Whether you are looking for a new hobby or have seen some urban sketches already, it is very probable that you will love this trend! Citizens take to the streets to draw, sketch and paint their favourite buildings, streets, market stalls or anything else that draws their attention. You do not need a lot of talent to start – rather, practice and patience are key. I am just starting out myself with urban sketching and therefore wanted to give you a little bit of input.
Through urban sketching you can learn to develop new perspectives on your own neighbourhood and your city. It is also a great tool for travelling, since it will allow you to create you own journal full of evocative images and sketches, or maybe just doodles. You can easily combine it with words, notes, quotes or even some little souvenirs like tickets or receipts:
At the same time, urban sketching allows you to participate more actively in urban life than you would as a normal pedestrian. You will sit down for some time to work on your sketch and pay attention to just one corner of the city, which automatically results in your learning about this area. Who comes and goes, what happens at different times, and how to residents or passers-by interact with you? You will probably receive some interest for your art and can use the opportunity of conversing with someone new to learn about this particular corner you are sketching. For urban planners and architects, sketching can be like a meditation on space and design of a certain place. But even if you do not have this education, you will soon notice a change of perspective whenever you are drawing, and sometimes even when you are not.
If you have trouble starting out but definitely want to try urban sketching, I recommend you to follow some Instagram and Facebook accounts. In every larger city, there are Urban Sketchers groups that organise regular outings to draw together. There are also classes and countless books as well as blogs (such as the Urban Sketchers Blog) to give you advise and inspiration. Enjoy!
Header copyright: City street vendors in Avenida Pueyrredón, downtown Buenos Aires by Jorge Royan via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0