Book Review: The World of Urban Sketching by Stephanie Bower


The full title of this book is The World of Urban Sketching: Celebrating the Evolution of Drawing and Painting on Location Around the Globe – New Inspirations to See Your World One Sketch at a Time. The author is Stephanie Bower, an urban sketcher, teacher, illustrator and architect based in Seattle.

Disclaimer: Stephanie Bower is a friend of mine and had asked me to contribute some sketches (page 215) for the book. And this book is a review copy sent to me from the publisher Quarry Books. This book will only be out on 29 Nov 2022 with pre-orders open now. If you happen to be in Singapore, the book is already available at Basheer Graphic Books – books were printed in Singapore.

In case you don’t know, urban sketching is sketching on location and is a popular activity with many urban sketching groups (called chapters) around the world. There are also international events such as USk symposiums, AsiaLink sketchwalks and travelling workshops. FYI, the 2023 Urban Sketchers Symposium will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, from April 19 to 22.

The World of Urban Sketching can be seen as a sequel to The Art of Urban Sketching by Gabriel Campanario which was published in 2012. That book by Gabi is still one of my favourite urban sketching books so I was really excited to learn that Stephanie is coming up with this sequel.

This book’s a 240-page paperback packed with beautiful sketches from 150 urban sketchers from 40 countries. It’s incredibly inspiring to see such a diverse variety of styles and places featured. This is the book that will make you want to travel and sketch. All sketches are accompanied by short stories, drawing tips and the occasional “a-ha” moments. There are also some spotlights covering drawing greenery, food, the USk Symposium in Amsterdam, AsiaLink in Taichung and sketching during Covid lockdowns.

The enthusiasm for sketching on location from the sketchers featured seems through the pages. The best thing about urban sketching is the experience you get while drawing. You get to form a deeper connection with whatever you’re drawing and you get to remember the experience vividly. Even mundane everyday subjects such as potted plants along a corridor can look interesting when you’re an urban sketcher.

This book is packed with wonderful art, stories and inspiration and is a book I can recommend easily. This is one of my favourite artbooks in 2022.

The World of Urban Sketching: Celebrating the Evolution of Drawing and Painting on Location Around the Globe – New Inspirations to See Your World One Sketch at a Time is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | AU | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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That’s my little contribution to the book.

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