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Freehand Drawing and Discovery: Urban Sketching and Concept Drawing for Designers Hardcover – February 4, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1118232101 ISBN-10: 1118232100 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Featured Content from Author Jim Richards [Click Images to Enlarge]

Kombi Van
Sketched on location while waiting for a bus in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. These delightful refreshment stops seemed to be everywhere in southeastern Brazil. Richards was particularly taken with the happy coconut drinks on the roof of this one. He used a Microperm 05 permanent ink pen and watercolor in a large Moleskine watercolor sketchbook. The line sketch and watercolor went very fast, about 20 minutes total.

Machu Picchu
Sketched on location in the Peruvian Andes. It was mid-afternoon, after many tourists had left. Perched on a boulder, Jim Richards used a Microperm 05 permanent ink pen and watercolor in a large Moleskine watercolor sketchbook. The line sketch took about 20 minutes; watercolor took another 20 minutes.

From the Back Cover

"The things we learn about our environment when we draw on location help us as we imagine, draw, and design the future."
—Francis D.K. Ching

While computer-aided design has changed the way designers explore and communicate their visions, freehand drawing remains an essential skill for capturing a flow of visual ideas and developing them on the spot. Freehand Drawing & Discovery takes an updated and practical approach to using hand sketching in a digital world, employing a "both/and" philosophy that shows you how to rapidly capture ideas with hand sketching that can then be further explored and refined using digital tools.

Created by an urban designer and blog correspondent for Urban Sketchers, this resource-rich, user-friendly guide provides step-by-step instruction on drawing tools and techniques. It offers practical suggestions on how to use freehand sketching skills in conjunction with digital tools on real-world projects. Freehand Drawing & Discovery:

  • Crosses disciplinary boundaries, from architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture to the widely diverse Urban Sketching community
  • Covers sketching tools and techniques, location sketching, concept sketching, and digital sketching
  • Includes nearly 300 full-color drawings, including contributions by Michael Vergason, Kevin Sloan, Christine Ten Eyck, Luis Ruiz, Gabriel Campanario, Liz Steel, Kim Perry, Bob Hopewell, and a special contribution on digital design sketching by Robert Chipman
  • Features access to video tutorials in which the author demonstrates techniques for creating sketches from your imagination, on location, sketching on a digital tablet, and painting with watercolors

Freehand Drawing & Discovery is a must-have handbook for students and professionals in urban planning, landscape architecture, and architecture. It is also a rewarding resource for general artists, sketchers, and anyone interested in the Urban Sketching phenomenon.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118232100
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118232101
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

JAMES RICHARDS, FASLA, is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington, and is cofounder and Principal of Townscape Inc., an urban design consultancy based in Dallas, Fort Worth and Vancouver. He is a national award-winning designer, writer and lecturer whose work spans landscape architecture, town planning, and urban design. Mr. Richards is a blog correspondent for Urban Sketchers (www.urbansketchers.org), an international non-profit dedicated to the promotion of freehand location sketching across disciplines and around the globe. He has traveled and sketched in 34 countries to date, and conducts sketching workshops for students and professionals internationally.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne M. Smith on January 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As someone who's always on the lookout for beautiful art books, I immediately responded to James Richard's book: Freehand Drawing & Discovery/Urban Sketching and Concept Drawing for Designers. It will definitely become one of my treasured art books in my personal library, and it's a book I know I'll return to again and again.

James' loose, confident, artistic style has long been a favorite of mine, and his book is just chock-full of beautiful sketches, insights into his methodology, drawing tips and lessons, and wonderful visual examples of his processes. Whether he's describing how to simplify complicated images before him, how to figure out vantage points and perspective, how to include figures in scenes, or how to create a sense of depth in landscapes, his examples are insightful and clear.

He also generously shares his pages with other artists who share his passion for sketching in the moment, and their beautiful images grace his pages while these artists also describe their creative processes. It's exciting to see that the artistic community is alive and well and living, as evidenced by the work displayed within these pages.

James also touches upon proficiency in design concept sketching as a springboard for merging freehand skills with digital representation technology.

As he says so well himself, "drawing offers a rewarding way of seeing and understanding the world." This book inspires and makes you want to pick up a pen, pencil and/or brush and have at it! Finally, the book even has instructions for accessing online tutorial videos! It's a wonderful reference book for anyone interested in art, or for those exploring their own creativity.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Length: 1:16 Mins
Freehand Drawing and Discovery is a book on sketching. Written by James Richards, a member of Urban Sketchers, the book is a collection of tips and insight on sketching.

The tips are practical and accompanied by many beautiful examples from the author and other guest artists. There are info on creating textures, drawing simple figures in perspective, understanding what can be added to make a good picture, etc.

It's not a totally hands-on tutorial book so you'll need to know how to draw first at a basic level. The book is more like a supplement to help you improve your observation and understanding of the scene.

There are various guest artists interviews with Michael Vergason, Kevin Sloan, Luis Ruiz, Gabriel Campanario, Liz Steel and others. They share their stories and experiences and you can understand easily why they are thrilled by sketching, and be inspired by them.

The latter chapters cover more experimental sketching, like using the Google Sketchup 3D software for reference, and sketching over photographs.

The book also includes more than an hour of helpful online tutorial videos.

It's an inspiring book. Highly recommended to everyone who sketches.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By ChristineMM TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am an amateur artist who enjoys sketching and drawing and art journaling. I am not an expert or professional artist or designer, and do not pretend to be.

This book is in the category of nonfiction books which are published for professionals in a career field but which contain a lot of useful information and inspiration for amateurs as well. By this I mean, if you are an architect or designer and can use 100% of the content of this book, that's great for you, but amateurs may also read the book and get a lot out of it while not needing a certain portion of the book. That is okay with me; some amateurs (like me) would rather have information overkill and get the good from the book than to never have benefited from reading it. (Last week I came across the same exact situation for organic gardeners where the title and some of the content was geared toward professional landscapers but where 90% of the info can inform and be used by the home gardener. The authors were begging home gardeners to not shy away from the book because the word professional was in the subtitle.)

Richards is of the generation who learned to draw by hand first, and then later the digital revolution came along and he learned how to use computer software to combine the two in his architectural work. The current generation of designers is said to have been taught to go directly to digital rendering. Richards and other professionals highlighted in the book argue that freehand drawing makes designers better designers for multiple reasons. The biggest argument is that sketching by hand as a tactile experience opens up creativity. The power of observation that is honed by sketching regularly, perhaps a small sketch a day, helps train the eye of the artist/designer.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Mutt VINE VOICE on March 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Freehand Drawing and Discovery fills a large and frustrating gap in the information market by making the leap from field doodling to full scale, full color field art and design. The techniques range from rapid capture of visual information and ideas, staging scenes, using sketches to create designs, use of scaling and perspective, all the way to the types of equipment available and tips on their usage. I feel a bit overwhelmed by it all - before I got this book I was starving for this information and now I'm at a buffet.

My recommendation is for anyone interested in field rendering to start with something basic like Lasaeu's Freehand Sketching, then graduate to this book. The benefit to this is you will feel less intimidated by the author's clean, beautiful work once you have a better understanding of how to make your sketching style meet your needs. Laseau's Visual Notes for Architects and Designers is another book I would strongly recommend for anyone interested in field work, as it covers the topic of maintaining notebooks and using sketches as a method of design reconnaissance rather than an end in itself.

In sum, this book is not going to teach you how to sketch, but it will allow you to use your sketching abilities to better explore your surroundings and capture ideas and information. It also won't teach you how to create precise schematics, but you can always use a CAD tool to clean up and formalize a field drawing. On the other hand it is far harder to use a CAD tool to capture ideas in the wild, which is most often where inspiration strikes and where you are face to face with live, visual input.

Anyone looking to expand their field of vision, generate more and better ideas, or gain a greater appreciation for their surroundings will benefit highly from this book.
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