Celebrating the Freehand Renaissance--sketching as a vital way to see and value culture, and to envision a better world.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Freehand Drawing and Discovery in Iran

This week I've received correspondences from Maryam Mojtabavi, an enthusiastic lecturer in the Department of Architecture, Asrar Institute of Higher Education in Mashhad, Iran, who told me that she and her students were using my book, Freehand Drawing and Discovery, in their architecture  curriculum.  This morning I received several photos she sent of her students and their work, in which they were emulating and interpreting my drawings in the book.  I was truly moved, and grateful for the gesture.  This, above all, is the reason for all the hours and effort that go into writing a book like FDD--to pass the flame from one mind to another, across the world, across cultures, to new generations.  I thought you'd enjoy seeing them as well.  Thank you Maryam, and thanks  to your talented students.  Happy New Year.




Monday, December 29, 2014

"If You Don't Want to Change the World, Why Bother?"


A quick doodle of Peter Walker made in my pocket notebook during his session at the ASLA Annual Meeting in Denver.

At the recent Annual Meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in Denver, I was fortunate enough to snag a 2nd row seat in an educational session that featured renowned landscape architect Peter Walker. Walker's iconic works and towering influence in the world of environmental design over 50 years continues to fascinate and inspire me and countless others, but this session took me back to the first time I heard him.  It was 1976, and I was a green, 20-year-old design student traveling the East Coast of the U.S. with my landscape architecture classmates from LSU.  Our travels had brought us to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where Walker was serving as Chair of Landscape Architecture.  In an early morning, informal discussion, Walker's thoughts turned to career advice for our cadre of aspiring designers.  He spoke of the massive positive changes landscape architecture could have on our cities, our country and beyond, but that making a difference would take a tremendous amount of energy, focus and dedication on our part. In speaking of the challenges ahead of us as students and professionals, he said, "There are lots easier ways to make a living.  If you don't want to change the world, why bother?"

Those words come back to me often, and I share them with my students every year.

Who are your influences?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Jim's Sketches Available as High Quality Prints

Hello everyone!  I hope you're enjoying the holiday season wherever you are in the world.  Over time, many people have asked me, "Do you ever sell your work?" The truth is that I never created sketches with the idea of selling them; they were a means to my own growth, to understanding the world I was living and traveling in, and occasionally to accompany stories or articles I'd written.  This week Patti and I set up an online storefront through Society6 to make prints available to those who've requested them.  It will allow anyone to purchase high-quality prints of many of my favorite sketches on paper or canvas.  Framed prints are available as well.  Please take a look around the site and tell me what you think.  If you don't see one of my sketches there that you'd like me to add, let me know.  I'd love to hear from you, on this site or at jim@townscape.com.  Thanks, and Happy New Year to all!  -Jim
Here's the link:  James Richards Prints


The Ruins of Kilchurn Castle in the Scottish Highlands is one of the images available as a high quality print.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

An Interview for Wanderarti

I'm delighted that Lizzie Davey invited me to do an interview for her stunning art and travel website, Wanderarti.  You'll enjoy browsing the site and sampling the great variety of fascinating posts.  Here's the link to my interivew; I hope you enjoy it.
Wanderarti: James Richards interview


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Greetings from Times Square!

Times Square drawn on location with Lamy Safari pen and watercolor.  Very hot!


Here's a fun one from this week's trip to New York.  I've wanted to draw Times Square for decades, but never found myself in the right place/time/circumstances.  So here we are!  For this 20-minute sketch drawn on location from those bleachers at the north end of the "square," I tried to focus detail and color to convey the high energy of the scene, especially the crowds of people moving through. I'd hoped to get out and sketch it at least once more while we were there, but this one will have to do...for now.  Already looking forward to a return visit.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

As the train pulls away in Fort Worth...

Today's sketch at Fort Worth's T&P Station...this is the afternoon train to Dallas, pulling away as i was finishing the sketch.  A great afternoon with lots of sketch buddies!


High energy with big diesel engines running, bells ringing and whistles blaring...this is the real deal.