Camilo Saraiva

freelance Illustrator

Sketching on Rua de Santa Catarina in Porto

I spent the afternoon sketching and strolling along Rua de Santa Catarina here in Porto. Around the days leading up to São João holiday, the city transforms. The streets fill with a mix of tourists who come to enjoy this incredible city in Portugal and local residents reclaiming their usual spots. The streets, squares, esplanades, and the bustling riverside are alive with activity.

On one of these days, as the traditional ‘Rusgas de São João‘ paraded through Avenida dos Aliados, we too took to the streets. I had my sketchbook, pens, and watercolor set with me.

At the corner of Rua de Santa Catarina, we encountered the ‘Rusgas‘ and lingered for a while. I took the opportunity to sketch that bustling corner, which was filled with traditional music and festivities that afternoon.

Detail of the roofs and sky in rua de santa catarina

Detail of the roofs and sky in rua de santa catarina

One of the things I love depicting here in Porto, as you might have noticed from my other sketches, are the architectural details of the city. It strives to maintain its tradition, even in moments of preservation lapses in certain places.

This blend appeals to me, as it’s not overly destructive and showcases the styles of different eras side by side. Some buildings date back to the 1920s, with modifications over the decades. Some businesses have changed, but others remain, like Perfecta and Café Majestic.

Today, the street is vibrant with colors and sounds: street artists, singers, and performers spread a diverse array of sounds, a hallmark of cosmopolitan city centers like Porto.

Detail of the illustration of Rua de Santa Catarina

Detail of the illustration of Rua de Santa Catarina

Porto is a vibrant city, filled with sounds, carrying a romantic essence that stays alive through the combined spirit of those who’ve chosen to call it home.

Ilustração em aquarela da esquina da rua de santa catarina no Porto - Portugal

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