"I never saw myself as Monet in the studio. I wanted to be Anthony Bourdain with a sketchbook." -J.R.
Thank you for looking in. Here you’ll see some of my recent and ongoing projects in the worlds of travel and sketching, video course creation, writing and teaching. I hope you find them interesting and inspiring.
I’m fortunate to have spent a good deal of my career drawing and traveling. More than a hobby, travel and sketching are a perfect pairing, like great food and fine wine. When you're sketching, you're no longer a tourist, you're a traveler. The world is your studio; your sketchbook is your passport. And though my sketchbook collection spans five continents, there are common themes—the search for real places that retain a sense of authenticity, and a focus less on buildings than on what Jan Gehl called "life between buildings"--both the everyday happenings and the energy of the crowd.
Quite often, a curious local will stop and say, “What’s that you’re drawing?” That can be the beginning of a genuine connection that yields remarkable stories and a mutual appreciation that wouldn't have happened without sketching as a catalyst. At best, on-location sketches are a universal language that can bridge differences in language, culture and ideologies, and that prompts locals to say, "You've made me see my own place with fresh eyes!" That’s a very good reason to draw.
It's drawing with a mission, in the long tradition of the artist traveler. It’s a good fit. I never saw myself as Monet in the studio; I wanted to be Anthony Bourdain with a sketchbook. With that motivation, each trip becomes an adventure in seeing, making connections, and in better understanding the world around us. Come along!