, a major city museum, The Museum of History and Industry, is now showcasing my work in an exhibit that opens Saturday, Dec. 21, and will be up for five months. I pinch myself several times a day to make sure this is all happening. Here's something that made it all very real today: An appearance on the local morning show, New Day Northwest:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The illustration work of Heather More

Heather More is a 24-year-old graduate of the Glasgow School of Art pursuing a career in illustration. Knowing I was born in Barcelona, she emailed me to share a delightful set of drawings she made there during a recent 3-month stay.

I loved seeing familiar Barcelona scenes through Heather's eyes, and what she wrote about drawing on location was also music to my ears:

"The feeling you get from drawing on location is very different from from working from a photo or imagination. Location drawing is the most honest and rewarding work I do. Most of the time I am not looking at the paper I am drawing on as my eyes are studying the cathedral/monument/skyline/coffee drinker in front of me. This relaxes me and means the work is not self conscious or contrived. It might not always be perfect but it becomes an instant artefact of a time and a place. My house is quickly filling up with sketchbooks!"

When she is not drawing on location, Heather said she likes to draw characters, dinosaurs and foxes. "This helps pay the bills."

To see more of Heather's work, make sure to visit her site at www.heathermore.com.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lapin: "I only sketch very old cars."

You know Lapin as the Barcelona-based French illustrator who sketches old cars wherever he can find them. He has drawn hundreds over the years, all over the world. Now sketchers and car enthusiasts alike will be happy to know that he's crowdfunding a book where we can admire a selection of his "Oldies but Goldies" all at once.

In the summer of 2010 Lapin visited Seattle and I had the opportunity to watch him draw a radiant Pontiac in my neighborhood. The car happened to drive away a bit too soon, but he had already managed to complete most of the drawing, including a watercolor wash. It was impressive to watch him work and I'm glad I took a short video and some photos that I can share with you now.

I hope they'll whet your appetite for Lapin's book and inspire you to contribute to his campaign.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Great ideas and how to have them

Oh, creativity, that's the gist of an artist's existence, isn't it? Cartoonist Matthew Diffee, a very funny guy from Texas, talks about "great ideas and how to have them" in this little video. I love what he says: "It's more important to come up with a bunch of stuff so some of it has the chance of being great ... Going for great ideas is not a great idea, because it paralyzes you."

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Paper matters

Lately, I've been sketching on 11" x 14" Fabriano Hot Press 140 lb paper. Ink flows nicely on the smooth surface and the weight of the sheets takes watercolor pretty well. We'll see how long I stick with it. For the story about this sketch, visit my Seattle Times blog.

Friday, September 06, 2013

The awesome sketchbook of Joshua Boulet

Boulet's work can be see at www.joshuaboulet.com

Joshua Boulet is a comic book artist, illustrator and sketcher originally from Texas whose work I just discovered a few months ago. I was particularly captivated by his self-published, 130-page book, Draw Occupy Wall Street, a graphic memoir he inked while living at Zuccoti Park, the epicenter of the Occupy movement in New York City.

The best part of finding Boulet's work online was discovering that he moved to Seattle last year, so we've been able to meet in person and sketch together. Recently, he illustrated the 'Best of Seattle' issue of Seattle Weekly with lively ink drawings that captured the pulse of the city. They showed politicians clapping during the unveiling of a tunneling machine, live music performances by the best local singers and patrons lining upat the city's favorite bakery. He has also contributed to my Week In Sketches project.

Boulet works mostly in black and white, combining brush pen with a tricked-out Pilot pen he refills manually with Dr. Ph. Martin Black india ink. His work has wonderful detail, a distinct graphic-novel style and storytelling flavor. Comic book artists and sketchers interested in drawing live events are sure to be inspired by his work.

At $20, Draw Occupy Wall Street is more than worth its price.
Get your copy while it lasts.

More samples of Boulet's work:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Art grid cards arrived

Remember my June post about Steve Worthington's Kickstarter project? He raised nearly $6,000 to manufacture these handy art grid cards. I was one of more than 400 people who backed Steve's project and just received my set this week. I can't wait to put them to use.