Urban Sketching with Zandro Tumaliuan

May 20, 2021

Zandro Tumaliuan’s passion for urban sketching stems from his student days, studying architecture in the Philippines. He now lives in Vancouver and works as a designer. Zandro travels every chance he gets, often with his family. Since the start of the pandemic their explorations have been limited to the lower mainland but still, he never leaves home without a sketchbook. No matter where they end up, he uses his art to share his extensive architectural knowledge and inspire his children.


When I’m outside, I become more observant. I see things, I want to record things. Even with photos you sometimes miss stuff – you just take the picture, put your phone back in your pocket and don’t see it again. When you’re doing a sketch, you focus more on what you’re viewing. 


My art gives me a chance to actually go out and explore the outdoors. I like it better when it’s not planned, because that’s where the challenge is. You go to a neighborhood and say, ‘What’s nice about this?’


When I’m actually sitting in front of a building, I can sense the whole scale and vibe, not just of that structure but of the city and people around it. On top of the architecture, that’s what I’m trying to capture. A sketch is very loose but I think it’s more active than a photograph or 3D render. It describes how it actually feels to be in that place.


The mood around me affects how I work.
When there’s a lot of people, there’s a very dynamic, vibrant energy which reflects on my sketch. In a quieter place, my work tends to be softer, a bit more Zen. 


I rarely feel the urge to sketch a building perfectly. I don’t have to count how many windows or how many floors, I just kind of have to sense the building and sketch its energy. 



I use tablets occasionally, especially for work, but with urban sketching it just doesn’t feel the same.
It’s the sound of the pencil when you start sketching on the paper, the smell of the graphite, or the mess you make when you use watercolor or paints. It just feels good. You can’t undo your mistakes so you have to become more creative – ‘How can I solve this? What can I do to make this work?’


To start urban sketching, just go out and explore. And if you feel the urge to sketch something, just do it. The more I go outside to sketch, the more I find my happy place.







Watch and Listen to Zandro’s Full Interview in the Opus Visual Podcast

Explore Urban Sketching with Zandro Tumaliuan and Jose de Juan

Listen to the new podcast featuring Zandro Tumaliuan and Jose de Juan. As we explore the outdoors, we explore our inner world.. Check out… Watch Visual Podcast