Meet the Correspondent: Marina Grechanik > Tel-Aviv, Israel$show=/search/label/Marina%20Grechanik

"Sketching is one of my passions. I don't feel comfortable when I leave home without a sketchbook and some pens in my bag. I think that my way to put things in my memory is to draw them. And taking pictures isn't the same thing.

I live in a very dynamic surrounding — Israel is a warm country with warm weather and warm people. Of course, we have seashores, which calm us a little bit. I love to sit in a corner of some Tel-Aviv coffee shop and explore relationships: between people, their environment, between myself. All this unique local mix of cultures, languages and styles is always a great source for inspiration. You need to be fast, because, as I said, everything is very dynamic. But that's why I love it so much.

Sometimes, I look around, and I find some usual items like sugar bags or napkins. I use them in my drawings to show the atmosphere. Sometimes I draw directly on placemats."

• Marina's art on Flickr.
• Marina's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Tina Koyama > Seattle$show=/search/label/tina%20koyama

"The dictionary says that a hobby is “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation.” Although urban sketching certainly provides both pleasure and relaxation, I don’t think of it as my hobby. I think of it more as a way of life – something that has become such a normal part of my everydayness that it shapes how I view the world.

For most of my life I had both the fear of drawing as well as the desire to draw. In 2011, inspired by Gabi Campanario’s Seattle Sketcher column, I finally decided to overcome the fear. His drawings of Seattle – my birthplace and lifelong home – were of sights that I had seen many times, yet had never truly seen. I wanted to learn to see, and therefore experience, those locations (and any new ones that I travel to) more completely. Part 8 of the Urban Sketchers Manifesto, to “show the world, one drawing at a time,” has a flip side: Sketching enables me to see my own world, one drawing at a time.

In the last four years, it is not an exaggeration to say that Urban Sketchers has changed my life. I have met and sketched with many wonderful people around the globe, either at symposiums or during other travel, because the USk network brought us together. I sketch almost weekly with my local group, sharing sketches, art supplies and friendship. Even when I stay home and enjoy sketches online, I am still a part of that rich network, learning with every sketch about other people’s lives.

In May, my husband Greg and I went to France for the first time, and I sketched the Eiffel Tower. Sketching one of the world’s most famous icons felt like a dream come true – the ultimate in urban sketching. But although I can’t resist sketching world-famous icons whenever I’m fortunate enough to see them, for me, urban sketching is much more than that.

Urban sketching is a tree with its middle chopped away to accommodate Seattle’s ubiquitous power lines. It’s about a couple of women chatting over coffee, or about workers roofing the house next door. It’s about an excavator filling a hole where a cherry tree once stood. Or the Tibetan monastery I drive by frequently that I couldn’t resist because it’s bright orange. Urban sketching is a string band performing at a local farmers’ market – or perhaps in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Celebrating the mundane as well as the famous is what urban sketching is all about. My sketches are not necessarily about “special” moments; they are moments made special because I sketched them."

Tina has been editor of Drawing Attention since 2013 and now serves on the Urban Sketchers editorial board. See more of her sketches on her blog, on Flickr and on Instagram.

Meet the Correspondent: Pete Scully > Davis, Calif.$show=/search/label/Pete%20Scully

"I am from urban north London, but now live in urbane Davis California. I sketch, I write, sometimes do things and go places and my name is Pete.

When not Davis, I sketch Sacramento, San Francisco, London, or anywhere else I happen to be. I tend to erase people and cars from my cities, but I'm starting to get over this.

Davis: calm, old-fashioned, progressive, quirky, very very hot in the summer. I use micron and copic pens, with watercolour."

• Pete's blog.
• Pete's art on Flickr.

Meet the Correspondent: Suhita Shirodkar > San Jose, Calif.$show=/search/label/Suhita%20Shirodkar

"I was born in Mumbai (Bombay) and lived in different parts of India until I moved to San Jose, California, where I now live.

Travel inspires my art, but, traveling or not, I try to view the world around me as a traveller would; so whether I’m capturing a moment of calm on the banks of the Ganges in India, or sketching over coffee at my local coffee shop, I aim to look deeply, and with wonder, at both the everyday and the exotic, the old and the new.

I love color. My sketch kit consists of Extra Fine Sharpies (the fact that they bleed into the paper as soon as they touch it works really well for me—it forces me to work super-quick), a small set of Prismacolor pencils and a little watercolor travel set".

Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

Drawing Attention January 2017

USk Welcomes New President and Vice President

USk would like to welcome Amber Sausen from Minneapolis to the role of USk President. Amber is an Administrator of USk Twin Cities and has attended 5 symposiums. She is an architect and project manager with experience as an executive committee member of several non-profit boards. Amber would like to see the Workshops program grow, and she would like to be more supportive of the chapters. Welcome Amber! You can send Amber a note of welcome to

USk would like to welcome Richard Alomar to the role of USk Vice President. Richard has been involved with USk since 2011. He is a landscape architect and professor at Rutgers University in New York. Richard is the co-founder of USk NY, he has attended 5 symposiums, taught workshops and currently serves on the USk Advisory Board. Welcome Richard! You can send Richard a note of welcome to


Welcome to new USk Board Secretary

USk would like to welcome new Executive Board Secretary, Peggy Wong. Peggy is an architect by trade and one of the co-founders and Admins for USk Kuching, Malaysia. Peggy has previous experience on the board of Toastmasters International, Rainforest World Music Festival, Sarawak Music Society, and the Sarawak Heritage Society. Peggy brings her strong organizational and communication skills to her role. Welcome Peggy!

Thank you Suma CM!

Urban Sketchers would like to thank Suma CM of San Jose, CA for her dedication and hard work as our Board Secretary. Suma has worked as our secretary since June 2015 and extended her term to help transition Peggy Wong to the role. It has been a pleasure working with Suma and we look forward to her contribution on the USk Advisory Board. Thank you Suma!


Introducing USk’s New Tech Team

USk International Tech Team (l-r) Kristine Sederholm, Paul Ingold, Joel Winstead and Brenda Murray

As USk seeks to increase our capacity to serve the technical needs of our community and as we inch toward a new website, a new Tech Team is forming.

USk would like to welcome Kristine Sederholm of BC, Canada as our new Systems Administrator. Kristine has 15 years’ experience as a visual designer with a focus on web publishing, and managing CMS content. She has experience with front end development work, CMS theming, back end set ups, as well as UX design.

Joining Kristine on the newly forming tech team is Paul Ingold of Chicago, USA. Paul has 15 years’ experience as a UX designer. He works with a large team of designers, front end developers and usability testers. Paul is all about website usability and we’re grateful for his contribution.

USk Treasurer, Joel Winstead will be acting as the tech consultant to the tech team. Joel’s experience as a software engineer, puts him in an ideal position to understand the organization’s internet properties and needs. A man of many talents, Joel’s also a great sketcher!

The USk Tech Team will report to Brenda Murray, USk Communications Director who will contribute to the management of the USk website, our main communication platform.


Thank you Jason!

Urban Sketchers would like to thank Jason Das of NYC for his dedication and valuable contribution to USk as our Systems Administrator. For many years Jason has managed on a technical level how our internet properties work and work together; this includes domains, websites, e-mails, hosted services, social media integrations, mailing lists, and more. Jason has also applied his tech savvy to the Symposium team where he contributed to the smooth operation of our registration process. Though stepping down from this role, we’re sure to see him helping out in some other way because we know Jason loves USk. Thank you Jason! We appreciate you!


Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Managing Editor for Drawing Attention

USk is seeking a volunteer Managing Editor for our newsletter, Drawing Attention. The Managing Editor is a writer, editor and cheerleader able to inspire a team of eight-ish fellow writers. You are organized and have a keen eye for detail. You are able to identify new stories, track ongoing stories, and put all the parts together on a deadline so that the pieces can be laid out online. This volunteer position reports to the Communication Director. Interested candidates please contact

Volunteer Writers for Drawing Attention

USk is seeking volunteer writers to join our team of contributors to our newsletter Drawing Attention. The candidates should have some writing experience and be able to show some writing samples. Typically writers to DA interview our volunteers and teachers and tell stories about their contributions to the organization. Or they may write stories about new chapters, or special events. These volunteer positions report to the Managing Editor. Interested candidates please contact

Volunteer Fundraising Team Members

USk is seeking volunteer team members to help fundraise. We are looking for people who can help negotiate Symposium sponsorships, organize grant writing, and set up tracking studies. We need help from everywhere, but would appreciate representation of volunteers in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. Please contact Joel:

Bring a Workshop to your Chapter

In 2016 Urban Sketchers organized 16 workshops around the world in collaboration with USk chapters from San Diego to New York. These workshops were taught by our top instructors: great teachers such as Arno Hartmann, Marc Taro Holmes, Paul Heaston and more! If you would like to bring an official USk workshop to your chapter, email our Education Director, Mario Linhares at

Upcoming Workshops

USk is pleased to announce new workshops coming in 2017!

May 5-7, 2017 Puzzling Out The Picture, with Veronica Lawlor, in New York City, USA.

Many times, when a sketcher arrives at a busy urban location, there is a sense of being overwhelmed. This workshop will teach you how to puzzle it all out, bringing the pieces together in a wide picture full of dimension and graphic expression, which ultimately can tell the story of a place. For more information, click HERE.

2016 Symposium Videos

Some of the videos of presenter lectures from the 2016 Symposium are now available on our website. Click here to view lectures by Lynne Chapman, Ed Harkner, Alvin Wong and more.


Symposium News

The Symposium team is working hard in preparation for the USk Chicago Symposium July 26-29, 2017! Chicago is an exciting city with lots to see and sketch. Check out these pix taken by Fernanda Vaz de Campos.Chicago is an Urban Sketchers paradise; there are exceptional drawing locations near our venue such as Millenium Park, an iconic park steps from Lake Michigan among its key features are Jay Pritzker Pavillion designed by Frank Gehry, public art such as ‘Cloud Gate’ (better known as the ‘Bean’ by Anish Kapoor, Crown Fountain, Lurie Gardens and the Gehry’s BP Bridge and Nichols Bridge, by Renzo Piano, connecting the park to the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Also, the Riverwalk, a new promenade along the main branch of the Chicago River, with restaurants, boats, kayak outfitters, live music, water taxis, a museum and exceptional views of downtown. Prime viewing of the activity on the river and the infamous trunnion bridges.
The Loop, Chicago’s central commercial core, is where the first skyscrapers in the world were conceived, designed, and built. The Loop or "L" refers to Chicago’s elevated commuter train line, which circle the core business district.

Stay tuned for more details as well as the registration dates.
Subscribe to the Urban Sketchers Symposium Mailing List to get updates and be in the know when registration opens.

We can't wait to sketch with you in Chicago!


10 Years x 10 Classes Program

In 2017 Urban Sketchers will celebrate our 10 year anniversary by introducing the first long term USk course ever! We invite all sketchers around the world to attend ten on-location classes with a USk official instructor in a city near you to learn or improve the core value of Urban Sketchers--sketch the world, one drawing at a time. The 10 classes will cover three themes: little stories; medium stories and great stories.

Where will the classes be held?

Want to know how to subscribe? Stay tuned. In January, USk will announce all the details (dates, content, instructors and price). Is your city not listed here? Don't worry. You can bring this program to your city. Send an email to to learn how.

USA: Seattle; Portland; Los Angeles; San Francisco Bay Area; Orlando and Chicago.
South America: Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Asia: Hong Kong; Surabaya and Jakarta (Indonesia); Sydney (Australia); Isfahan (Iran)
Africa: Johannesburg (South Africa)
Europe: Lisbon and Evora (Portugal); Barcelona; Madrid and Sevilla (Spain); Rome and Naples (Italy); Newbury and Sheffield & Manchester (UK); Cologne & Dusseldorf and Frankfurt (Germany); Paris and Toulouse (France).


Regional Chapter News

Thanks to the hard work of Regional Chapter Coordinator, Mark Leibowitz and the RC Committee: Patrick Ng, Alvin Wong, Peggy Wong Ronaldo Kurita, and Wiltfried Pathuis, Urban Sketchers has now grown to 181 official chapters worldwide and approximately 90,000 members. Thank you team for your great work!

Six RC Admins Share Tips to Attracting New Members

We asked six USk chapter admins from around the world how they attract new members and what advice they have for new chapters. This is what they had to say...

Alvin Wong USk Hong Kong

How did you attract members to your chapter?

We founded USk Hong Kong almost four years ago and now have 5000 members following our Facebook page — about 250 of whom actively post sketches.

Basically, we stay active by holding at least one event per month, sometimes more. And we’re always refreshing our Youtube feed, blog and banner to keep things lively and current. 

What advice would you give to a new USk chapter trying to attract more members?

Be transparent and stay active. Administrators definitely have to take the lead by posting about the events. It’s important to make sure that newcomers feel welcome and have a sense of belonging — so take care of them and invite them to sit next to your old-timers.

For more tips, check out my lecture from the Manchester Symposium:
How to Make Your Regional Chapter Rock!

Liz Steele USk Sydney

Our local Sydney chapter was started early 2011 and then morphed into USk Australia later that year. Now that numbers are growing nationwide, we’ve formed separate chapters in various cities and towns around Australia, so my focus is now back in Sydney. We’ve got 300 people on the USK Sydney mailing list and typically get between 25-40 people at our monthly events.

How did you attract members to your chapter?

Simply by sharing our work online. Some of our sketchers actively share their work on blogs, Facebook and especially Instagram. In recent years, we’ve developed more connections with local businesses, councils and organizations by tagging them when posting our work to Instagram.

What advice would you give to a new USk chapter trying to attract more members?

Really encourage people to share online. A dedicated Facebook group is great for building connection between members, but also encourage everyone to post on other platforms. Writing blog articles about your events helps people searching for local sketching groups (eg “sketching Sydney”) to find you and join. Don’t expect instant growth. Instead, focus on building a strong and supportive, active core group and the numbers will come over time.

Lis Watkins USk London

Adebanji Alade, James Hobbs, Barry Jackson, Olha Pryymak, Katherine Tyrrell and Zhenia Vasiliev started the London chapter back in February 2012. I can’t give you an exact number of members, but I can say that a recent sketch crawl attracted 40 to 50 people.

How did you attract members to your chapter?

Our online presence helps. But just as important is word of mouth—many people come along because they’ve heard about us from friends. We always have a lot of visiting sketchers from other national and international USk chapters attending our sketchcrawls. To appeal to a broader spectrum of sketchers, we organise events at a variety of venues—both inside and out, historic and modern.

What advice would you give to a new USk chapter trying to attract more members?

Organise monthly events and publicise them as much as possible. Look for places to exhibit your group’s work. We’ve had several exhibitions at a coffee and co-working cafe called Timberyard with different locations around the city.

Mark Lebowitz USk New York

The New York City group has been around for five years and has over 600 members. I think the more important question to ask is: how to make the best possible sketching experience for the members that you currently have? There is a definite connection to running a happy group and attracting new people.

How did you attract members to your chapter?

Growth happens almost on its own if you’re consistent. Of course, people see and join our Facebook page but word of mouth is our best source of new sketchers. As is just talking with the people on the street who show an interest. We’re happy to chat with them, always invite them to join us and have cards printed with our Facebook and website addresses. We introduce ourselves at art supply stores and if we are teaching, we mention it to our students.

What advice would you give to a new USk chapter trying to attract more members?

Relax. It will happen. There’s no perfect size for an Urban Sketching group, but the size of your group changes things. More people won’t necessarily improve everyone’s sketching experience. It has the potential to complicate things. For example, we have a tradition of going out together for a drink and conversation at the end of the day. Showing up at a restaurant or bar with ten people is easy but it’s more complicated with 20 people. Having a group of 50 or more would make that tradition impossible.

Our sole motivation is the quality of the experience we all share. There's no money in this, it’s not a business where every customer impacts the bottom line. So our aim is for a slow growth that replaces the loss that naturally happens as people graduate, move, change jobs, start families, etc. That way, the changes aren’t dramatic and people are able to adjust to new faces and new relationships.

TIA USk Singapore 

How old is your chapter?

USk Singapore started with four members in November 2009 and over the past 9 years, we’ve had steady growth with 30 to 80 active sketchers attending our events. We currently have 3,400 members following us on social media, mainly on Facebook.

How did you attract members to your chapter?

We held regular events, such as sketchwalks (we coined the term "sketchwalk" in 2009), drink and draw sessions and workshops for students. Our sketchwalks are scheduled for the last Saturday each month at the same time making it easy for people to develop a routine. The workshops are also a great way to attract and keep members. We’ve also published a book and held exhibitions to increase our visibility in our community and have started working with the local government arts agencies to promote Urban Sketching.

What advice would you give to a new USk chapter trying to attract more members?

My advice is to make it as easy as possible for your new members to join by holding regular outdoor sketching sessions and sharing the location on Facebook. At each sketchwalk, make sure you introduce the newcomers to everyone and assign a senior sketcher to them to answer any questions about what we are doing, sketching tips or art materials.

Swasky USk Barcelona

In 2013, we created our local chapter after organising the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona. We now have more than 1000 members—most of them are people who’ve visited us since the symposium. 

How did you attract members to your chapter?

We have a lot of things we do, and different types of activities. But what I’ve found to be the most important thing you can do to build and sustain your group is make sure that you meet everybody who is new to your event and give them a really warm welcome.

What advice would you give to a new USk chapter trying to attract more members?

Don’t give up on organising events. Encourage your members to get involved and engaged by holding their own open, free events to promote Urban Sketching and drawing on location.

Meet Richard Johnson, News Illustrator and USk Volunteer

by Brenda Murray
Richard Johnson
Meet news illustrator for the McKinsey and Company, Richard Johnson. Richard is one of the Administrators of the USk Flickr platform. Richard says that he volunteers because he thinks the purity of the Urban Sketchers Manifesto is important and different than any other sketch/drawing group.

“I believe that visual storytelling by immersing yourself in the environment as you make your marks on the paper is different than any other form of art when it comes to transferring the emotion of the moment,” Richard explains. “And strangely for the transfer of that ‘emotional moment,’ it is not necessary to be a good artist. You can be a poor draughts-person and still capture more by drawing live than even the greatest artist can do drawing from a photograph. This stringent requirement can seem inane to anyone who doesn’t get it. But there are other groups for those folks. I am doing this for the people who do get it.”
As a news illustrator, Richard illustrates and reports on live news events. His first overseas assignment was to embed with the USMC during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He was working for the Detroit Free Press at the time. He crossed the border sitting on a case of C4 explosive, with a group of 12 Marines, in the back of an armored dump-truck on the first day of the invasion. Over the next four weeks he sketched his way to the outskirts of Baghdad.

“I didn’t really understand the impact of my work on readers until I got home again to a desk covered in written correspondence from people affected by my work; people who were surprised to find themselves writing; people who were stunned by their own emotional response. I realized then that this is a powerful storytelling tool.”

Richard says that the most interesting story he has ever been assigned happened last year in the pediatric cardiology unit of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C.

“It was probably the most challenging work I have done emotionally, and one of the biggest tests in my belief in the power of live sketching,” Richard said. “For over a month I embedded in a 24-bed unit for children with chronic heart conditions. Mostly the ward was filled with tiny newborns in recovery from massive surgery they had as soon as they were born, but there were also older children in the ward who were survivors of heart disease with complications. I followed four families and their children. I am still and will forever be awed by the courage of families who were willing to allow a stranger into their personal arena of pain during some of the most trying times of their lives. These families allowed me access in no small part because I had personally been where they had been.”
You can see that full story here in a story called Why we Draw.

“I followed the families through the happy times and the sad and drew through it all. I sketched even when any decent person should have left the room. I questioned my resolve constantly. Every single drawing is now with the parents of the children. In the end three of the children didn’t make it.”

You can read that full story HERE. Headphones and tissues will be required.

Richard prefers to draw with something decisive. “Something that doesn’t allow much prevaricating about which line to use. Something that doesn’t erase.” Richard draws with ballpoint pens for situations where he will be drawing really fast. When he has more time and wants to be able to shade and tone large areas quickly he uses a colored pencil. He is particularly fond of Prismacolor Indigo Blue.

Richard avoids expensive materials wherever possible because, he says, “expensive sketchpads can be the death of the bravery it takes to draw all the time”. Richard encourages his students to buy paper in 500 sheet bundles and to “learn to relish the cathartic joy of crushing what rubbish you have drawn into a ball and pitching it across the room. Drawing a lot and drawing often is the answer to all that ails you. Eventually you will crush only a few. Then, and only then, go buy a Moleskine.”

Richard sums it up: “Just draw what you see, as accurately as you can. I believe that if you do that, and do it live, the life you see around you--as you draw--will be transferred to the paper.”

Capturing the Cityscape with Collage

by Barb Nigg

You’ll find Joy Hecht on the sidewalks of New York City doing something that sets her apart from most urban sketchers — collage! No paintbrushes, no paint and no ink. Instead, she prefers to convey the cityscape using paper and glue more than any other media.

“It’s a great technique to avoid overworking, to simplify and present my sense of the place, Joy explains.”

Sometimes the weather drives her indoors — just imagine trying to manage lots of little bits of paper in the wind! But finding indoor spots with interesting views is also challenging, so she prefers working on the street.

“It’s a lot more fun,” she says, and “I’m always amazed by the extent that passersby ignore my crazy mess of paper, glue and scissors!”

One thing that doesn’t work for her though, is working from a photo — the work just isn’t the same.

On November 19th, Joy shared her techniques with fifteen members of NYC’s USk chapter. No stranger to giving workshops — though usually on economics and environmental accounting — this was her first time teaching collage. Everyone met at the Winter Garden, a large indoor public space in lower Manhattan with a splendid view looking south over the Hudson River to the New Jersey shore, New York harbor, and the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

After a brief presentation on techniques and materials, Joy had everyone start with a quick sketch of their scene, and then begin cutting paper at once. She guided participants in choosing materials with interesting textures and as with any other sketch, keeping an eye on composition, perspective and value.
“The most common question [participants asked] was whether they should lay everything out before gluing or start gluing right away.”

Joy said even when indoors, she glues things down as soon as she’s got a shape cut out because “…when creating collages outdoors, sitting on a ledge or squatting on a street corner, everything that isn’t glued down blows away in an instant!”

Clearly, the extra planning collage may require is worth it! You can see just how beautiful and effective the technique is by taking a look at the participants’ exciting work.

Meet the Sketchers of USk San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

San Miguel sketch by Susan Dorf

New USk chapter, the Urban Sketchers of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, meets each Tuesday to practice their art and share ideas. In addition to the weekly sketch group, the USk SMA also meet at monthly sketch events, and this month they spent an afternoon at Via Organica's Rural Mercado (first Sunday of each month.) This was their first official USk event, planned by administrators Susan Dorf, Judy Plummer and Meagan Burns, and they had a lovely afternoon sketching the sights, food and people of the colorful mercado. Their gracious hosts provided a table for their sketchbooks and water colors, and the group of about ten artists moved about the mercado, sketching the everyday as it unfolded in front of them. Learn more about USk SMA and request to join their Facebook Group


USk Chinese New Year Sketchcrawl

by Ann Schwartzwald
Sketch by Catharine Gati

Chinese New Year falls on 28 January in 2017 and Tet, Vietnamese New Year is 29 January 2017. January 28 is also set as the 54th Worldwide Sketchcrawl Day!

We would like to invite every chapter and individual sketchers to join in on the fun and sketch together with the same theme: Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, or Year of the Rooster.

So far the following USk chapters will be participating: São Paulo; Singapore; Boston; Orlando; Japan; Hong Kong; Melbourne; Sydney; Beijing; Seattle ; Canberra; Los Angeles; Kuala Lumpur; Taiwan; Austin; Gran Canaria; Fredericksburg, VA; Raleigh; Cleveland; Charleston, SC; Cairns, AUS; Ilocos; Kuching, Malaysia; Waterloo Region, Canada and NYC.

Put this on your calendar and gather all your sketching friends to make this a terrific Worldwide Event! If you will be busy celebrating the holiday with friends and family, any sketch reflecting your special traditions would be a lovely way to share art about the beginning of a New Year!

You can post your sketches on our Facebook or Flickr group pages or Instagram at #usk #urbansketch #urbansketchers.

Happy New Year from USk!

Summer Sketching on the Best Coast

Museum Row, Downtown Tacoma by Jim Bumgarner

by Jane Wingfield

In 2013, urban sketcher Jim Bumgarner from Richland, Washington and the founder of Tri-Cities Urban Sketchers decided not to go to the Symposium in Barcelona. “So, what would you like to do instead?” he asked himself. His answer? “Go sketching in San Francisco.”
After checking with Gabi Campanario, he contacted a few Urban Sketchers in the Bay Area hoping they might want to put something together with him. It worked! The Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl was born. And it worked again the next year in Portland, Oregon…and again in San Diego, California in 2015…and again this past summer in Tacoma, Washington.
The West Coast Sketch Crawls are FREE. There are no workshops, no registration fees and no registration deadlines; although organizers do ask that participants RSVP online to help them plan. Local USk volunteers coordinate the event managing any meal arrangements, handling questions, arranging the meeting spots, including meal recommendations, and gather “swag” from local businesses as giveaways to participants.

The local organizers then put together the schedule that usually begins at 6 P.M. on Friday with a Meet’n’Greet including introductions, swag bag distribution, and portrait sketching. Saturday is a full-day marathon of sketching – usually 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. – held in locations that show off the city. Sunday sketchers meet from 9 A.M. to noon.

In total, approximately 500 sketchers have participated over the years. In August 2016 approximately 150 sketchers met. Most come from the western US, a few from Canada and occasional international visitors. Three or four sketchers have attended all four events.

The Fifth Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl will be in Vancouver, B.C. from August 11-13, 2017.

USk Seattle Supports Historic Preservation

by Tina Koyama
Sketch by Yung-Ching Hung
Members of USk Seattle donated a dozen sketches of local historic buildings and other popular landmarks to a recent auction that brought in nearly $900. Managed by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, the Valerie Slivinski Fund Holiday Benefit is held each year to help local communities preserve and revive local historic resources and cherished landmarks. Half the proceeds from the sketches was donated to the trust, and half went to the international Urban Sketchers organization.

“This is a great way for us to connect directly with organizations that look to preserve the environments we enjoy sketching so much,” said David Chamness, who, along with WTHP Development & Events Coordinator Julianne Patterson, organized the sketch donations.

Yung-Ching Hung’s sketch of the historic Pink Elephant carwash with the Space Needle behind it was one of the donated sketches for the fundraiser.

Review of Miguel Herranz’s Barcelona Rooftops

by Lauren Peterson

The star of Herranz’s new book Barcelona Rooftops is his sketches of the rooftops of Barcelona. Employing a wide range of styles and media, Herranz treats us to an aerial view of this beautiful city. There is such diversity in the art here, ranging from small vignettes in pencil to sprawling full-color double-page spreads.

An ending double-page spread shows a map of the area and a list of the locations of the sketches.

Despite its small size, softcover, and the fact that its page count is just shy of a hundred, this is really a coffee table book at heart. Aside from a one-page introduction and a short bio at the end, there is very little text, but the small, often poetic snippets are a perfect complement to the lovely sketches.

For example, the text accompanying a sketch of Las Arenas, a former bullfighting arena that is now a shopping mall, reads “A lap of honour, or not, in a bullring that is no more. After a facelift that would please an acrobat, all that’s left behind is a market disguised as a circus.”

When Miguel Herranz realized his dream of becoming an illustrator, he found himself drawing on a graphics tablet. The result, he says, was a “tremendous nostalgia for paper,” and his sketchbooks started filling up quickly.


Lisbon, the Ibero-American Capital of Culture for 2017

Lisbon is scheduled to be the Ibero-American Capital of Culture for 2017. The Urban Sketchers Portugal Association, with financing from the Lisbon City Hall, is organizing a year-round cycle of sketching workshops with instructors from Portugal, Spain and Latin America. The workshops will take place in the picturesque Amoreiras garden, and the former studio of Portuguese artist Vieira da Silva, right in the heart of Lisbon. Click here for more information.

Parka Reviews

by Teoh Yi Chie 

Teoh Yi Chie is an infographics journalist who joined Urban Sketchers Singapore in 2009. He's probably better known as Parka from a website that reviews art books and art products.

This month Parka reviews the Derivan Liquid Pencil (Sepia, rewettable). Check it out!

See your sketch on the USk Blog Flag and USk Facebook Page

If you’re interested in submitting a sketch to be considered for the USk blog flag and USk Facebook Page cover photo, check the submittal guidelines HERE (scroll to the bottom of the page) and send your flag to
Donate to Urban Sketchers through Amazon Smile


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Shout It Out in Drawing Attention!

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Happy sketching!

Drawing Attention, the official monthly newsletter of the Urban Sketchers organization, communicates and promotes official USk workshops, symposiums, sketchcrawls, news and events; shares news about USk chapters; and educates readers about the practice of on-location sketching.

Thank you to Drawing Attention contributors this month:

Writer Ann Schwartzwald, writer Barb Nigg, Managing Editior Brenda Murray, writer Jane Wingfield, writer Lauren Peterson, writer Meagan Burns, contributor Parka, writer Tina Koyama, writer and website layout Joann Sondy, Mailchimp layout Suzi Briggs.
Drawing Attention, the official monthly newsletter of the Urban Sketchers organization, communicates and promotes official USk workshops, symposiums, sketchcrawls, news and events; shares news about USk chapters; and educates readers about the practice of on-location sketching.

Drawing Attention circulation 4,718 (December 18, 2016)

Urban Sketchers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the art of on-location drawing. Consider making a donation today. Go to to make your tax-deductible contribution via Paypal.




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