1st Edition

Field Sketching for Environmental Designers

By Chip Sullivan Copyright 2024
    218 Pages 405 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 405 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This graphic sketchbook is a primer for sparking imagination and creativity in landscape architecture and urban design drawing. Field Sketching for Environmental Designers is an ideal guide and companion for both beginning and advanced drawing enthusiasts. The text is profusely illustrated and loaded with fun and enlightening examples of work from a plethora of experienced artists, designers, planners and naturalists from around the world. Each chapter provides easy-to-follow instructions on a wide variety of techniques for field sketching and plein-air painting. The exercises are designed to help readers progressively build a set of skills that will help them construct meaning and gain knowledge from on-site, field observation.

    1. Woods, Groves, and Grids  2. The Gesture of Landscape: Plants, People, Space  3. Plein-Air Watercolor: Tools, Techniques, Adventures  4. Cityscapes: The Urban Journal  5. Pictorial Maps: Visual Essays and Serial Observation  6. The City Sketch Expedition: Plazas, Parks, and Art  7. Drawn on the Move  8. Drawing Ecologies  Launch Pad


    Chip Sullivan is an artist and professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. Chip is recognized for his expertise in landscape representation and illustration as well as innovative, energy-conserving design.

    “Using a plethora of historical and contemporary examples Chip Sullivan shows us how to carefully look at the world in which we live, while making relevant a seemingly archaic medium like watercolor. As a “why to” as well as a “how to” book, Field Sketching for Environmental Designers challenges the current supremacy of digital imagery by showing how much is lost when the human hand has been removed. And not only that: it’s also fun to look at and read.”

    Marc Treib, Professor of Architecture Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, and editor of Drawing/Thinking: Confronting and Electronic Age and Representing Landscape Architecture.

    “This book should be on your favorites shelf. Landscape Architecture is a visual language. How do we learn to illustrate our ideas? The beauty in this book is the simplicity of its visual language and yet it is packed with “how to” knowledge. Chip once again builds a crescendo from the basic plan to elaborate pictorials. This is book useful for students and professionals for their entire career.”

    Tricia Keffer, Sunday Coffee Podcast

    “This visually inspiring publication offers a fascinating overview of various drawing techniques, methods, styles and visual communication strategies that is a ‘must-have’ for landscape architectural students and professionals. It captures various types of landscapes from the rural to the cityscape, and design layouts from the formal to the informal, using drawing to explain the spaces and scales, and capturing the audience’s attention.”

    Nadia Amoroso, Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture, University of Guelph, author and editor of the Representing Landscapes series

    “Chip's field sketching was one of many discoveries, filled with historical, technical, interpretive and a

    artistic learning from the experience and the observation. I particularly enjoyed the San Francisco sketch crawl ending in Levi's Plaza that showed a wide array of design language and materials, and users, each reflecting the era of its creation and its evolution. Sketching to capture such dynamic qualities was such a challenge and a valuable learning experience of its own!”

    Yumiko Nakano


    “Chip's field sketching classes have been absolutely invaluable in my personal artistic journey within the environmental design field. I've always felt that part of his rare brand of genius is how easily he's able to see the genius in everyone and everything else around him. Not only will he help you to develop in your own style, he will also help you to see more dimension in the landscape and in yourself as a designer/artist than you ever could have imagined!”

    Victoria King

    “Starting out as someone who felt very insecure in my ability to hand-draw and worried that there would be nothing positive to say about the drawings I could produce, it felt like magic how quickly my field sketching sessions with Chip fast-tracked me to the point where I could impress myself with my own drawings and see noticeable improvement from week to week. With Chip's unwavering support of everyone's individual style, I'm no longer afraid that my own artistic expression of the landscape is 'wrong,' simply because it may appear differently than others.”

    Victoria King

    "Chip's field sketching sessions helped me regain confidence in my ability to draw. His positivity, encouragement, and whimsy helped me return to the joy of putting pen to paper as a way of processing the world around me. As I progress in my career, I hold Chip's voice in my head to keep me positive during moments of self-doubt in the design process."

    Caroline Lindquest

    “This is a great tool for communication. The ability to promptly draw in the field is highly coveted as you analyze and use different parts of your brain when drawing. “

    Maria Lopez Vazquez

    "Anyone can master the art of sketching, and there's no better way to learn than by simply being out in the world. Strengthening the hand-eye connection and allowing yourself to quickly capture forms and gestures allows you to understand the world in different ways. Quick sketching is also a great party trick to impress others." 

    Dalton Walker