This is a view of the now abandoned Elks Club at Broadway and 7th and Broadway in Tacoma, where the Seattle Urban Sketchers joined the Tacoma group for their monthly meeting. While the weather was chilly but sunny, it soon began to sprinkle. You can see the raindrops that began falling as I was doing this sketch.


When the rain turned to hail and got blustery, I retreated to Tully’s Coffee at 9th and Broadway and found myself a spot in the corner offering this view of the Rialto Theater. I began by drawing the frame of the window, Tina Koyama drawing on my left, the Tully’s sign above, and a couple of coffee cups in the foreground. Then I moved to what I saw through the window, starting with the tree trunk and planting area and then moving back to the Rialto Theater itself. The vertical white banding is my effort to erase the gray shadows that appear in the binding when I scan my sketches.

Washington State University


Thanks to Bob Krikac of the Washington State University’s School of Design and Construction, Gabi Campanario, Gail Wong and I were able to spend this past weekend conducting a series of drawing workshops in Pullman, Washington. It was great to see the energy and desire to draw among the mixed group of students, professionals, and individuals simply interested in urban sketching. After the teaching sessions on Saturday and Sunday morning, we all met at Bryan Hall with its iconic clock tower for a final sketchcrawl. Here are two of the three views that I managed to do.


Spring in Seattle

To celebrate the arrival of spring and warm, sunny weather here in Seattle, I offer this 2010 view of the quad on the UW campus with the cherry trees in full blossom.


Also, to recognize the UW’s Suzzallo Library being recognized as “one of the coolest college libraries in the country,” here are two views of the Collegiate Gothic structure, designed by Seattle architects Carl F. Gould, Sr. and Charles H. Bebb in 1923.

SuzzalloExterior SuzzalloInterior

Black and White

With the rise of digital photography color has become pervasive, unlike the film era where black-and-white photography was prized for its confident and raw visual style. In the field of sketching, too, color sketches are often seen as richer and communicating more information than monochrome drawings, which many consider to be primitive and lacking emotion. Yet, utilizing a range of strokes, black-and-white sketches can express a wider range of feelings than one might expect…

from light and airy…


to dark and heavy…


from descriptive…


to illusory…


World Trade Center

I flew to NYC for a presentation Monday evening by Ian Shapiro, co-author of Green Building Illustrated, which was recently published by Wiley. Sponsored by the Urban Green Council, the New York chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, the author talk was held in the beautiful Trespa Design Centre in SOHO.


Driving across the Manhattan Bridge from JFK with Ian that Monday morning, I confronted this distant view of the new WTC. Fortunately, I had some time to go back and capture that urban scene at the corner of Bowery and Canal Street.


After meetings at Wiley the following day, I had some free time to walk around the WTC site, where I found this view of the WTC from the grounds of St. Paul’s Chapel.