“I practice what I teach, and I teach what I was taught—and that’s to draw from life and to draw on location.” So says Matt Rota, an artist known for his high-impact graphic illustrations and urban sketching work.
“From this regular practice I’ve learned how to create forceful narratives and compositions that distill the barrage of visual stimulation in our view down to essential elements. With a single image I get one shot to tell a story, and to do that well, I need to find and communicate what really matters. Depicting that underlying truth simply and honestly will always get a viewer’s attention, because in the end we are all earnest searchers on the hunt for meaning.”
Bringing People and Places to Life
Urban sketching is the perfect way to sketch on the go. The subjects are right in front of you! There are buildings, environments and people galore. It’s easy to head to a park with just a sketchbook and small urban sketching kit. Quick sketches capture the moment in front of you, preserving a little slice of life. Check out the images below from Matt Rota’s sketchbook for inspiration then read on for the key materials you’ll need for building your own kit.
Grab Your Urban Sketching Supplies
Want to try urban sketching yourself? Here are the supplies you’ll need!
1. Hand Book Artist Journal
2. Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook
3. Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour Journal
4. Staedtler Pigment Liner Sketch Pen
5. Derwent Eraser
6. Ecoline Liquid Watercolor Brush Pens
7. Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours Field Box
8. SoHo Urban Artist Colored Pencils
9. Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Water-Soluble Wax Oil Pastels
10. Blick Sketch Pad Board
There are a lot of choices you can make for watercolors to carry with you on your urban sketching adventure. Here are a few that Matt suggests:
1. Sakura Koi Watercolors Field Sketch Travel Kit
2. Rembrandt Luxury Pocket Box
3. Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours Sketchers’ Pocket Box
4. Cretacolor Aqua Brique Set
5. Van Gogh Water Colour Pocket Box
A version of this story appeared in Artists Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.