Right now, people around the world are dusting off sketchbooks, sharpening pencils and packing watercolors. Saturday is the 25th World Wide SketchCrawl, a day to indulge in non-stop drawing, recording every moment with pen and paper and opening our sketchbooks for others to see. To mark the occasion, we talked to Enrico Casarosa, the multitalented animator at Pixar, comic book artist, illustrator and sketcher who put out the first global sketching call five years ago.
When and how did you have the idea of Sketchcrawl?
In the summer of 2004 I came up with the idea of spending a whole Saturday drawing around San Francisco. I didn't want to stop drawing for a day. The name SketchCrawl came to mind right then and there, thinking of pub crawls and such.
The feeling of a marathon-like day of drawing was actually exhilarating, I filled 19 pages of watercolors in my sketchbook, I got really exhausted but also had a great time.
Slowly the idea snowballed into a more communal event and we started going out for a whole day with a few co-workers and found out a really fun part of the experience was sharing the drawings at the end of the day. Then in November of 2004 I decided to call out for a global drawing marathon day and with the help of the internet tried to get as many people joining in from all over the globe. Things took off from there and slowly but surely more and more cities and locales from around the world have joined in the fun. It is really a wonderful feeling to know that there are hundreds of people around the world going out and putting pen to paper at the same time as you are.
Why is it so important for you to draw on location, and why to draw together and to share each others drawings?
The act of drawing has a meditative quality and that's what's great about it, it forces you to slow down and really take into account what you are seeing. Slowing down the frenetic pace of our lives and take in what's around us has immediately felt like an important and worthy side of these drawing marathon days. There's nothing wrong with doing it even indoors, there is plenty of things to appreciate and observe even just in our living rooms.
But meeting artists outside and holding SketchCrawls in a communal way enables us primarily to meet great people with our same passion for drawing and secondarily it gives us a chance to easily share the day's bounty of sketching with each other.
How is the Sketchcrawl evolving and how do you see the future of this amazing world drawing marathon?
The idea of the World Wide SketchCrawl is reaching more and more people around the world, each event — we hold roughly four per year — sees new and more artists joining in the fun. I hope that this momentum can continue and with a little luck even increase. I also hope we can find ways to make the sharing of our SketchCrawl drawings on the web easier ... one day I'd love to hold a San Francisco SketchCrawl weekend to invite all crawlers from around the world to. A weekend of drawing classes, workshops and just sketching around the city. I hope we can pull something like that together one of these years.
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.