Fantastic Cities: 48-Page Urban Coloring Book Made for Adults


[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

fantastic aerial view

Coloring books are no longer just for kids, as this one designed for adult colorists illustrates in beautiful black and white. Showing urban scenes both real and imagined, these fictional, actual and hybrid views could take hours each for enthusiasts to fill in, and, psychologists argue, may even profit mental health benefits beyond the fun of simply reliving a childhood activity.

fantastic citiesss

fantastic cities book

Canadian artist Steve McDonald, the man behind Fantastic Cities, is known for works of a similar style, but these have historically been found in galleries and collections: “small on-site studies that are usually done with pencil/chalk on colored paper and large format studio work which is usually done with pencil & charcoal/chalk with acrylic washes on paper. Steve has also gained a lot of attention for his highly detailed ‘ bird’s eye view ‘ renderings of villages, cities and rural scenes as well as his compositions of machinery and his popular flying vehicle series.”

fantastic landscape

fantastic filled in color

In this book, Steve selected scenes from major cities like New York and San Francisco, providing aerial drawings of real places but also stylized works based on the architectural and urban character of other cities, all with extreme levels of detail that leave readers with much to color.

fantastic cities urban cityscape

There may even be psychological benefits to coloring: “by engaging multiple parts of the brain, coloring allows us to focus on the lines, movements, and colors in front of us, use our imaginations and be creative, and de-stress.” More about the book: “This unique coloring book features immersive aerial views of real cities from around the world alongside gorgeously illustrated, Inception-like architectural mandalas. Available July 7th from Chronicle Books.”

fantastic cities books

fantastic cities black white

Nor is this an isolated piece – according to the New York Times, “major publishers are seizing on the trend. This year, Little, Brown will release four illustrated coloring books for adults, all subtitled ‘Color Your Way to Calm.’ The books, ‘Splendid Cities’ by the British artists Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick and three titles by the French illustrator Zoé de Las Cases, feature detailed cityscapes with famous landmarks, cafes and street life. Promotional materials for the books emphasize the health benefits of ‘mindful coloring,’ noting that the activity “has been shown to be a stress reliever for adults.”

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Figures & Ground: Crafty Wood Miniatures Create Urban Vignettes


[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

urban rail skateboarder

Inspired by everything from personal experience to famous photography, this street artist crafts small wooden cutouts to frame scenes of action, adventure, romance and life.

urban character in grass

urban mother son waves

urban miniature fishing boat

Living in New Jersey and working both there and in New York, Joe Iurato illustrates his miniature creations with black-and-white details, setting them apart from the colorful cityscapes they occupy.

urban climber figure person

urban parkour jumping figure

While the specific sizes and subjects vary, a common thread is found in their site-specific nature and detailed drawings – each figure or set thereof participates directly in its surroundings.

urban small world child

urban street figure ground

“From break dancing to skateboarding to rock climbing to becoming a father, all of these things have helped define my character. For me, it’s just about revisiting those moments in a way that’s familiar. I’ve always appreciated seeing architecture and nature in a different light.”

urban pothole inspector

urban tree climbing boy

urban track train walkers

“As a skater, the tar banks behind a local supermarket, a flight of stairs, a parking block, a drainage ditch, a handrail, a wall – they all present possibilities for interaction and fun in ways they weren’t intended to be used.”

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Inevitably Graffitied: White Canvas-Like SoHo Facade Defaced


[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

storefront studio front entry

While its creators anticipated this stretched plastic surface appealing to local graffiti artists, they were apparently hoping for a higher grade of street art to adorn the Storefront for Art and Architecture gallery facade in New York City.

soho storefront white wall

storefront graffiti art vandalism

Architecture studio SO-IL created this temporary surface as an extension of an exhibition going on within the gallery space, but its creators remain somewhat disappointed: “We knew this would happen. Unrestrained, Storefront pushes itself into the public domain. By wrapping it in a white canvas it further provokes a response from the city. It was anticipated, but what a poor quality of the graffiti… We had hoped for something better.”

storefront installation art facade

storefront lit at night

So far, tags like “ugly kids” and other scrawled messages have been mainly black spray on the white background – nothing layered or time-consuming. Of course, now that the memo is out, perhaps a different kind of artist will take a try at the surface – that, or the statements may backfire, with artists wondering why they should add value to someone else’s surface.

storefront studio interior view

soho storefront graffiti defaced

Illuminated and pressed outward by walls and objects from within the gallery, part of the idea was to draw people into the exhibit by creating visual interest along the street and sidewalk – a novel trick for attracting attention. Still, if this kind of impromptu artistic addition was expected, why not simply invite a group of graffiti artists to contribute in the first place? In the end, once one concedes a surface will be defaced, either it will unfold naturally and unpredictably or will have to be controlled by the property owners – there is no real middle ground.

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Transparent Home: Glass Dwelling Puts Urban Life on Display


[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

see through house japan

A beautiful and boldly open design, this see-through structure uses glass to reveal (and staggered layers to conceal) different parts of the everyday lives of its occupants.

see through transparent house

see through ome facade

Designed by architect Yuusuke Karasawa for a medium-density city lot in Tokyo, the snakelike S House relies on upper layers, underground areas and limited walls to create privacy where required or desired.

see through floor plates

see through ome interior

The split-level approach replaces corridors with staircases and serves to section off parts of the interior without creating excessive walls, all reinforcing the overall openness of the design (reminiscent of Modernist masters including Mies van der Rohe, Philip Glass and Le Corbusier).

see through house design

see through kitchen area

see through exterior view

Primarily white, limited wood accents are added and the neighborhood becomes a kind of passive decor, its textures visible from almost any area of the interior.

see through japanese urbanism

see through night view

see invisible house detail

Partly, the design plays on a cultural element of respect for personal space found in Japan – prying eyes are not something to be worried about.

underground bedroom japan house

see through master bath

see through rooftop deck

Nonetheless, the master bedroom and bathroom are located on the level below ground, and a rooftop deck also affords a higher degree of seclusion when needed.

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Schematic of Structures: 90 Buildings, Prehistory to Present


[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

pop charts architectural poster

This stunning blueprint-inspired poster takes you on a visual tour of 90 celebrated structures around the world, highlighting architectural achievements from the Greek Parthenon to Buckingham Palace to Taipei 101 to the Freedom Tower, “a lineup of landmark landmarks and eminent edifices erected and perfected throughout history.”


An 18-by-24-inch print available from Pop Chart Lab for around $30, this frame-worthy work of art and design may solve your architectural gifting needs for the foreseeable future. The juxtapositions of old and new, Classical and Modernist, help show off the rich historical variety of buildings and monuments. Some structures made the cut for being canonical classics, while others are record-setters or unusual examples of unique typologies. Rendering them all in a way that would make them consistent but bring out their different characters was also a challenge for the creators.

pop charts full size

More from the creators: “Each breathtaking building has been beautifully hand-illustrated to scale in blueprint-like style—and is accompanied by notations for location, height, year of construction, and architectural mode. For the serious sight-seer, history hobbyist, or architectural aficionado, this collection of captivating cornerstones is sure to tower above all others. Using 100 lb. archival stock certified by The Forest Stewardship Council, this poster is pressed on an offset lithographic press with vegetable-based inks in Long Island City.”

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Paint Me White Again: Tunnel Type Graffiti Taunts Authorities


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paint me white again

Well known for stenciling big block-lettered phrases on walls around his native Newscastle, this piece is unusually blunt (as well as hilarious), amounting to a multi-part conversation between the artist and the city.

street art blank wall

street art painted over

Even better than the original ‘COME ON AND PAINT ME WHITE AGAIN’ dare is the later response after the municipality indeed whitewashed the first work: ‘BOOORING’, using his same signature typography in black paint.

joke around the corner

mobster street art checklist

mobstr newcastle reblog this

While not all of his work is quite so meta-minded as this series, this sequence remains a great illustration of how graffiti is generally temporary as well as contextual, and can have elements of humor and self-reflection beyond simple tagging. Some of his works are best seen in video form rather than via photographs, hence a few fun short films below.

A self-described minimalist, Mobstr explains the origins of his nom de plume, which are none too surprising: “It is a play on the term mobster which is someone who deals in organised crime. Most of my work is illegal however a lot of organisation goes into it. So as a joke I use the idea of it being organised (art) crime.” Also, he had a lobster named mobster.

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Inspiration Pad: Lined Notebook for Thinking Outside the Box


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inspiration pad contours

Made for those who like to color outside lines and jot outside boxes, each page of this bound pad provides a unique source of inspiration and different framework for drawing, sketching and writing out ideas.

inspiration pad detail

inspiration pad shifty

Available from tmsprl, the minimalist brown-bound notebooks show traditional lines on the front and back but playing on and warping the horizontal blue-on-white (with red verticals) convention within.

inspiration pad building angle

inspiration pad geographic contours

inspiration pad thick lines

Some pages sport twisting topographic lines while others thin, thicken, curl, loop, twist and spiral, encouraging the user to put pencil or pen to paper in different ways throughout.

inspiration pad cover

inspiration pad lined up

inspiraiton pad trending curve

inspiration pad stair steps

inspiration pad wavy blue

The deeper you delve the more surprises you find, starting with upward-swooping lines and culminating in crazy abstract patterns and strangely whimsical shapes.

inspiration pad infinity symbol

inspiration pad outward spiral

inspiration pad wrapped swirl

inspiration pad back cover

A few notes from its creator: “If you’re in search of inspiration, this notepad might help. Second edition. 48 pages, dimensions 165 x 210 mm, softcover. Printed on sustainable paper in Belgium.”

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