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As a child I would spend hours drawing fanciful floor plans and landscapes, then try to imagine myself having adventures within them. What a delight to find fellow artist, Stefan Bleekrode who still creates these imaginary worlds with ink and watercolor.

Since the age of ten, Stefan has been an avid artist, drawing imaginary cities with pen and ink. Eight years ago Stefan added the element of watercolor to his urban environments. Currently living in Europe, he travels the world constantly searching for new subjects to fill his detailed landscapes.

Boulevard in Paris

After a visit to Paris at a young age, Stefan became obsessed with the city’s complex details. Looking for a way to express this fascination he began drawing bird’s eye views of the architecture, streetscapes, and bustling people.

Though he is inspired by many cities, most of his drawings are not replicas, but instead are truly unique cities conjured up in Stefan’s head. He’ll often describe a drawing, like the one above, as “Somewhere in Paris,” to keep it elusive.

Bridge of the River Thames

I am absolutely amazed by the detail of Stefan’s drawings. The years he has spent perfecting his perspective skills have obviously paid off. I find myself mesmerized by the implied life seen in his imaginary cities. . . they’re so realistic that it seems inconceivable that they’re NOT real.

Interestingly, for many years Stefan fought the use of paint, until a trip to Rome changed his mind. Now he finishes some pieces in watercolors, using the dry brush method (applying paint to a dry surface).

And even though this final piece was not painted while looking at any specific place, his skill has created an environment that you’d swear was taken from life.

Rooftops

If you have a moment today, I would encourage you to visit Stefan’s website to experience more of his amazing artwork. . . and to simply let your mind wander down the streets of his complex, imaginary cities.

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Sketches are a fabulous way to collect images and explore ideas, and, for some designers and architects (like today's featured artist Ian Stuart Campbell), they are also an integral part of the design process.

Stuart studied architecture and design at the Mackintosh School of Architecture; Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow. His. . . read more

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