Creative Travel: Capturing the Look of a Neighborhood – A Walk Down Grand Ave, South San Francisco (incl Free Printable Coloring Page)

Trying to capture a neighborhood or location with a few simple drawings can sometimes feel like a daunting task! Take any given neighborhood, from residential to downtown and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the many things to see; different building styles, different colors, different types of nature, etc.

In a recent online class I hosted with South San Francisco Library, I boiled down this problem and created a simple recipe to help you capture your own neighborhood!

Recipe to Capture Your Neighborhood by Betsy Beier

Recipe to Capture a Neighborhood = Common Elements + Nature + Unique Elements + Oddities

Using this recipe, I headed to downtown South San Francisco’s Grand Avenue to see what I could come up with. It didn’t take long to start seeing common elements, such as the ornate lamp posts, and street signs. Of course, a few buildings stood out as unique (i.e., City Hall, Grand Avenue Library) and there were a smattering of oddities like the bonsai trimmed shrub and South City bike racks.

Observations Along Grand Avenue, South San Francisco by Betsy Beier

It was also easy to start seeing a base color palette as well. Finding a simple palette of just capture 3-5 core colors, is a great way to capture the neighborhood essence, and make a memorable illustration.

Below is my illustration of how I experienced Grand Avenue in South San Francisco!

A Walk Down Grand Avenue, South San Francisco by Betsy Beier

Now it’s your turn! Take a walk in your neighborhood and follow the recipe above to create your own neighborhood illustration. Be sure to share your drawing with me (@wanderlustdesigner on Instagram or email so I can see! I’d love to see where you live!

Below is a free printable coloring page of Grand Avenue, South San Francisco!

Free Printable Coloring Page of Grand Avenue, South San Francisco

To Save images to your local computer select option-click on an Mac, or right-click on a PC.  Note: The digital file(s) are copyright protected, and for personal use only. Betsy Beier, Wanderlust Designer’s printables, downloadables and digital files can not be sold, altered or provided for download on any other site. For questions or inquiries, please contact

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