Next Sketch Outing

Sept. 22: Columbia City

Monday, March 2, 2015

Urban Sketching in Spain

It was in 1998 when I first visited Spain. Since then, no other travel destination has compared to my two favorite Spanish cities, Barcelona and Sevilla.  It made sense that 17 years later, I would want to spend my 40th birthday returning to beautiful España this past February! And she didn’t disappoint…

More so than my first visit, I really connected with my Spanish-influenced heritage. Maybe that’s why I love it so much -- it reminded me of growing up in a Filipino home.  The cuisine – empanadas, arroz caldo, chicharron, pastillas de leche – looked and tasted very familiar. The Spanish colonial buildings are reminiscent of some of the homes I remember in old-town Manila. There is so much to be inspired by in Spain, from Picasso's paintings, to Gaudi's awe-inspiring designs, to the islamic architectural influence in Andalucia. I could literally stand on any street corner and find something interesting to draw. Here are a few of my favorite sketches from the trip!

La Sagrada Familia - Nativity Facade

La Sagrada Familia - Passion Facade

Barcelona Pavilion designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Basilica at the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey

Patio de las Doncellas (Courtyard of the Maidens) - Royal Alcazar of Seville

Patio de las Muñecas (Courtyard of the Dolls) - Royal Alcazar of Seville

3-min sketch on the left and 10-min sketches on the right

Here's a timelapse of the 3-min sketch (above) - Alley in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona:


  1. Fantastic, Allan! These bring back fond memories of when I was in Barcelona in 2013. Your sketch of the Sagrada Familia is amazing.

  2. Allan,
    These are great! And such a great use of color. Your Seville sketches actually remind me of the Alhambra in Granada.

    1. Thanks Gail! It was hard to leave, but I'm also glad to be back home. I think I'll be able to make it to the Burke next week!

  3. Alan, your sketches are beautiful! My boyfriend and I also just got back from a trip to Spain, including a visit to Royal Alcazar of Seville. By any chance, do you have an online shop where you sell your sketches? I would love to purchase one, if available of course, please let me know. Thank you.