Book Release (and a free downloadable pdf)

My book “The Urban Sketching Handbook: Techniques for Beginners” releases today!

This is a quick little video I created for it. (Sorry about the strange formatting, it’s a square format made for instagram and has odd black borders here)

Over 70 urban sketchers contributed their work to help create this book. There’s content, styles and tips for just about anyone, and lots of inspiration on how to keep on urban sketching, even in these challenging times. Simplified techniques for drawing objects, places, and people are included, along with lots of visuals to explain and inspire. A HUGE thank you to all the urban sketchers who shared their work

Order your copy online today to receive it first. Or, available at your nearest bookstore soon. My local art store in San Jose, A Work of Heart will carry signed copies soon.

And because I think a lot of us, in certain parts of the world, really need a creative break today, I’m sharing a spread from the book as a downloadable pdf.

Click here for a full-sized downloadable pdf

I hope you use it to sketch soon. (If you do, tag me online, I’d love to see your work)

Here is that same content , if you prefer viewing it as a blogpost. This spread is excerpted from the section on “Drawing Objects”. Most sketchers start with line first. For a fresh take jump right into big shapes using the method below.



Sometimes you look at an object and it looks so detailed you don’t know where to start drawing it. Seeing it in big shapes helps simplify and unify all the parts of it.

Step 1. This fire hydrant has a fair amount of detailing, but under all that is a single big shape. I capture that shape first, looking carefully at its silhouette. Switching colors, but continuing in a single shape, I capture it’s shadow to help ground it and add a few spots of color for the fall leaves on the pavement. Just shapes—no details yet.

Step 1: Find the big shapes

Step 2. Observe the smaller shapes created by shadows and rust marks on the hydrant. Look carefully: rarely do you see perfect geometrical shapes you can name. The big yellow shape of the hydrant is cylinder-like, not a perfect cylinder. The smaller shadow shapes on it aren’t shapes you can name either.

Step 2: Add in smaller shapes

Step 3. And to finish, I add just a few details in line.

Step 3: Add in details in line

Seeing in shapes first can be applied to objects small or large. It comes in handy when your subject might move away quickly. You can capture the big shape first, and then record the details in the time you have left.

When I spotted this tree-trimming truck, I quickly recorded a big shape in orange and gray watercolor. In what time I had left, and without waiting for the paint to dry fully, I added detail before it moved away. The suggestions of the road and the tree were added after the truck left.


If you enjoyed this excerpt, you might want to get yourself a copy of the book.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in books, Everyday Sketches, reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Book Release (and a free downloadable pdf)

  1. That looks like a very interesting book, I would download it, but I have so many books of my own that I still have to learn from.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. s. m. says:

    a big congratulations to you, Sudhita.. this will go so well with my Urban Sketching set !… brava.. you could almost open your door and toss it over to me… hope for many sales.. stay safe… Sandra of south San Jose..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nelson Paciencia says:


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations Suhita! This is a wonderful addition to this series of books. I realize how much work goes into this type of project. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on the book. My copy is arriving Friday or Monday from Amazon Australia. I have all the books in the series. I like the small format as you can easily grab one when you are going somewhere to read. I also keep coming back to them. Your book will be a welcome addition to my collection. While the books are compact I do sometimes wish I could see a bigger version of a page. Much like the PDF you shared. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on the book. It looks terrific.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Susanne Haun says:

    Congratulation and good luck with your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Just ordered the book! Can’t wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations. I will purchase your book as I’m currently working my way through this most informative series.

    Liked by 1 person

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