About nine years ago, something wonderfully sketchy happened. In 2003, Danny Gregory's book 'Everyday Matters' was published and a year later, Danny founded an online group of that same name. In his original and powerful book, Danny promoted the idea of sketching your life as a way to live it more fully.
In the same period, Enrico Casarosa started his Worldwide Sketchcrawls, where participants spend a designated day sketching and afterwards, share their work with each other, again online. Danny's and Enrico's stunningly successful groups showed us what 'going viral' meant, back when that phrase was still in its toddlerhood.
In 2007, Gabi Campanario had his own brilliant idea, creating an online group called Urban Sketchers, with correspondents he'd selected from all over the world. The goal? "To show the world, one drawing at a time." Talk about going global. Gabi and his website have done it.
If Danny and Enrico were the founding giants of the sketch movement, and Gabi their successor in the Big Ideas category, Cathy Johnson, with her books on sketching and illustrated journaling and her various websites, has been the movement's wise woman, teacher, and generous mentor. Her encouragement, both private and published, has drawn many, many into the sketching fold.
Several books have come out of the movement already, in addition to those by Danny and Cathy, but I want to talk about two very recent ones that are as inspiring as can be: 'The Art of Urban Sketching' by, who else, Gabi Campanario and 'Here & There,' by Miguel Herranz.
Gabi's book features the work of dozens of Urban Sketchers, including, I'm proud to say, my own. It's handsomely designed and laid out and, with the variety of styles and approaches it includes, it has a near-encyclopedic reach. It's such fun to see the kind of things sketchers can get up to! AND it's the Number One seller in books on painting at Amazon as of this writing! I won't go into great detail about it, because it's already much touted, but just in case you've been distracted lately, I wanted to bring it to your attention. You need this book.
Miguel Herranz's 'Here and There' is at the other end of the encyclopedic spectrum. It is Miguel's work we see here, and only his. Like Gabi's book, Miguel's is artfully composed. Production quality is very high, which, it must be said, is not all that typical of independently published sketchbooks. And then there are the drawings themselves. You'll want to see these not only for their vitality and charm and luscious technique, but because you can trace Miguel's evolution as a sketcher on these pages. Mind you, he IS a professional illustrator, but you can still see a significant evolution in his drawing tecnhnique as he, having taken up drawing as a daily practice, gets better and better and even better. All of the drawings in 'Here & There' are lovely, fun, and full of personality. There are some drawings that will simply take your breath away.
We like sketches better, sometimes, than paintings because they are so direct, so here and now. They're personal, they're handmade, and really, anyone can produce them. You may not be another Miguel Herranz or Cathy Johnson, but you CAN sketch, you know. (Read Danny's book, if you don't believe me.)
Or you can just look at and enjoy the work you'll find in these two books.
Oh, go ahead. Either way. And let me know what you think.