100 books like The Art of Urban Sketching

By Gabriel Campanario,

Here are 100 books that The Art of Urban Sketching fans have personally recommended if you like The Art of Urban Sketching. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Ways of Drawing: Artists' Perspectives and Practices

James Hobbs Author Of Sketch Your World: Drawing techniques for great results on the go

From my list on to inspire you to draw.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started drawing in my twenties when I was lucky to meet and be inspired by tutors who passed on their passion for it. I have drawn and kept sketchbooks ever since: they trace the everyday things, my travels and important life events, but they are also places for thoughts and experiments, notes, and phone numbers. I don’t dare leave home without a sketchbook and pen in case I miss some unmissable thing. I went to art college, trained as a journalist, worked at a variety of art publications, have written three books about drawing, and exhibit and sell my drawings and prints. 

James' book list on to inspire you to draw

James Hobbs Why did James love this book?

There’s nothing like looking at the work of other artists to inspire you to draw. In this book, contemporary artists and teachers from the Royal Drawing School in London reflect on drawing and the diversity of ways to go about it through a series of essays that are interspersed with hundreds of drawn images by alumni and leading artists through the ages. A series of practical propositions for you to try out can lead to change and inspiration in your own work, whether it is based in the studio, out in the open, or from your imagination. This book makes drawing seem vital, current, and rich with possibilities. 

By Julian Bell (editor), Julia Balchin (editor), Claudia Tobin (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ways of Drawing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ways of Drawing brings together a sophisticated, exciting range of reflections on markmaking by practising artists, teachers and writers. From explorations of how it feels to draw and personal accounts of artistic development, to short, imaginative propositions for looking, understanding and experiencing afresh, this collection repositions drawing as a vital creative and intellectual endeavour.

The book is divided into three sections: 'Studio Space', which focuses on drawing within four walls; 'Open Space', which ventures out into the cityscapes and landscapes around us; and 'Inner Space', which returns to the living, feeling, drawing person. Each section is comprehensively illustrated with a…


Book cover of Je Suis Le Cahier: The Sketchbooks of Picasso

James Hobbs Author Of Sketch Your World: Drawing techniques for great results on the go

From my list on to inspire you to draw.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started drawing in my twenties when I was lucky to meet and be inspired by tutors who passed on their passion for it. I have drawn and kept sketchbooks ever since: they trace the everyday things, my travels and important life events, but they are also places for thoughts and experiments, notes, and phone numbers. I don’t dare leave home without a sketchbook and pen in case I miss some unmissable thing. I went to art college, trained as a journalist, worked at a variety of art publications, have written three books about drawing, and exhibit and sell my drawings and prints. 

James' book list on to inspire you to draw

James Hobbs Why did James love this book?

I can’t help being inspired by an artist for whom drawing was such a natural, intuitive, lifelong act. Picasso is known to have kept 175 sketchbooks during his lifetime, some linked to his best-known works, such as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. This book (“I Am the Sketchbook”) not only catalogues all 175, but it reproduces six of them in full, revealing a process of trial and discovery. The looseness, the simplicity, the richness, and the joy of enquiring lines and marks in these pages are, to me, an irresistible stimulant to draw. (There’s the occasional dud too, as any sketchbook should have.)

By Arnold Glimcher (editor), Marc Glimcher (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Je Suis Le Cahier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sketchbooks of Picasso is the only collection available of the private sketchbooks of Pablo Picasso, which he began in Barcelona in 1894. For more than seventy years, as the young painter blossomed and matured into the greatest artist of the twentieth century, he kept a record of his ideas and thoughts, so that by 1964 there were 175 sketchbooks, a unique and startling picture of the mind of a genius at work. Accompanying the major sections are essays by six of the greatest American art historians: E.A. Carmean, Sam Hunter, Rosalind Krauss, Theodore Reff, Robert Rosenblum, and Gert Schiff.…


Book cover of Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to Now

James Hobbs Author Of Sketch Your World: Drawing techniques for great results on the go

From my list on to inspire you to draw.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started drawing in my twenties when I was lucky to meet and be inspired by tutors who passed on their passion for it. I have drawn and kept sketchbooks ever since: they trace the everyday things, my travels and important life events, but they are also places for thoughts and experiments, notes, and phone numbers. I don’t dare leave home without a sketchbook and pen in case I miss some unmissable thing. I went to art college, trained as a journalist, worked at a variety of art publications, have written three books about drawing, and exhibit and sell my drawings and prints. 

James' book list on to inspire you to draw

James Hobbs Why did James love this book?

Drawings by artists through the centuries can be a fantastic reservoir of ideas for contemporary artists. This book – published to accompany a British Museum touring exhibition – includes works drawn across a 500-year span, bringing together ancient and modern: Rachel Whiteread and Georges Seurat, Bridget Riley and Albrecht Dürer, Philip Guston and Vincent Van Gogh. The immediacy and directness of drawings from the past means they speak as clearly to us as those that are contemporary. Take, for instance, the 300-year-old brush drawings of Alexander Cozens, which still look thrillingly fresh, or Roger Hilton’s modern, minimalist nude: both make me reach for the pen and paper. The oldest drawings sing alongside the newest and lure me in. 

By Isabel Seligman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lines of Thought as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Looking at works from a range of different artists and their various approaches, this book examines the process and practice of drawing, showcasing artworks from 15th- and 16th-century masters, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, right up to artists working today. In arranging them not by period or style, but by the types of thinking that give rise to them, readers gain fresh insights into the thought processes of some of the world's greatest artists. This thematic rather than chronological structure allows us to place historical drawings side-by-side with modern and contemporary works, to show how artists from widely…


Book cover of Drawing Projects: An Exploration of the Language of Drawing

James Hobbs Author Of Sketch Your World: Drawing techniques for great results on the go

From my list on to inspire you to draw.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started drawing in my twenties when I was lucky to meet and be inspired by tutors who passed on their passion for it. I have drawn and kept sketchbooks ever since: they trace the everyday things, my travels and important life events, but they are also places for thoughts and experiments, notes, and phone numbers. I don’t dare leave home without a sketchbook and pen in case I miss some unmissable thing. I went to art college, trained as a journalist, worked at a variety of art publications, have written three books about drawing, and exhibit and sell my drawings and prints. 

James' book list on to inspire you to draw

James Hobbs Why did James love this book?

This book is great because it combines illuminating interviews with leading contemporary artists who draw, such as Cornelia Parker, Dryden Goodwin, and Charles Avery, with no-nonsense practical projects. The book has the atmosphere of an art school studio about it, which is understandable because it has sprung from the authors’ collective 45 years as artists and lecturers. It feels like a creative launchpad, one that will take your drawings in new exciting directions if you’re prepared to give it a go. This is a book you should get dirty in the studio. I can almost taste the charcoal dust in the air reading this book.

By Mick Maslen, Jack Southern,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Drawing Projects as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Drawing Projects' is both a pratical guide to drawing and an informative insight into the minds of artists who work with the medium.


Book cover of Everyday Matters

Taria Dawson Author Of The Beginner's Guide to Urban Sketching: Everything You Need to Know to Capture Your Favorite Places in Ink and Watercolor

From my list on books to inspire your sketchy adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been sketching the world around me since 2014 after discovering one or two of the books on this list and feeling inspired to do the same. I have travelled and sketched my way through many countries and in 2020, started a blog called Urban Sketching World, sharing tips and tricks I have learnt along the way. This expanded to a YouTube channel called Taria’s Sketchy Adventures, and I am proud to say I have taught hundreds (possibly thousands) of people how to pick up a sketchbook and start recording their own sketchy adventures. I now have my own book published called The Beginners Guide to Urban Sketching.

Taria's book list on books to inspire your sketchy adventures

Taria Dawson Why did Taria love this book?

I think this could have been the book that made me want to sketch the world around me. It’s difficult to pinpoint but let’s just say this book had a huge impact on me, both at the time and my life subsequently.

This a graphic memoir. I am not sure if any other books even exist like this. But Danny shares what happened to his wife one fateful day, the subsequent impact on his family, and how he dealt with it through drawing. Danny’s drawings show that one does not need to be an amazing artist to sketch the world around you. His sketches are a record of a moment in time and not something made to hang on a wall. This was a major revelation to me.

I cannot recommend this book enough.

By Danny Gregory,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everyday Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Persepolis, In the Shadow of No Towers, and Our Cancer Year, an illustrated memoir of remarkable depth, power, and beauty

Danny Gregory and his wife, Patti, hadn't been married long. Their baby, Jack, was ten months old; life was pretty swell. And then Patti fell under a subway train and was paralyzed from the waist down.

In a world where nothing seemed to have much meaning, Danny decided to teach himself to draw, and what he learned stunned him. Suddenly things had color again, and value. The result is Everyday Matters, his journal of discovery, recovery,…


Book cover of Sketch Your World: Essential Techniques for Drawing on Location

Taria Dawson Author Of The Beginner's Guide to Urban Sketching: Everything You Need to Know to Capture Your Favorite Places in Ink and Watercolor

From my list on books to inspire your sketchy adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been sketching the world around me since 2014 after discovering one or two of the books on this list and feeling inspired to do the same. I have travelled and sketched my way through many countries and in 2020, started a blog called Urban Sketching World, sharing tips and tricks I have learnt along the way. This expanded to a YouTube channel called Taria’s Sketchy Adventures, and I am proud to say I have taught hundreds (possibly thousands) of people how to pick up a sketchbook and start recording their own sketchy adventures. I now have my own book published called The Beginners Guide to Urban Sketching.

Taria's book list on books to inspire your sketchy adventures

Taria Dawson Why did Taria love this book?

This is another book I got early on in my sketching career. I love James Hobbs's sketching style. He uses a thick black pen for the most part, and his style is simple–the perfect inspiration for a beginner.

He also includes examples of many other sketchers’ work–all of which emphasise that you do not need to have perfect drawing skills to capture the world around you. As someone who did not do very well in art at school myself, I found this book to be my permission slip to draw anyway.

I learned from this book that drawing is a way to record and understand the world in your own way, not a test on how accurately you can copy it in your sketchbook.  

By James Hobbs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sketch Your World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the Joy of Working on Location!

Breathe the air and hear the sounds, and experience the freshness and energy that working on location brings to your work...a quality that says "I was here." And transports your viewer there, too.

In Sketch Your World, top artists take you back to the scene--be it a bustling cafe, town square, or quiet park--to share the subjects that caught their eye and how they captured them on paper.

Showcases the work and approaches of more than 20 contemporary urban artists. Covers topics such as how to hone observation skills, sketch moving subjects, and…


Book cover of All My Photographs Are Made With Pens

Taria Dawson Author Of The Beginner's Guide to Urban Sketching: Everything You Need to Know to Capture Your Favorite Places in Ink and Watercolor

From my list on books to inspire your sketchy adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been sketching the world around me since 2014 after discovering one or two of the books on this list and feeling inspired to do the same. I have travelled and sketched my way through many countries and in 2020, started a blog called Urban Sketching World, sharing tips and tricks I have learnt along the way. This expanded to a YouTube channel called Taria’s Sketchy Adventures, and I am proud to say I have taught hundreds (possibly thousands) of people how to pick up a sketchbook and start recording their own sketchy adventures. I now have my own book published called The Beginners Guide to Urban Sketching.

Taria's book list on books to inspire your sketchy adventures

Taria Dawson Why did Taria love this book?

Tommy Kane is an insane artist and this book collects together some of his beautiful sketches from all over the world, from both observation and his imagination.

I feel like I am leafing through his sketchbooks. The book is large and beautifully produced so that you can see the artwork in all its glory. Tommy does have another book of drawings, too, which I have yet to purchase, but I am sure I will at some stage!

Tommy has an amazing sketching style influenced by MAD magazine and veganism. I could look at his work forever. Indeed, I regularly get his book from the shelf and leaf through it. 

By Tommy Kane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All My Photographs Are Made With Pens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tommy's new book follows the international success of his first book, An Excuse to Draw. As title suggests, Tommy approaches scenes with a photographic eye but renders them in this trademark detailed drawing style. The subjects are wide ranging including wildlife, models, travel and movie sets and feature his characteristic charm and wit, with astonishing level of detail he is known for. In a style at times reminiscent of cartoonists like Robert Crumb yet always wholly his own, Tommy Kane presents his subjects with a mixture of surrealism, humour and thoughtfulness.


Book cover of Life Is Better When You Draw It

Taria Dawson Author Of The Beginner's Guide to Urban Sketching: Everything You Need to Know to Capture Your Favorite Places in Ink and Watercolor

From my list on books to inspire your sketchy adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been sketching the world around me since 2014 after discovering one or two of the books on this list and feeling inspired to do the same. I have travelled and sketched my way through many countries and in 2020, started a blog called Urban Sketching World, sharing tips and tricks I have learnt along the way. This expanded to a YouTube channel called Taria’s Sketchy Adventures, and I am proud to say I have taught hundreds (possibly thousands) of people how to pick up a sketchbook and start recording their own sketchy adventures. I now have my own book published called The Beginners Guide to Urban Sketching.

Taria's book list on books to inspire your sketchy adventures

Taria Dawson Why did Taria love this book?

Koosje is an incredible art educator, and I was so excited to see she had created a book. This book is super thick and juicy. She shares her sketches from her life, along with exercises and inspiration on how to do the same.

I have followed Koosje for many years, and I love her lighthearted “anyone can do it” approach to teaching and inspiring others to keep a sketchbook of their life. I often return to this book to look through Koosje’s sketches and remind myself of both the value and pure joy sketching your life can bring.

By Koosje Koene, Suzan Colon (editor), Tosca Lindeboom (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life Is Better When You Draw It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The moments of our lives are precious, but they pass so quickly. Drawing these moments—from special trips to our daily coffee—is a way to not only slow down time, but to celebrate it. Capturing in a sketchbook what we see in front of us turns the everyday into the extraordinary. And you don’t need to be born with talent to make art! Artist Koosje Koene has shown thousands of people all over the world the simple, immensely satisfying techniques that can get anyone started on a lifetime of fulfilling fun making art. You don’t need to have an art school…


Book cover of Sketching for the Absolute Beginner

Carole Massey Author Of Drawing for the Absolute Beginner

From my list on how to draw.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved to draw ever since my Dad used to sit drawing with me at the kitchen table when I was little. At Art School we had to spend the first six weeks doing a daily life drawing class before being allowed to pick up a paintbrush! I then studied graphic design setting up my own business, at a time when, without computers, drawing was essential for presenting layout and design. Nowadays, I’m constantly instilling in my students the importance of drawing and sketching. Having been a professional artist all my working life, drawing has been a fundamental element in every way, and all the way.

Carole's book list on how to draw

Carole Massey Why did Carole love this book?

I love sketching and encourage my students to do as much as possible to improve both drawing techniques and observation. In this comprehensive book, Peter guides us through many different aspects of sketching using pencil, pen, and pen & wash, demonstrating his S-E-T method, reminding us constantly to consider Shapes, Edges, and Tones. His drawings and pen and wash studies are a feast for the eyes; he guides the reader through simple step-by-step drawings as well as larger projects, and everything is conveyed in an easy-to-understand way, making it a pleasure to dip into this book.

By Peter Cronin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sketching for the Absolute Beginner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of the best-selling art book, Pure Watercolour Painting and guest judge on Channel 5's Watercolour Challenge, Peter Cronin.

Sketching is more than just drawing quickly. It is training your eye and hand to work together, to respond immediately and naturally to the scene before you.

Starting from a clear, simple method to bring all the senses into play, successful author and acclaimed artist Peter Cronin shows the reader how to bring artistry and economy to their sketching; making for swift and impressive results. Whether sketching as the basis for painting, or simply for pleasure, this book teaches…


Book cover of The Green Sketching Handbook: Relax, Unwind and Reconnect with Nature

Rachael Taylor Author Of Power Up Your Creativity: Ignite Your Creative Spark - Develop a Productive Practice - Set Goals and Achieve Your Dreams

From my list on increase your creative productivity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning art director, creative mentor, and print and pattern designer with nearly two decades of experience working successfully in the creative industries. As a young person, I loved drama, dance, and art, and was constantly bursting with creative passion. As I grew older, I faced doubt from the people around me about pursuing a creative career. I stubbornly pursued it anyway and ignored the naysayers who told me to “stop dreaming” or to “get a real job.” I am now described as a “powerhouse” in the design world and someone who fearlessly strives forward in her creative career and helps thousands around the world to believe in their own creative power.

Rachael's book list on increase your creative productivity

Rachael Taylor Why did Rachael love this book?

I truly adore this book. It was very easy to read and kept my attention (as I usually get distracted so easily). I felt a sense of calm on every page, and Ali's words really resonated with me.

My favourite section was chapter 12, which focused on children as I look forward to some green sketching time with my young son every school holiday.

The book is a great size to carry around and read on the go, and it's beautifully illustrated. It brought me a lot of comfort and encouraged me to slow down in life with a gentle reminder to soak up all the beauty that's around us so we can turn that into a productive practice. A truly special book.

By Ali Foxon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Green Sketching Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A warm and inspiring invitation to put down our phones, pick up a pencil and start really looking at the beauty all around us.' - Kathy Clugston, presenter of Gardeners' Question Time

Learn to let go of your worries and lose yourself in nature with this practical guide to sketching for pleasure, not perfection.

Most of us know that creativity and time outdoors are good for our wellbeing, yet so many of us struggle to find the time or motivation to step away from our screens. But there's a solution! Combining quick and easy exercises with the latest research on…


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