The Urban Sketcher: Techniques for Seeing and Drawing on Location

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Penguin, 2014 - Art - 142 pages
Make the world your studio!

Capture the bustle and beauty of life in your town.

Experience life as only an artist can! Join the rapidly growing, international movement of artists united by a passion for drawing on location in the cities, towns and villages where they live and travel. Packed with art and advice from Marc Taro Holmes, artist and co-founder of, this self-directed workshop shows you how to draw inspiration from real life and bring that same excitement into your sketchbook. Inside you'll fi nd everything you need to tackle subjects ranging from still lifes and architecture to people and busy street scenes.

  • 15 step-by-step demonstrations cover techniques for creating expressive drawings using pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor.
  • Expert tips for achieving a balance of accuracy, spontaneity and speed.
  • Practical advice for working in the field, choosing subjects, coping with onlookers, capturing people in motion and more.
  • Daily exercises and creative prompts for everything from improving essential skills to diverse approaches, such as montages, storytelling portraits and one-page graphic novels.
Whether you are a habitual doodler or a seasoned artist, The Urban Sketcher will have you out in the world sketching from the very first page. By completing drawings on the spot, in one session, you achieve a fresh impression of not just what you see, but also what it feels like to be there . . . visual life stories as only you can experience them.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - widdersyns - LibraryThing

This is a great book. The techniques and tips given are incredibly useful, for urban sketching and for basic drawing. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - patl - LibraryThing

this is a great one to revisit frequently. In particular, the author does a fantastic job of introducing watercolor to sketch work. Read full review


Bring Sketches
Watercolor Tools Grow a Wash Technique
Create Bold Shadow Shapes Composition the Gallery 124
Values in Ink Straight to Ink sketchbook
Santa Domingo Columbus

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About the author (2014)

Marc Taro Holmes has enjoyed a 25-year career as a professional sketch artist designing creatures and characters at video game and animation studios including Microsoft, Electronic Arts and Disney.
Along the way he joined the international sketching collective as a founding board member, city-correspondent for Montreal, and eventually, a globe-trotting USK workshop instructor.

Marc keeps an ever-growing blog of free drawing and painting lessons at, home of the annual events #OneWeek100People and #30x30DirectWatercolor. He is also the author/presenter of two online sketching courses for

Today, Marc is painting in the studio, developing new work in oils and watercolors. Find out more at

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