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 April 2017

President’s Message to the USk Community 

by Amber Sausen

I want to take this opportunity, after the Board’s first Quarterly Meeting of 2017, to thank all the sketchers, regional chapters, volunteers, coordinators and Advisory Board members for the work and passion they bring to the organization. It’s that passion and enthusiasm that keeps USk exciting and makes the Board work harder to assure that our organization and community stays active and connected.

In the coming months we will share more about the short and long term plans to keep our community strong and vibrant. One initiative we’d like to share is that we’re improving the selection process for Symposium host cities and how sketchers register for this event. We’re responding to your suggestions and following the lead of regional chapters that are doing great work. You all have valuable ideas and provide wonderful examples of how to create community and educate sketchers all around the world and we want to build on that.

There’s a lot more that you will hear through the USk Blog, Facebook, Drawing Attention and our other social media platforms, so stay tuned for more. We will always welcome your thoughts and suggestions, so please feel free to contact your regional chapter administrator or any of us on the executive board directly.

We hope you continue to “Show us the world, one drawing at a time.


Bring a Workshop To Your Chapter

Meet Richard Briggs
Urban Sketchers organizes workshops in collaboration with USk chapters around the world from Barcelona to New York. These workshops are taught by our top instructors: great teachers such as Richard Briggs, Suhita Shirodkar, Don Low and more! If you would like to bring an official USk workshop to your chapter, email our Education Director, Mario Linhares at


10 Years 10 Classes

To celebrate our 10th anniversary, the Education Committee launched the 10x10 Program. Twenty-six cities from around the world are participating (so far) each committing to organize 10 classes. We want to see as many people sketching as possible!

Click HERE to participate in a class near you.

If your regional chapter would like to participate in the 10x10 Program, it’s not too late! Contact Mário Linhares at

10x10 Highlight

Check out the great workshops being offered in Orlando!


Volunteer Opportunities

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 Berman:


Volunteer Grant Writer

The Fundraising Committee is looking for volunteer Grant Writers to help prepare applications for funding provided by an institution such as a government department, corporation, foundation or trust. Experience with foundations preferred. You are detail-oriented, enjoy doing some online research and have excellent written communication skills. 4-10 hours/month. To apply email a cv and letter of interest to Joel Berman


Volunteer Museum Exhibition Team Members

USk is seeking volunteer team members to help organize the first ever global USk exhibition as part of our 10 Year Anniversary Celebrations. The exhibition will be held in early 2018. We are looking for people who have experience designing and/or curating exhibitions. Volunteers will work with Bindi Nasasira, 10th Anniversary Celebration Coordinator and USk President Amber Sausen.

To apply, please send a letter/email of interest, including a description of your relevant experience to


 Volunteer Twitter Aficionados

Join the USk Volunteer Twitter team! USk is seeking one permanent and two temporary volunteer Twitter aficionados to help with our growing social media needs.

Permanent Volunteer - We are looking to fill one permanent position on the Twitter team to help promote our upcoming events throughout the year. Volunteers will also Tweet on behalf of the USk community including USk chapters and individual sketchers.

Temporary Volunteers - We are also looking for 2 people to help promote the upcoming International USk Symposium in Chicago on July 29-29, 2017. Attendance at the symposium is required. Applicants must already be Basic Pass holders.

To apply, please contact Please provide your Twitter handle and briefly describe your personal experience with Twitter and the Urban Sketchers group. Applications due by April 15.


Volunteer Instagram Aficionados

Join the USk Volunteer Instagram team!  USk is seeking  two temporary volunteer Instagram Aficionados to help with our social media needs during the symposium in Chicago July 29-29, 2017. Attendance at the symposium is required. Applicants must already be Basic Pass holders.

To apply, please contact Please briefly describe your personal experience with Instagram and with Urban Sketchers. Applications due by April 15.



Call for 2018 Symposium Host City

Urban Sketchers is seeking a host city for the 9th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in 2018!

This year the host selection will happen in 3 Stages:
STAGE 1: Registration of interest. The deadline is April 10, 2017.
STAGE 2: Host Proposal. The deadline is May 22, 2017.
STAGE 3: Interview. The deadline is the first week of June, 2017.

For more information about this exciting opportunity please click HERE.

Call for International Symposium Correspondents

USk is now recruiting for two international correspondents to serve on the symposium correspondent team during the 8th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago, USA, July 26-29, 2017.

These two correspondents will receive five nights’ lodging and airfare and an Open Symposium Pass. Symposium Correspondents are responsible to sketch the activities of the symposium daily during all four days, post sketches and a brief written article each day on the global USk blog, and to share on social media.

For more information about this exciting opportunity, click HERE.

Application deadline: 5 p.m. PDT., Thursday, April 6, 2017.


Upcoming Workshops

USk is pleased to announce new workshops coming in 2017!

May 19 - 23, 2017, Frame the World Differently, with Majid Modir and Mikael Jacobsson in Volterra, Italy

Drawing and painting in good company, learning watercolor technique, meet interesting people and taking the pulse of the Italian lifestyle, eating and drinking Tuscan delicacy, enjoying the blooming scenery in May and having the first swim in the Mediterranean sea.

For more information about this workshop, click HERE


June 17th, 2017: Sketch NOW Think Later, with Mike Daikubara, Boston SOLD OUT but June 10th has been added.

In this workshop, we will pare these down to the essentials of a few tools, few techniques and few approaches so you can enjoy what you like to do in the first place: To jump right into sketching anytime, anywhere, and in any situation!

For more information about this workshop, click HERE.


June 21-24: Life Stories - Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries, with Isabel Carmona, Swasky and Miguel Herranz, in Bristol, UK


Behind the Scenes with the Sponsorship Team

by Ann Schwartzwald

There’s a lot of excitement building about the 8th Urban Sketchers International Symposium coming up July 26-29 in Chicago. It's looking like it will be a “best ever” experience. Let's take a look behind the scenes to see who helps make an event like this successful. One big job is lining up sponsors to donate both money and products. Omar Jaramillo and Raylie Dunkel are our Symposium Sponsorship Coordinators. Omar is covering the European sponsors and Raylie the North American sponsors. Both attended an industry tradeshow this winter to pitch USk and to line up sponsors.

Raylie has been an Urban Sketcher for about 5 years. She shares, “When I retired I was trying to figure out what to do with my life and knew I wanted to learn how to draw: something I loved to do in high school and hadn’t done since I graduated. So 50 years later I took some classes and somewhere along the way found Gaby’s original Urban Sketchers book.” She then met Mark Leibowitz and the NYC chapter, but wasn't able to attend their weekend meetings, so at Mark's urging she organized a weekday group which now has about 25 regulars. Both groups are very active, meeting weekly for approximately 100 meetings per year!

Then, about 4 years ago, Raylie attended her first Symposium: “We were coming up on our 50th wedding anniversary,” Raylie said. “My husband asked what I wanted: fancy dinner, big party, glitzy bauble--whatever. I said I wanted to go to the Symposium in Brazil….and so we did. Best anniversary present ever! It was infectious and so I went back again and again. Then last year in Manchester Joel Berman, the Fundraising Director, asked if I would like to help with sponsorship development for this year’s event.”

“The Fundraising Committee realized that there is an American counterpart to the tradeshow Omar attended in Germany. I volunteered to go,” Raylie said.  Raylie attended the National Art Materials Trade Association (NAMTA) tradeshow in Salt Lake City from March 4-6, 2017. “The show isn’t as large as Paper World in Germany but quite large by any standard with several hundred booths.

Raylie met with over 50 vendors with overwhelmingly positive results and USk has been invited to attend next year’s event with an associate designation that will “allow us to have contact with members, get newsletters and attend the private events at the tradeshow.

“The face-to-face meetings with the vendors were the best part of the experience,” Raylie said. “We now have a platform that will allow us to build a long term relationship with these companies so that we don’t have to start the process over each year.”

Raylie was also able to meet with the American affiliates of European and Asian companies. This is important because it means that now we won’t have to deal with so many international trade barriers and logistical hurdles, making the whole process much easier. Another exciting piece was contact with some media companies that will give us coverage in their publications and a big publicity boost with their membership. “I think the response next year is going to be even better than whatever we have this year….which is wonderful already.”

Since 2012 Omar Jaramillo has been instrumental in organizing the European sponsors. “I was living in Sicily, Italy in 2009 when I found out about Urban Sketchers from the blog 'Lines and Colors' “. He has been an enthusiastic sketcher since then. Now living in Berlin, Omar is active with USk Berlin and USk Germany.

The job Omar and the rest of the committee has been charged with involves a lot of intensive work from January until July. He recalls, “I was working at the fair sketching and companies kept asking me about our group.” That led to his deeper involvement meeting people and making connections that have helped solicit sponsorship from these companies.

This year Omar attended the Creative World /Paper World tradeshow in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Omar describes it as “the biggest trade fair for stationary and art related materials. It takes place every year at the end of January. It is huge!  A fair is important because you have the opportunity to meet the heads of the companies and people who are responsible for marketing strategies.” He has really enjoyed attending the tradeshows because “I have the opportunity to meet very interesting people.”

Raylie sums it up well: “This has been a terrific experience. Working with the committee across the globe, meeting vendors, and getting to know the USk leadership has been an extremely rewarding experience.  I think we are going to have a fantastic response from the vendors and suppliers which is going to enrich the Symposium experience for everyone.”

Omar and Raylie have put a great deal of heart and soul and personal time and commitment into their work on the Sponsorship team and, as a result, symposium participants will have the opportunity to be exposed to new products. In addition, their work provides the organization with critical financial support. Urban Sketchers is very grateful for their skills and hard work, which is helping to give us a wonderful Symposium this July!

USK Luxembourg Sketchcrawl

USk Luxembourg is organizing a free weekend of sketchcrawls April 29 through 30, 2017 to which anyone interested is welcome to participate. The young chapter is happy to welcome fellow sketchers from neighboring countries. So far sketchers from France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have registered to attend.

Two types of tickets are available: one for the event in general, and one for the dinner on Saturday where registration is compulsory.

For more information click HERE.

Come to the first international USK sketchcrawl in Luxembourg City. You will be amazed to discover how "sketchable" the city is.

Another Round for Arno Hartmann

by Jane Wingfield

Curved perspective is a topic few urban sketchers attempt to tackle. Arno Hartmann of Cologne, Germany wants to change that. Last year at the Manchester Symposium Hartmann led the workshop, Curved Perspectives – Sketching 360° degrees.

“In order to draw your surroundings in one 360° cylindrical panorama drawing, you need four or five vanishing points and some sinus curved guidelines”, says Hartman. 

He insists the set-up is quite easy. All you need is a more or less rectangular location and the correct wall size to start with.

His lessons always start with the same questions, Where is my eyeline? Where are my vanishing points? The next step is to draw some radical guidelines, centered in the vanishing points. That helps to see the space you want to depict. Hartmann strongly recommends small palm sized concept sketches to plan the size of the motif within the final drawing sheet. He also teaches students to measure the width of your scene in pencil lengths. In his drawings you can find pencil strokes at the bottom of the paper dividing it into 6 or 8 units – a guide which helps him get the proportions right.

Many sketchers struggle with the right perspective setup of their drawings and are unhappy with their sketches. Hartmann says his intention is to deliver the skills to organize drawings "correctly" in terms of perspective. Managing a challenging perspective setup, along with light and shadow, can be very satisfying. Teaching the skills to master these skills is, for Hartmann, one of the most satisfying aspects of Urban Sketching.

To learn more about Arno, please click HERE.

To download Arno’s workshop notes from the 2016 symposium, click HERE.

"Cars in the City" by Lapin

by Pedro Loureiro

Lapin is well-known for fish-eye perspectives, cars and sketching in old accounting books, but this is just the beginning of his truly unique style. He works as an illustrator in Barcelona for as many years as the Urban Sketchers have been around, and he was part of the original USk correspondent group.

Surprisingly, Lapin tells us that he doesn’t own a driving license “It’s just about the design, the aesthetics, about how the cars look like.” He especially appreciates cars from before the 80’s when they were designed by hand, not by computers, his favorite being the iconic Citroën 2CV. “It’s also a way to make one sketch a day at least, and in a short time” Lapin concludes.

Challenged by Florian Afflerbach (Flaf) to lead a car-themed workshop at the Symposium in Manchester, Lapin, passionate about sketching cars since as long as he remembers, gladly accepted. Unfortunately Flaf passed away in May 2016, before the Symposium was held, and wanting to pay tribute to our lost comrade in sketching, Gérard Michel stepped up to the challenge and accompanied Lapin to Manchester as a co-instructor in the workshop.

In the handout of his Symposium workshop “Cars in the City”, Lapin curiously mentions the word “portraits”, and that’s exactly what he practices and teaches: “I try to humanize the car, to give it personality. I teach how to sketch cars, but in the same way as I would teach how to sketch portraits or architecture”. Lapin tells students to go from the details to the general picture and not to worry much about the perspective at the beginning. Easier said than done, but his own words simplify this approach: “it’s just relating shapes and angles at first”.

His three sessions in Manchester were at full capacity, showing that he continues to inspire sketchers worldwide. The three challenges Lapin brought to Manchester were first, to quickly and roughly sketch a car from two or three meters away and again from a very close distance, just to understand the difference of distortion in perspective on each attempt; second, to compose a very accurate portrait of a car from a close distance in an hour, getting more acquainted with the fish-eye perspective that short distances create; and finally, to sketch a group of cars in front of a skyline, in order to create an urban story, because, as Lapin puts it “an urban sketch of a lively road wouldn’t look complete without the presence of cars.”

The first few quick sketches were very important as they allowed participants to warm up and to set them on the mind frame of sketching what they see rather than what they know. The remaining challenges were a matter of training perseverance, detail and visual storytelling.

To view some demo videos of Lapin sketching vintage automobiles, click HERE. Or you may wish to watch as Lapin speaks about sketching in general and his art. Learn more about Lapin’s books of vintage cars listed on his website.

To download Gérard’s and Lapin’s 2016 symposium workshop handout “Cars in the city” please click HERE.


Yu Lan, the Hungry Ghost Festival

by Ben Luk

The most unusual urban sketching event ever organised by USk Hong Kong was the Hungry Ghost Festival in August 2015. In the Chinese calendar, it is said that the gates of hell open during the seventh month and wandering spirits from the netherworld are free to roam. More than a century ago, when Hong Kong was still a small trading port under British rule, coolies (labourers) from Mainland China were hired to move goods in and out of the go-downs (warehouses) dotted along the harbour front. When they passed away, it was said that many of them could not afford proper funerals. Haunted stories ensued. Offerings and rituals were performed to appease the spirits called the “Good Brothers” by the coolies. The Yu Lan Festival has become an annual tradition with elaborate offerings as well as opera performances for the living as well as the dead. It is now an important part of our cultural heritage which has obtained the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status in 2011.

Local historian and friend of USkHK, Sylvia Midgett, conducted an in-depth “Narrate and Sketch” guided walk of the 118th year of the Hungry Ghost Festival at Moreton Terrace by Kung Woo Tong, the city’s earliest organizer of the Yu Lan Festival. A multi-purpose ball court was turned into a kind of carnival equipped with a bamboo-covered stage, surrounded by elaborate effigies made of bamboo and paper. Sylvia gave us a peek backstage, where artists from afar set up camp, live, cook, apply make-up, mend their costumes and rehearse under a makeshift tin roof. Temporary seats were laid out in front of the stage but, Sylvia told us, do not sit in the front two rows--they are reserved for our friendly guests from the other world!

With that in mind, we spread ourselves out to try and take in everything and record it on our sketchbooks (and Rob Sketcherman’s iPad!). I was particularly impressed by the 6m tall paper effigy of the King of Hell, “大士王” whose role was to police the site and keep the party of hungry ghosts in order. Worshippers flocked to this part of the festival with their food offerings, joss sticks and candles. The smoke from burning joss sticks actually made the sketching rather challenging!

We have found that learning about the background to an event made a big difference in our perception and understanding of the event; and in the manifestation of the spirit in our sketches!


Sketcher Envy – We All Have It!

by Lauren Peterson

How would you respond to the question: Which urban sketcher gives you sketcher envy and why? This is the question that was posed to some urban sketchers, and they didn’t hold back in revealing their sketcher envy. Read on to see their picks!

“I suffer from a case of Sketcher Envy looking at the work of lots of Urban Sketchers, but I probably get the most “oh my gosh” moments from Shari Blaukopf’s work. One--she is insanely prolific, even turning out gorgeous work all through the winter sitting in her freezing car. Two--she has an incredible sense of composition. Three--her use of paint is very painterly, but also sketchy and loose. You can see the layers see gravity at work in the paint. Four--she can take the most mundane subjects and elevate them to the level of art…from simple bottles on her kitchen counter, to the corner store. And five--she is an awesome teacher. I am a HUGE fan.”--Stephanie Bower

Paul Heaston gives me sketcher envy for he can turn any ordinary everyday scene into a meticulous detailed sketch all with one pen. Kousuke Takebayashi (AKA Studio-Takeuma) from Japan gives me sketcher envy in his ability to just use colored pencils and combines it with a small story which makes his sketches much more entertaining and delightful. Uhky Uhky from Singapore gives me sketcher envy for his ability to create clean water color brush strokes in producing delightful urban scenes.”--Mike Daikubara

“Envy is not a good feeling... I'd rather say I get sketcher excitement when I look at drawings I could never do, no matter how I try to imitate them. A good example are the sketches done by Inma Serrano: I can hear her laughing when I watch them, and they make me happy too. They remind me being too detailed, precise or delicate (as people name my works) can be so... boring!”--Simonetta Capecchi

“I get sketcher envy drawing next to architects because they get every line just so, whereas I erase and erase and still the perspective is not right. I am the most envious of Stephanie Bower because of her light touch in both pencil and watercolour. She creates scenes that you can walk right into and everything is where it is meant to be.”--Shari Blaukopf

“He's prolific, and I know I'm looking at a Paul Heaston whenever my body and brain spot his signature style and go, "Woooooaaaahhh...!" even as I instinctively reach for something to hold onto. Sometimes I get vertigo (from a 2D image!!) and sometimes it's sheer bafflement that someone can bend reality so deftly and...rivetingly. While watching Colbert or folding laundry or contemplating doing the dishes. Talk about Sketcher Envy!”--Rob Sketcherman

“I get sketcher envy when I look at the works of Simone Ridyard; I love to read her lines, exquisite intricacy, seem simple but loud. Her killer splashes are always like the surprise bonus, super inspiring.”--Alvin Wong

"I get sketcher envy when I look at the work of Ch’ng Kiah Kiean because his black ink mark-making is so consistently dynamic no matter what he is drawing. He gets such an awesome range of marks with just one tool and never needs to resort to actual colour to make his subjects feel colourful. He always makes his buildings look alive and it makes me want to visit his city!"—Robyn Bauer

Shari Blaukopf gives me incredible sketcher envy with her deceptively simple line economy and palette. Whenever I try to do what she does I realize how skilled she really is. And she isn't afraid to sketch in the snow!”--Paul Heaston

“I get sketcher envy when I look at the work of Melanie Reim. Her characters are so authentic that seems like I can easily imagine not only how the person she drew looks, but also how he moves, talk, what he likes and so on. Her black lines show everything - texture, movement, color, and even smell, sound and temperature.”--Marina Grechanik

“No question that would be Paul Heaston. How does he do those incredibly detailed accurate drawings? I used to believe he created an elaborate pencil drawing that he slowly perfected and then inked. Not true. I’ve watched him sketch - he’s just that good!”--Mark Leibowitz

When you can’t choose just one….

"I get sketcher envy every time I see one of Paul Heaston's drawings, because he's so skilled, and he's so prolific. He makes me feel like I almost never draw, by comparison, because he's posting something new - and magnificent - so frequently. I get sketcher envy when I see Shari Blaukopf's work, because she makes watercolor seem so free and easy, and also so soft and inviting. I still feel like watercolor is a challenge every time I grab a brush, and perhaps Shari feels the same way - but you'd never know it looking at her stuff. I get sketcher envy when I see Gerard Michel's page spreads - his ability to include drawings of various types and scales, along with his titles and notations, always creates such an interesting graphic story about the places he visits. I get sketcher envy when I see anything drawn by Lapin, but especially his portraits. Having sat for him more than once while he sketched me, I know firsthand the connection he makes with each of his subjects - and it's amazing to me that he's been able to get so close, so immediately, to so many people over the years."--Matthew Brehm

“I get sketcher envy of two great sketchers: Inma Serrano and Marina Grechanik. They both are really productive and colorful. I love the way they create people and ambience with great line work.”--Víctor Swasky

So there you have it! Thanks to all these urban sketchers for sharing their sketcher envy with us.


Sketching inside a Volcano with USk Acores

By Meagan Burns

One of the many cool things about being an Urban Sketcher is discovering where sketchers live and how they see their world. It’s one of our founding principles, to share our drawings online. Through our blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr, we get to see and experience other sketchers’ worlds through their drawings, wherever they may be. Our drawings may be of our ordinary, everyday life experiences: sketches of a congested street scene or the business of feeding livestock in the open countryside. By sharing your drawings, you are sharing your world.

While sketching inside a volcano might seem like a very extraordinary sketching event, Paulo Brilhante, one of the Administrators of USk Açores is quick to point out that it’s quite normal to draw from inside a volcano where he lives--the entire island is of volcanic origin. He’s in a volcano at all times!

Located near Ponta Delgada on the Island of Sao Miguel, Portugal, the Sete Cidades volcano (Seven Cities) still has some seismic activity and produces fumaroles but, Paulo explains, more than drawing inside a volcano, you are drawing surrounded by immense and fractured nature. These rock formations have been known to produce feelings that invade your senses and cause you to think about the journey of these rocks and how they came to be, and perhaps how you yourself came to be. You are at the mercy of a now sleepy volcano and surrounded by the beauty it has created. Imagine capturing these sights and feelings in your sketchbook!

Paulo works as an engineering technician on the nine islands of the Açores; his work always gives him a reason to carry a sketchbook, and he continues to draw his observations of nature and buildings. He has a blog, a weekly publication in a local newspaper, published a book of sketches called "Rabiscos da Minha Ilha" (Scribbles of My Island), and has also designed a line of sugar cube packages that carry his drawings.

Paulo admits drawing improves his sense of observation of the world around him and he enjoys the process of being challenged to think more deeply. To learn more about Paulo, please visit
his blog. You may also wish to check out the blog of USk Açores.


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 video reviews Rosemary Reversible Pocket Watercolour Brushes. Check it out!

A Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher 

Urban Sketchers is celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2017! 

“A Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher” celebrates the lives of sketchers around the world and how they share work online. This social media event will feature a different sketcher each month in an Instagram and Twitter takeover. The featured sketcher will show their world, one drawing at a time by sharing approximately 6-10 posts on Instagram and Twitter during their day.

Urban Sketchers president Amber Sausen will kick off the event by sharing her Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher on April 2nd.

You can follow the “A Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher” @urbansketchers on Instagram and Twitter and check out the hashtag #uskdayinthelife.

Not on Instagram or Twitter? You can see the sketches on our website by clicking

Are you interested in sharing your Day in the Life? Sign up
HERE for a chance to be a featured sketcher! The sign-up deadline is 11:59PM GMT 16 April 2017.

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

Drawing Attention Mandate

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.

Share your Chapter’s news with our Readers

Contact us to share your chapter’s news, special events, joint meetups, and exhibitions with our readers. You don’t need to write the story yourself. We will assign a writer to cover your story.
Thanks to this month’s Drawing Attention contributors:
Managing Editor: Brenda Murray.
Writers and contributors: writer, Meagan Burns; writer, Ann Schwartzwald; writer, Jane Wingfield; writer, Lauren Peterson; writer, Amber Sausen; contributor, Parka; writer, Pedro Louriero; writer and website layout, Joann Sondy; Mailchimp layout, Suzi Briggs.
To subscribe to Drawing Attention click HERE.
Drawing Attention circulation 5,430 (April 2017)
Urban Sketchers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the art of on-location drawing. Consider making a donation today. Click HERE to make your tax-deductible contribution via Paypal.



USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=