Urban Sketching 101 with Patrick Vale

If I ask you about how your day was, you’ll probably list the errands which came by, few unique things you might have noticed, the weather, work and at last an exciting or tiresome element. But would you recall the buildings you crossed as you drove by to work or a man reading a book in the metro sitting right next to you? The signage boards in electric blue you might have seen while you walked down to meet a friend or a woman sipping on her coffee at a cafe you might have visited?


Beyond our capability to recall all of these minute details we are surrounded by through out the day and the entire time of our lives, comes a man with an extra ordinary sense of capturing the enormous stretch of the city which encompasses millions of lives, moments and innumerable details. Meet Patrick Vale, London based artist who admirably captures cityscapes, people and scenes from his daily life in the form of sketches in ink.


Call it magic, but this man successfully captures every single detail one could possibly think of in his sketches. The entire cityscape bound together by a variety of stories and emotions to which the viewer connects instantaneously, wondering as to how this was made. Every single stroke, line and shape that’s drawn on the paper is either drawn live as seen by Patrick or is documented in photographs for future reference. An excerpt from Patrick Vale’s website  gives us a deep insight about his passion for urban sketching,

When folk look at Patrick’s absorbing drawings, some worry that there’s something wrong with him; that he’s obsessive or has OCD, ­but that assumption gives way to one of euphoria. Actually, ‘looking’ is an inaccurate way to describe the reaction; it’s more of a feeling of being seduced into a view that he’s already experienced and he’d be pleased if you, the viewer vicariously enjoyed what he was amazed by in the first place.

 London, New York and San Francisco are the cities which have been sketched by a variety of pantones, microns, rotrings and other sorts of pens in a pocket sketchbook Patrick carries with him at all times. Usually the scheme is monochrome, but if you end up seeing random people and buildings as subjects painted in watercolor and oil paint, don’t be surprised. Patrick Vale doesn’t only work with ink but with a sweet assortment of media consisting of his iPad as well.

One Day Walk



Remnants of a one day walk in London captured on a huge map with the paths they traced through the day and the city, capturing various subjects. Keep an eye for the ticket numbers, signage and various other short notes in the entire frame made by Pat.

Paul Davis and I took a walk around the East End of London, taking in Bethnal Green, Spitafields, Liverpool Street and then down through the City to the Thames. We stopped for light refreshment on the way. What we saw, heard and learnt was drawn onto a wall at the Andaz Hotel, Liverpool St. London.


 Colossus NYC 2015


A cold winter afternoon on top of a building, giving us colossus; One of Patricks commendable, mind boggling and inception like works. Just look at the scale of each building, if it’s hard to define it in words; Can you imagine how difficult would it be to bring the scene to life on paper?

I spent a very cold afternoon on top of a very tall building in New York. The view was jaw-dropping.

Pat’s Pocket Sketchbook





Surreal, isn’t it? Patrick has given us a new perspective of viewing what our eyes really see in a creative fashion, with a knack of catching detail. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but the power to bring it on paper, well we know the answer by now.

To see more of Patrick’s escapades and works, do follow him on Instagram and Twitter!

Image Courtesy: www.patrickvale.co.uk


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *