"I think my earliest memory of drawing on location was when I was about seven or eight. I would sit outside my grandmother's house in Long Island on the front steps with my colored pencils, crayons, and paper and draw the houses, the trees, and cars across the street. Of course at the time I didn't know it was called reportage; I think I was just doing what I loved to do, draw. I was first introduced to reportage when I met my mentors in my early twenties. They changed my life forever, and I instantly fell in love with reportage! It did something different to my brain. It changed the way I saw my art, the way I saw the world, and it simply just got me excited!
I love drawing in different locations in New York City. In the fall of 2008 I started a reportage of Harlem. Every Saturday for about three months I walked around East and West Harlem thumb nailing and drawing various restaurants and people. In the beginning I was a little nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I have to say it was great! I met many friendly people and became comfortable in a part of the city I never went to. I think only drawing could have given me the unique experience that Harlem provided. What reportage gives me is difficult to express in writing. I feel that for me it can only truly be explained by the smile I have on my face while I'm sitting there drawing my heart away. By the mess I get to make, the oils, the inks, the pastels, the ink spills! How I always end up with ink on the back of my leg or across my face. How it stains my hands! It allows me to feel as if I were that kid who used to sit on my grandmother's front porch again. It allows me to be free. As I continue to grow, both as an artist and a person, I realize how much drawing and reportage have become a part of who I am."
On the flag: Johannesburg sketcher Cathy Gatland sketching outside Kippies Jazz Club in Newtown.
Urban Sketchers is a grassroots 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the art of on-location drawing. Consider making a donation today to help us continue to 'Show the World, One Drawing at a Time.' All donations in the United States are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.
1. We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
2. Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
3. Our drawings are a record of time and place.
4. We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
5. We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
6. We support each other and draw together.
7. We share our drawings online.
8. We show the world, one drawing at a time.
The Urban Sketchers logo was created by Italian graphic designer Franco Lancio.