"I have always been focused on observational drawing, urban landscapes in particular, but I became more intense about it back in 1997 when my body nearly all froze up. I couldn't draw at all for about two weeks. My hand couldn't feel the pen. I was told that I might have MS and that I should switch my emphasis to working with the computer.
That sure didn't sit very well with me. The "you might have" became a "for sure" in 2003, when I was diagnosed with MS. But I had already hit the streets perfecting my observational skills, mark making and drawing in my sketchbook with a wider variety of pens and brushes. I figured I'd better get the drawings now while I can. I’ve been teaching drawing at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, since 2001, so when I was done with class for the day, out I went to a different location each afternoon to make a new drawing in my book. My sketchbooks were already going places with me.
I love the thrill of getting everything down on the page before cars leave, and of course clouds block the sun and shadows move. There’s nothing like it. Not exactly like the adrenaline rush I had when mountain climbing, but intoxicating all the same."
On the flag: Charlottesville, Virginia, USA sketcher Jessie Chapman sketching at Charlottesville train station with UVA Medical Center in the distance.
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.