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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.


Purchase on Amazon.com

Freehand Drawing and Discovery has become an international favorite reference and a must-have source of inspiration for students, urban designers, landscape architects, architects, urban sketchers, and anyone interested in the world-wide sketching phenomenon.  This national award-winning book, with 286 pages and over 300 full color illustrations, uses the author’s experiences sketching across 45 countries and teaching workshops in the U.S. and abroad to make urban sketching and concept drawing less rigid and more accessible.  It uses clear, step-by-step demonstrations to break down complex visual environments into loose, lively sketches.

The book is accompanied by access to 90 minutes of online video tutorials, which allow the reader to literally watch over Jim’s shoulder while he demonstrates an array of freehand sketching techniques in real time.  The book also features contributions by an international group of award-winning professionals, each of whom keep freehand sketching at the center of their creative process.

The book is widely used as a text at design schools across the U.S. and abroad, and has been translated into Modern and Orthodox Chinese, Russian and Korean.  It was a Number 1 Bestseller in Architecture for Amazon.com, and received a National Honor Award in Communications from the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Excerpts from reviews:
Link to video preview

"I love this book! James Richards has created a drawing guide that is so joyful, exuberant and empowering that anyone who draws or anyone who wishes to draw should add this to their permanent library. This book transcends the mere how-to and reaches right to the core of why we draw and how we create. Both the text and the illustrations offer powerful insights into the creative process. I love how each page of text offers a core idea that is highlighted and reinforced by the lay-out and how each page is simply beautiful to look at.  This book is a must have for anyone seeking to understand and refine their own creative process."  -Amazon customer review

"When I received Freehand Drawing and Discovery I had no idea how it would change my perspective and understanding of the skills we acquire as designers and the way they can influence our development as professionals on a daily basis. This book is an astonishing guide to learning a new language of expression and relationship to the surrounding world through freehand drawing!" -Landscape Architect's Network.

Book signing in Boston.
"I am so very, very glad I purchased this book. It is high quality, nice paper, and binding. It is printed in the USA, and includes instructional videos. The book alone is worth the price -- the videos are PRICELESS!  For once, I feel like I am really learning something! The book is very engaging, I have a new found enthusiasm for sketching!"  -Amazon customer review

"From start to finish, Freehand Drawing & Discovery masterfully achieved what it set out to: it made me want to draw again."    -Spacing: Canadian Urbanism Uncovered


  1. Hi Jim!
    I purchased your book on Amazon and could not access the tutorial videos mentioned above and on the card attached at the end of the book. Is there a different link I should use other then the one provided? Also, I have purchased your Craftsy class and absolutely love it. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  2. Hi James,

    is this 90 minutes of online video tutorials along with book is same courses which is available as crafty classes , I have bought the book which will take a while to arrive.

    1. There is some overlap, but there are also segments of the book's video that are not covered in the Craftsy course. I hope you find it helpful.

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