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Travel Western Provinces

Hand Drawn Vancouver

Sketches of the City's Neighbourhoods, Buildings, and People

by (author) Emma FitzGerald

Random House Canada
Initial publish date
Jun 2020
Western Provinces, Essays & Travelogues, Drawing
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2020
    List Price

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Visitors and locals alike will love this book of whimsical sketches of Vancouver, British Columbia, accompanied by thoughtful observations and snippets of overheard conversations.

Take a tour of Vancouver's sights and sidewalks with Emma FitzGerald's hand-drawn impressions of her hometown, a city filled with stories--funny, surprising, and sometimes dark--amidst the cherry blossoms, beaches, and forests. Included are more than 100 sketches completed on location that, together, capture the essence of Vancouver. From Stanley Park's seawall to Kitsilano's salt-water swimming pool, and East Van's first craft brewery to the ferries in Horseshoe Bay, Hand Drawn Vancouver is a love letter to this beautiful and iconic city.

About the author

EMMA FITZGERALD was born in Lesotho, a small mountainous kingdom in Southern Africa. Her early travels have given her a large appetite for adventure. Combining her interest in people and places, Emma followed a career path that was part architecture, part art. She received her BFA in Visual Art at the University of British Columbia, spending her third year at Lâ??Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, where she honed her drawing skills. She then completed her undergraduate and masterâ??s degrees in Architecture at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She has worked in architecture offices in Johannesburg, South Africa, and across Canada.

While working in Gambia, Emma took students onto the streets of their own communities, using sketching as their primary learning tool. When she returned to Halifax, drawing became an act of connecting with the many stories and unofficial histories of the area, a custom during her travels, but never before in Halifax. This laid the groundwork for her new book.

Emma FitzGerald's profile page

Excerpt: Hand Drawn Vancouver: Sketches of the City's Neighbourhoods, Buildings, and People (by (author) Emma FitzGerald)

From the Introduction

I moved to North Vancouver aged seven. I was no stranger to moving by the time we arrived, so it wasn’t a surprise when soon after settling in, we moved again to West Vancouver. Or that I later attended high school on the west side of Vancouver, all the way over two sets of bridges.

My daily commute to school, an hour each way in the backseat of the car, was an education in the geography of the city. We passed through Dundarave and Ambleside, stalled in traffic at Park Royal, went over the Capilano River Reserve while crossing the Lions Gate Bridge, and then were momentarily surrounded by trees in Stanley Park. It was often a quick drive through the West End and Downtown, seemingly before anyone else was awake, then over the Burrard or sometimes Granville Bridge, through Kitsilano, all the way to Dunbar—only to do it all in reverse at the end of the day. Looking out of the window, I discovered that each neighbourhoood had its own unique architecture and population, and they became endlessly interesting to me.

Later, while studying Visual Art at the University of British Columbia, just past Point Grey, I spent more of my free time on Commercial Drive and Main Street. I taught art classes on Granville Island and in Strathcona, and even painted a mural in Hastings Sunrise. The more I explored Vancouver, the more my understanding of it grew.

After my undergrad I moved to Nova Scotia, where I wrote and illustrated two books based there. Returning to Vancouver after fourteen years of living away, I relearned the city in the process of making this book. Instead of visiting an archive, my research was conducted on the city’s streets, with pen and paper in hand. Sketching on location is a way of learning a place—not just its sights, but also its smells and sounds as the world continues its hum around me. I was drawn to places where community naturally forms, as well as the places that had left a mark on me, knowing that if they had survived the passage of time, they must be special to others as well.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Emma FitzGerald

"FitzGerald has carved out her own niche as an artist who draws cities and buildings and special places, as a chronicler of the history of communities, a teller of stories of lives spent in particular places."--Lisa Cochrane, The Chronicle Herald

"The immediacy of her sketches and endearing subject matter will appeal to any inquisitive armchair traveler or urban sketcher."--Murray Dewhurst, Urban Sketcher
"From the majestic seawall to the everyday buzz of city life, [Fitzgerald] captures the essence of Vancouver and its neighbourhoods with colour and humour."—MONTECRISTO Magazine
"The book, a combination sketchbook/journal, is a smile-inducing record of neighbourhoods in Vancouver and the North Shore."— Vancouver Sun

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