Stephanie Bower

Stephanie Bower | Architectural Illustration: | Sketching Workshops: | Sketches: on Instagram at @stephanieabower & | Urban Sketchers Blog Correspondent | Signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Barcelona 2, Gaudí!!!

Back in Barcelona...when I was in this amazing city for the symposium, I actually missed seeing the amazing architect Gaudí's this time, I made a point of visiting these. What is Barcelona without Gaudí?

The sketch above is one of my favorites from the entire summer. After making my way through the rooms of the Pedrera, or Casa Milà, I emerged into the bright sun and blazing midday heat on the roof...which is literally a hardscape, architectural garden. 

I must tell you, I am VERY afraid of heights (ear issues), so I gingerly made my way around the rooftop, mostly walking in the center away from the edges. The walls along the edges are very low, would never meet codes here! But I found a spot on a step, in the shade of one of the sculptural chimneys, and did this wide-angle sketch looking down a bit into one of the atria and beyond to the city and sky, punctuated by those amazing, sculptural chimneys. Major triumph for me to have confronted my fears and sketched this view, but it was worth it, as I LOVE this sketch!

I kept the sky and the background blue and cool, and painted the warm colors and the sense of sun on the rooftop, trying to reserve as much white as possible. It's in my 5" x 8" Pentalic sketchbook. And I saw Gabi's Urban Sketching Handbooks translated into Spanish in the bookstore!!

I also made the pilgrimage to Gaudí's Casa Batlló, another amazing building in the center of Barcelona. Before going inside, I sat outside to sketch the exterior while the opposite side of the street was still in shade. Only problem was, my view was constantly blocked by huge buses, and I was sitting only about 18" from the curb...a little too up close and personal with those enormous tires!!!

I did this sketch the first day, then really regretted painting in the trees as they block too much (honestly, I need to learn what NOT to paint a little better...), so I went back a second day and tried again from a slightly different angle (less of a bus issue too!)

Which do you think works better???

Sketch day one...

Sketch day two...

Detail of day one sketch.

Next, more Barcelona!! Then Holland, then England...


  1. Stephanie- I like them both for different reasons- I like the darkness of the first one but I love the depth you got on the second floor windows in the second one! I'm so impressed with how you show the variety of detail on the walls without getting so bogged down in them-The suggestion of the detail is wonderful. I find I get too caught up and by the end, the building face was just muddy and that sketch did NOT come home with me! I love your light hand with that-more ideas for things to practice!

    1. Hi Unknown, thanks for your comment! I feel like mine also got muddier than I wanted, it's definitely hard to suggest the textures and keep things light. And I spent forever drawing in those amazing mask-like balconies.

      I love that you like my light hand, and I confess that I actually have a heavy hand when it comes to drawing...the trick is my .5 mechanical pencil!! It keeps me from making lines that are too thick.
      Thanks again for your post,

  2. Your sketches are wonderful and I really enjoy your blogspot. Regarding the Casa Batllo, my favorite is day one with the trees in front because they add the organic energy that's found in Gaudi's architecture. The trees wiggle and curve with the building. Both images, day one and day two, have the mosaic sparkle that brings interest to the facade. I'm learning a lot from you!

    1. Hi Beth, thank you so much--it means so much to me that you write that you enjoy this blog and are learning a lot from all this! I don't have very many followers here, so I really appreciate each and every one of you!

      I also like the way I drew the architecture in the first one, and I did spend longer on that one...maybe that's why. But I also like how you can read the second floor in the angled view, and it's a little more's something I need to work on, adding more movement to my sketches by picking more dynamic views. It's really a work in progress for us all, isn't it??