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SKETCHBOOK: a creative tool and a way of life that celebrates design and drawing as vital ways to see and value culture, to discover ideas, and to envision a better world.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Return from Barcelona!

I've just returned from Barcelona, where I taught sketching workshops at the 4th International Urban Sketching Symposium.  It was a fantastic experience; an uplifting event in a beautiful, life-affirming city.  150 participants were registered from 30 different countries; workshops were taught by instructors from across the globe.  In addition, scores of sketchers who weren't able to register for the sold-out event came to the city anyway to draw and to be a part of this "happening."

My workshop was called "Life Between Buildings: Capturing the Energy."  It dealt with drawing city life in the public realm...going beyond an "accurate rendering" to conveying the exuberance of urban life in the streets and plazas of great cities.  So, yes, I went to Barcelona to hang out in bustling plazas, draw, share my passion with like-minded sketchers from all over the world.  Seriously, does it get much better?

I'll be posting drawings and photos from Barcelona and the Symposium here over the coming days...come back, check out the latest posts, and leave your comments...Cheers!
This is my sketch of the famous Casa Mila by the architect Antonio Gaudi, who I call "the Jimi Hendrix of 20th centery architecture." I did the line drawing on our first afternoon in the city, and returned on our last morning to add color.

This line drawing of Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia was done on our first afternoon in Barcelona, with several sketchers from France.  I added color later in the studio, trying to capture the uplifting exuberance of this amazing sight.

Working with workshop participants in Barcelona's bustling main plaza, the city's "outdoor living room."


  1. I am dripping with envy and looking forward to your posts, love it!

    1. Thank you Don; great hearing from you! I'm actually in Boston right now planning a sketchcrawl here for November. I'll be back in Texas Monday and will resume posts then.

  2. Hi there James!
    Great drawings, you definitely captured the light of the buildings and the city!!!
    Really happy I choose to take your workshop on the first morning of the Symposium, your energy and good mood set me up for the following days! You also set high standard for the rest of workshops.
    A pleasure to meet you and your lovely wife Patti!

    Regards from Barcelona

    1. Hello Cesar! Thanks for your kind words; it means a lot to me that you found the workshop a good experience. And thanks to you for your leadership and hospitality while we were in your city. I hope we get many more opportunities to share sketching and friendship.

  3. Hi, Jim, it was great to meet you and your wife in Barcelona . I would have liked to have more time to speak with you, but we know how absorbing the USks symposiums are... At least I made your portrait, oh yes !

    Hope to see you soon !

    1. Patrizia, it was a great pleasure to see you again. I too wish we had more time to converse and catch up, but it is a great thing to reconnect with such talented and interesting friends from around the world even briefly. If you have time, send me a copy of the portrait you drew to jim@townscape.com ! Hope to see you next summer!