"I started drawing in earnest when I was in my mid thirties and, once I got nerve up, hit the streets of my hometown, New York City, and started to draw buildings and people and animals and hot dog stands. I always work in a bound book, always in ink (dip pen), often in watercolor, occasionally in marker or pencil. My son, Jack — now 14 — loves to draw too, and we go out on sketchcrawls with old pals like Tommy Kane. We travel to different neighborhoods and perch on our foldings stools and record the city. Over the past decade, I have filled fifty or so books with drawings and little written captions and anecdotes and the practice has transformed my life.
I have travelled the world, met lots of other people who either draw or would like to, and had adventures galore — all thanks to drawing what I encounter in a little book.
I have published a handful of books, several about drawing and creativity. One, "Everyday Matters" was a memoir of how I learned to draw after my wife had a serious accident (she was run over by the #1 subway train which broke her back). The book seems to have caught on with a lot of people and I have been asked to write a couple more about illustrated journaling: "The Creative License" and most recently, "An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration From The Private Sketchbooks Of Artists, Illustrators And Designers." The latter book led me to fulfill my dream of gathering the work of all the artists I admire most, people like Robert Crumb and Chris Ware and James Jean and many others, and then sitting down for a chat about my favorite subject, recording one's life with drawings in a book. It was an amazing experience and I like to think the book reflects it."
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.