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Background on this Online Resource and Book

This online resource is the companion content to the book Learn from Looking, released in April 2017.  Learn from Looking covers over 20 years of travel insights and drawings from around the world on 400 pages with 200 sketches and 60,000 words. The book focuses on actionable intelligence for innovation, sustainable design, and critical thinking.


Grit in psychology is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. The two decades of work to create the content in this resource and in the book is a simple demonstration of grit.

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YouTube: Learn from Looking Channel

Szoradi Art: (Purchase framed or unframed prints and other products, plus roll over to see full-resolution details of any of the travel drawings.)

Online Drawings:


Beyond Learn from Looking: Independence LED Lighting

LinkedIn: Charlie Szoradi:

YouTube: Independence LED Solutions Channel


I am pleased to share these drawings from my travels around the world over the past two decades. The ink sketches are all from field observations drawn on fold-out sketch books, most of which are about seven feet long. Given that there are thousands of images in the numerous drawing books, I hope that you enjoy the work that I have included here from Asia, Eastern Europe, North America, Central America, and many other places. In many cases, the drawings document design and innovation that are not landmarks. Overall, I enjoy seeing and celebrating the extraordinary in the ordinary.

About the illustrator and author:

Charlie Szoradi is an architect, inventor, and the CEO of Independence LED Lighting. He is passionate about cost-effective sustainability and is a sought after speaker. As an entrepreneur, Charlie has pioneered groundbreaking new energy intelligent products and services. He graduated from the University of Virginia and earned his master’s from the University of Pennsylvania. Charlie has authored numerous articles, op-eds and the biography of Leon Battista Alberti for the Encyclopedia of Architecture. He lives with his family in a solar home that he designed outside of Philadelphia.

The ink travel drawings included in this collection are from his book Learn from Looking, scheduled for release in January 2017. While other authors have written about sustainability, energy consumption, and the human impact on our ecosystem, this book provides new ideas for practical and actionable intelligence. Learn from Looking goes beyond looking for a way to support a belief and focuses on first-hand learning that has come from looking at solutions in the field. This book informs and also serves as a catalyst to inspire others to document and share their insights.

The travel drawings in this collection reflect a twenty year journey to different places around the world. The exploration was not scheduled or linear, and the circuitous path led to innovations that range from an eco-smart home design to founding a leading U.S. manufacturer of energy-saving LED lights. Charlie has an underlying curiosity to look closer at how things work with an eye on using the findings to shape more cost-effective sustainability.

Learn from Looking also includes insights into critical thinking for young and old minds, a focus on Return on Investment (ROI) for business opportunities, and a springboard for groundbreaking future innovations. Collectively, the drawings and observations lead to a sustainable triple bottom line that supports people, the planet, and profit.

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We hope that you, your families, and your colleagues are staying safe and healthy during this unprecedented pandemic. The private sector is stepping up to help. We support the vision of the Purge Virus KN95 Mask initiative that will help play a role in successfully reopening America. Certified masks can help reduce the spread and the risk of a COVID-19 resurgence. Mayors and Governors as well as CEOs need to get ahead of the timeline and plan for the spring and summer as soon as possible. The cost of bringing the recent FDA approved KN95 masks from China by air freight is far higher than by cargo ship. 40 foot shipping containers can each hold about 460,000 KN95 masks or about 1.8 million surgical masks, which are thinner and typically 3 ply vs 6 ply. Regardless of the mask type, the challenge is time, since the overseas journey is about four weeks. We were late in America to start social distancing, and we should avoid being late to have masks at hand to reopen America with a phased and safe approach.