Saturday, February 4, 2023

Street View World Tour


2/2/23 Chicago skyline (from Google street view image)

2/2/23 Hong Kong (from Google street view image)
Although it’s been going on since the time of pandemic lockdowns, I had never participated in Street View World Tour until Thursday. Ellie Doughty and Jenny Adam co-host the free monthly Zoom event by choosing urban views around the globe for participants to sketch.

February’s theme was skylines. As a warm-up, we spent a few minutes sketching hills above Hong Kong’s skyscrapers (at left).

Each event features a participant who gives a brief demo. Arnaud de Meyer chose to demo a somewhat daunting scene of his home city of Luxembourg (below) with a stone wall surrounding old architecture in the middle ground and modern towers in the background. I used warm and cool hues of the secondary triad to separate the two architectural styles and spaces.

2/2/23 Luxembourg (from Google street view image)

Chicago’s skyline (top of post) was much less daunting, partly because it was familiar to me but maybe more because the buildings could be abstracted more easily into dark and light stripes. With fond memories of sunny days during the Chicago symposium, I chose a summery primary triad for this view taken from a boat in Lake Michigan toward the beach.

My resistance to sketching from photos had always been strongest when the photos were of locations I had never been to, selected by someone else. Everything about that experience seemed counter to aspects I love most about urban sketching. However, getting over my aversion to sketching from portrait photos helped me get over that hump with street view sketching, too. It helps when someone who knows the location talks about it. Street View World Tour will never be the same as sketching on location, but it was fun to sketch the same views with nearly a hundred other sketchers from many different time zones.


  1. That sounds like a fun way to sketch with other people. Is everyone working from the same photo?

    1. Yes -- it's fun to see everyone's take on the same view!


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