About me

How did you get into Urban Sketching?
When I was in art school, I would go into downtown Vancouver and draw the urban things that my suburban satellite city didn't have. There were things like tall buildings, alleys, tugboats and people in a much busier environment. I guess I was urban sketching before I even knew that 'this was a thing'.

I was drawing less as time went on but when I was living in Scotland, the relatively different look of things made me pick it up again. I also switched to using a ballpoint pen at that time. The pencil in my older sketchbooks were blurring from the gentle smudging of the pages.

Sketching the breakwater at Port Taranaki, New Plymouth, New Zealand. (Jan 2013)
I'm now living in New Zealand and it's motivating to find others, locally and internationally, who just want to draw, like a good sketchcrawl and are generally into the urban sketching thing. Seeing everyone's great drawings makes me want to draw each sketch better than my last one.

What materials do you use? Describe your technique:
Pretty much all my drawings here are done with a ballpoint pen on location. I don't use pencil first since I find that a ballpoint can make a light enough line without committing too much ink right away. I do however rip out a LOT of pages from my sketchbook. My technique is pretty unforgivable if something is majorly wrong. Often, I will return for more than one sitting or draw 'just enough' to finish it at home (like shading).
If I colour a sketch, I use Photoshop and a graphics tablet. I paint 'behind it' with the black lines on top since to me the sketch is still king and I like the comic book style result. Usually, my drawings are detailed enough with enough information that I can remember what colour everything is. Sometimes I might come back for a second look or take a photo to help me remember the types of colours things are. In many cases, I will just guess most of the colours!

Original sketch with ballpoint pen, done on location.


Same sketch with digitally painted background, added in later.