I am an Urban sketcher


ending with genève

Le Jet D'eau | celebration on the eve of Switzerland's birthday
Vielle Ville | Dinner at restaurant Les Amures

Switzerland is an amazing country and I'm glad to be ending my trip in Geneva. On the eve of Switzerland's birthday, the shops are all closed and tourists and residents have crowded the promenade around Lac Leman to enjoy gelati and rides on the carousel.

The Swiss really have a great lifestyle. The air smells delicious, the human beings are friendly, and the water from the public fountains tastes fantastic.

After enjoying a delicious dinner in the old village of Geneva, I made some quick sketches on the napkin that took no longer than a minute. Its the actual act of sketching on the napkin that makes it so enjoyable. For a medium that costs almost nothing and is so ubiquitous, I find it to be so fun and easy to draw on.


fingerpainting hamburg-altona

| Hamburg Altona

The sky had just cleared while the sinking sun broke through the horizon. Altona is a fantastic area of Hamburg. There are always street artists, hippies and panhandlers giving the cobblestone streets its own characteristic different from the rest of the city. This is an intersection close to the office where we often walk by whilelooking for a place to eat.

After drawing the lines, I realized that I forgot my brush back in the office so I found a clean puddle and used the water to help mix the colors with my fingers. It was messy but there is something in spontaneous methods that may not give the sketch a great appearance but the different types of last minute experimentation makes sketching fun.


hamburg's good beer

Alsterwasser | enjoyed on a beach located by the deep sea ports

In N. America, we have Budlight lime which is really watered down beer but Hamburg's own Astra creates a refreshing mix of "sprite" and beer. Perfect for the Hamburg's recent hot weather. Their old school bottles have pretty funny looking proportions.

Rathaus | Downtown Hamburg

The streets are wide, the buildings are low, and the beer is good. This is the city hall located in front of a large public plaza where everyone has ice cream or a cold bottle of beer in their hands.


tour de suisse

Geneva | Cathedral St. Pierre

Geneva is very much like Vancouver but probably much better. Water, mountains, tourists, great living environment... but Geneva's history is much more exciting. The way the old city streets twist and turn with stairs haphazardly shoved into the topography really provides a fun experience.

Ronchamp | Boulangerie... something

The highlight of the entire trip was being in the Chapel of Ronchamp. The process of getting to the Chapel helps build up the drama of being in the Chapel. It's hard to fully understand LeCorbusier's work until actually seeing the fine details and experiencing the physical spatial dimensions.
Bern | Tibits Cafe

With the expensive swiss rail passes, Ali and I could travel anywhere and whenever we wanted. After Basel, we went to Bern and just sat in a coffee shop by Tibits. It was awesome to not be on any schedule.


die schweiz

Cafe Fortuna | Basel, Switzerland

After seeing some high caliber quality architecture I've noticed that composition makes everything. It is not a technique or strategy emphasized only during the modern period but a regulation that helps control the small and large scale.

This is one of the many "caffeine" sketches. I was hoping to upload 2 napkin sketches as the first Swiss post but I think I may have accidentally misplaced them on the wet cobblestones of Geneva's old city.

thanks to R.Petrie -the Stillman Birn sketchbook is great! I'm guessing they had to use coils cause of the papers thickness. Having filleted corners and flat binding would be easier but the quality of the paper is pretty top notch.



I've sketched lots. I might wait till Hamburg where I may or may not find decent scanners to help publish the sketches. But for now, images may be best to describe a decent experience in Geneva so far. 3 of the most exciting places...
SANAA |Rolex Learning Center, Lausanne
This sleek white pavilion is quite the trek from Lausanne's train station.
An amazing characteristic of this "one room" building is that the gentle sectional changes adequately separates the different programs where ten meters from a bustling cafe is a quiet and lovely nap time area. As gentle and clean as the building seems, there is a lack of consistent language on the interior... Ramps are shoved into the curved floor plates to allow for wheel chairs to pass through... figural kiosks break the experience of the visual clarity.

L.Corbusier |Rue de Saint Laurent 2
They say that there is a Corb building in Geneva and when I accidentally strolled by this guy, I instantly noticed the massive thresholds similar to the Carpenter Center's. This residential/office building doesn't appear to be fully a Corb work because of the marble veneer, choice of dark steel and heavy shutter machinery.

Eglise de Protestant? |Rue de Madeleine
I snuck into the bell tower and attic space above the vaulted ceilings. It was thrilling.


note taking

It has been awhile since I've placed the nib down on paper but now that design studio's final is over, there should be a lot more ink/color/graphite/various stains on paper. I flipped through my sketchbook today after having a very enjoyable lunch with R. Petrie and realized some notes in between drawing pages. -Thanks for the cookies and sketchbook by the way.
I've also been urged to post something new...

This is an angry page. I'm not often flushed with anger but the process of taking a wet brush over the inked surface is actually quite therapeutic and helps with relaxing the source of anger.

A quick and simple coffee research done in Ambienta Cafe, Tsawwassen.

An example of my father's brush work in my sketchbook. This is my original name in mandarin (ma-duo-zen) that my grandfather came up with. Every character was delicately selected and juxtaposed beside each other because they pose multiple meanings. Great emphasis was placed into understanding the number and direction of strokes as they form a type of reading into the possible personality of the person which is a belief that comes from an integrated traditional Chinese and Buddhist view.