Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book Review: Urban Sketching the Freedom Trail

An Urban Sketchers blog correspondent for Boston, Mike Daikubara has a keen eye for the “story” in a sketch. He views a building, a dinosaur skeleton, a Mack truck or a meal shared with friends, and by sketching it, probes the subject with the quirky curiosity of a journalist. In his latest book, Urban Sketching the Freedom Trail, Mike spent every Saturday one summer walking the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail in Boston, sketching each of the famous cornerstones that commemorate the birth and early years of our country. In the margins of the wonderful sketches are questions in his mind as he sketched, conversations he overheard, funny observations or called-out details he wanted to highlight. Maps and a key to the sites make it easy for Boston visitors to use the book as a fun guide while walking the Trail.

One of my favorite sketches shows the King’s Chapel’s columns, which appear to be made of stone, he explains. But the columns’ chipped paint reveals that they are actually made of wood, and his sketch includes a detail showing his discovery. In another that shows the top of a fountain too tall to fit on his sketchbook page, he simply bends it to fit! More than a collection of urban sketches, the book tells his unique story of the Freedom Trail as seen through his eyes.

Mike has published several other books, including a collection of incredibly detailed, to-scale schematic diagrams of every hotel room he has slept in (again, the margins contain humorous commentary that anyone who has ever stayed in a hotel can relate to)! I’m looking forward to more books by this intrepid urban sketcher.

(This review also appears on

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