tag line

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.



James Richards' work crosses many creative boundaries.  He is a national award-winning designer, author, artist and former university professor whose work explores great places and placemaking around the globe.  He is a former design principal of JJR/inc. (now SmithGroup) and co-founder of Townscape Inc., an award-winning urban design and placemaking consultancy.   

Jim is the author o
f the award-winning book Freehand Drawing and Discovery: Urban Sketching Drawing for Designers, a popular text at design schools across the U.S. and abroad.  He is an Advisory Board member, instructor and blog correspondent for Urban Sketchers, an international non-profit that promotes freehand on-location sketching across disciplines and around the globe.  His on-location sketches have been published worldwide,  appeared in solo and group exhibitions, seen in the National Geographic film Selah and on NBC Nightly News. His solo exhibition "Hemingway's Cuba" was shown in Ernest Hemingway's  estate outside Havana (now a national museum) during the 2015 Havana Art Biennial.  Richards is the first American to show an exhibition at the Nobel Prize-winning author's home.  

Jim is a popular online instructor on Skillshare.com, with a series of classes that teach freehand sketching as a valuable way to see and value culture. His popular Craftsy online sketching course, "Sketching the Energy of Places," has enrolled over 6,000 students, and is now part of The Great Courses series. He is a frequent keynote speaker for conferences and symposia, and travels globally to teach design drawing and urban sketching workshops for artists, designers and travelers. 

As a former senior executive in the energy industry and a background in electrical engineering, Patti Richards brings indispensable technical and management skills to our creative efforts.  She oversees the studio's operations, management, and travel logistics, and assists with on-site workshops.  

A savvy world traveler, she has planned and guided our efforts in major cities, rural towns and remote villages on four continents.