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 July 2017

President’s Message

By Amber Sausen

As part of the preparations for the 8th Urban Sketchers' Symposium in Chicago, the planning team recently held a rehearsal! How can you rehearse for a 550+ person, multi-day event? Well, the team started at the beginning and talked through the entire symposium week: from set-up to clean up and all the fun in the middle. Here's what I learned from the rehearsal: the quality of workshops and demonstrations we'll provide to attendees is outstanding! We have a Symposium Team who understands how special this event is and wants to make it the best possible. There are going to be amazing opportunities to gather with sketching friends old and new.

The all-volunteer Symposium Team is made up of a talented international team who have planned previous symposiums and a local team who are passionate about Chicago and call it home. Together they are building an event that will be stellar.

What will make the event spectacular is you! Participants bring enthusiasm, community, and their love of sketching with each other. So, make new friends, invite someone to sit with you at lunch or join you for a sketch or a chat. And if you're unable to be at the symposium, I hope you'll also get out in your community to make some new connections, have fun sketching, and be an ambassador for Urban Sketchers.

10 Years 10 Classes

To celebrate our 10th anniversary, the Education Committee launched the 10x10 Program. Thirty-two 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

Southeast-Asia Celebrates 10-year Anniversary of USk and Golden Jubilee of ASEAN

July 1-8, 2017 Singapore

Southeast-Asia will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Urban Sketchers alongside the golden jubilee of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with an event hosted by Urban Sketchers Singapore with Temasek Polytechnic.

The event will coincide with Temasek Polytechnic’s celebrations of ASEAN 50 through the Global Community Day 2017 (GCD2017), a flagship cross-cultural platform to promote global awareness and integration amongst staff, students, local community, industry & global partners and network schools.

This event also debuts long-term Urban Sketchers courses by instructors in ASEAN cities. We invite sketchers from around the world to join ten on-location classes, with official facilitators from Southeast Asia, to learn and reinforce the core value of urban sketching; sketch the world, one drawing at a time.

To view the full schedule click HERE and the full program click HERE.

Sketch Tour Portugal

In celebration of our 10th anniversary in 2017 Urban Sketchers, in partnership with the Tourism Office of Portugal (TP), have organized a sponsored sketching trip called Sketch Tour Portugal.

From July 5-13, 2017 USk and the TP will send Lis Watkins from London who will sketch with Portuguese host José Louro in Lisbon, Portugal.

The sketchers will sketch a minimum of 6 drawings per day. The TP will use sketches made during the trip to promote Portugal in different events such as at fairs, in postcards, on social media, and at exhibitions.

We wish Lis and José happy travels and happy sketching!

USk Executive Board of Directors

Symposium News

We're now a month away from the 8th Urban Sketchers Symposium and we can't wait to sketch with you in Chicago from July 26-29! We will be welcoming 570 sketchers from 34 countries. If you didn't register, but you would like to sketch with us, please come to the final and open 56th WW Sketchcrawl that will be held at the Georg Solti Garden, on Saturday July 29, from 2:30-5:00pm. All sketchers are welcome!

Symposium participants can get Symposium-related information and news on our
website and on Instagram and Twitter @usksymposium.

You can also follow the symposium participants’ pix, sketches and stories on our
Facebook group, on our main Instagram account at @urbansketchers, on Twitter and on USk Flickr. Don't forget to use the hashtags #uskchicago2017 and #usksymposium.

The Symposium Team can't wait to welcome all the participants to this amazing city by the lake!

Happy Sketching!

Fernanda Vaz de Campos
Symposium Coordinator

Catch Glimpses of the Chicago Symposium via Live Video Feed

For the first time, USk will live video stream glimpses of the Chicago Symposium on our USk Youtube channel! The live feed will stream intermittently beginning on July 26 at 12:30 CDT. Tune in HERE to catch glimpses of the registration; the opening reception; USk Founder, Gabi Campanario’s keynote speech at (6pm CDT July 26); interviews of participants; glimpses of workshops; lectures and demos; the silent auction; a drink and draw; a sketchcrawl and the closing party (beginning at 10pm CDT July 29). And, at 8pm CDT on July 29th, USk will announce the location of the 2018 symposium!

Get notified when the live streaming will start by going to our
USk Youtube channel and clicking on the bell icon. (It’s on the right-hand side above the red arrow).


Volunteer Opportunities:
Finance Committee Members

Are you a budget wiz? Are you a savvy money manager? USk is seeking volunteers to establish a finance committee under the leadership of the Treasurer. We are looking for people who can help refine and streamline our current financial practices and support the fiscal responsibility of USk around the world. The Finance committee will hold monthly video chat meetings and correspond regularly via email. Please contact Joel Winstead:

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:

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 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. 

Volunteer Twitter Aficionados

Join the USk Volunteer Twitter team! USk is seeking two temporary volunteer Twitter aficionados 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.


Regional Chapter News

USk is pleased to announce that we have seven new Regional Chapters.  The newest groups to join the family are:

Urban Sketchers Gwalior
Urban Sketchers Stoke-on-Trent 
Urban Sketchers Port Townsend
Urban Sketchers Boulder
Urban Sketchers Melilla
Urban Sketchers Vienna
Urban Sketchers Nairobi
Welcome to the Urban Sketchers community!

Upcoming Workshops

Workshop starts tomorrow so sign up today!

July 2, 2017

Atmospheric Watercolour

with Jenny Adam


How do we create depth and atmosphere in a sketch? In this workshop we´ll both use drawing and watercolour techniques, focusing on contrasts of line, temperature and colors to create meaningful and evocative sketches. 

For more information about this workshop click HERE.

July 13-15, 2017

A Stage & its Stars!

with Róisín Curé, Miguel Herring and Inma Serrano, in Galway, Ireland

Inma Serrano will concentrate on the dramatis personae - the quick, lively sketch-portraits that bring any sketch to life, and their urban settings. Róisín loves to exaggerate colour and show the light conditions to their best advantage...through the use of shadows, light source and a bright, fresh palette. Miguel Herranz will focus on the script - the art of storytelling. With his expert draughtsmanship and eye for detail he will show you how to pick out the elements that will bring excitement and interest to your sketching practice. 

For more information about this workshop, click HERE.

August 12, 2017
Teens Draw Montreal

with Julie Prescesky

Teens Draw Montreal is an exciting workshop designed for kids to explore their world through line and wash.

For more information about this workshop please click HERE.

August 13, 2017

Kids Draw Montreal

with Julie Prescesky

Kids Draw Montreal is an exciting workshop designed for kids to explore their world through line and wash.

For more information about this workshop please click HERE.

August 23-26, 2017

Urban (E)Scapes

with Isabel Carmona, Inma Serrano and Miguel Herranz, in Rotterdam, Netherlands

In this workshop, we want to explore the city’s vibrancy and cultural richness and diversity, we will look into its past to understand its present. To do so we consider the moving environment, as much of people in the city daily life as of buildings in the changing fabric of the architectural and urban environment. We aim to introduce time into our sketches and stories.

For more information about this workshop, click HERE.

September 8-10, 2017

Puzzling out the Picture

with Veronica Lawlor in New York City 

Many times, when a sketcher arrives at a busy urban location, there is a sense of being overwhelmed. So many people moving in so many different directions; so many buildings towering above; so many shops; so many cars; so many signs; so much of so many! 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 about this workshop, click HERE.


Frame the World Differently!

with Majid Modir in Volterra, Italy. 
Guest artist: To be announced.

A Watercolor Workshop–with Focus on Compositions

Welcome to a creative workshop in the heart of Tuscany, Volterra!
 5 days with drawing and painting in good company, learning watercolor technique and some ways to achieve good compositions.

For more information about this workshop, click HERE.


October 4-8, 2017

On Assignment - Reportage from Ischia Island

with Gabi Campanario, Simo Capecchi and Caroline Peyron, in Naples, Italy.

The popular Naples Urban Sketchers workshop is back! This year attendees will put on special correspondents hats to report and sketch life in Ischia Island. “On Assignment” will cover practical tips to sketch and report from the field, and topics such as story selection, interviewing and sketching people, developing sources, working with editors and sketching with an audience in mind.

For more information about this workshop, click HERE.

July 15, 2017

Sketch Now Think Later

with Mike Daikubara in Boston

Looking for the perfect subject, angle, composition, materials and tools to use etc. can take lots of time and bog you down even before you start sketching. 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 .

Meet New Urban Sketchers Chapter: USk Florianópolis

By Jane Wingfield

Florianópolis, the Party Destination of the year according to the New York Times (2009), is a dynamic city in Southern Brazil. It has 60 beaches, strong information technology and tourism industries, and has been named the best place to live in Brazil. If that’s not enough to make you want to jump on the next plane to Brazil, this will: it is the home of one of our newest Urban Sketchers chapters.

USk Florianópolis started very recently and already has 300 followers, with 15-20 attending their sketch outings on a regular basis.
“We sketch in a variety of locations to please those who like to draw architecture and those who prefer to draw people or nature,” said USk Florianópolis Admin, Guilherme Ruchaud.

Florianópolis, aka Floripa, has many historical sites to choose from but because of limited public transportation on weekends they try to choose sites close to the city center where they have it all: historical architecture, people and natural settings.

The chapter draws from a variety of professions, mostly architects and architecture students, but also professional and amateur artists. They have sketch events every three weeks, planning five meetings ahead so people can arrange their calendars.

Join us in welcoming Urban Sketchers Florianópolis.

Meet New Urban Sketchers Chapter: USk Lebanon
By Ann Schwartswald

Urban Sketchers just keeps growing with new chapters forming around the world. With that growth is great excitement about the joy and camaraderie that comes from our shared passion for visually connecting to the wonderful sights around us, and sharing our sketches of what we see!

One of our newest chapters is in Lebanon. Judy Abi Roustrom, who is an architect and dedicated sketcher began meeting with a group to sketch. That evolved over the course of the last two years into the vibrant and official “Urban Sketchers Lebanon”.

According to Judy, “We started two years ago and became an official chapter this February. We have 204 members, 100 who show up. We meet once or twice a month. The group typically likes to sketch any place we decide to gather in, each one using their own style and perspective.”

From the photos on their Facebook page, it's clear they're not all at every event, but they have great turnouts. Judy promises to share some video of their adventures with us at a future time. The wonderful work and the wattage of the smiles is impressive! It is obvious from the photos and drawings found on their Facebook page that both the people and scenery in Lebanon are truly beautiful!

Learn more about USk Lebanon by clicking

USk Welcomes New Chapter: Rio de Janeiro

By Susan Rogers

Nestled between the sea and the mountains, newest regional chapter USk Rio has an ideal climate year-round for outdoor sketching. Admin Thais Machado reports that the group now has almost 1000 members. Thais believes the popularity of Urban sketching in Rio is because the city has an active artistic culture and an interesting blend of historical and modern architecture, wealth and poverty, beauty and chaos. In addition to its fantastic location Thais adds, “it’s our culture to live outdoors, to enjoy life and to meet new people.” A perfect mix for urban sketching which allows the group to vary their sketching locations from parks, beaches and forests to city streets. Click HERE to view a video greeting by this fun-loving chapter.

The group recently celebrated their 50th meeting by sketching in a municipal theatre which is a stunning example of 20th century eclectic architecture.  Ninety sketchers took part in the event which included sponsors who provided watercolour papers and other supplies.

The theatre staff gave the group a quick tour inside the building and then sketchers were allowed to draw in the front entrance, foyer, stairs and auditorium. At the end of the day, they organized a display of their work in the foyer. It was a great event to mark the 50th meeting milestone.

USk Rio meets regularly every two weeks with between 10-25 sketchers coming to each meeting.

To learn more about USk Rio click HERE to check out their Facebook page.


Meet New Urban Sketchers Chapter, USK Volgograd 

By Suzi Briggs 

“What we love most about the USk community is an opportunity to show how we see our surroundings, our city and our world,” said Volgograd Admin Dmitry Boyko. “We are proud to share our vision and passion about our beautiful city. You may know Volgograd by the old name Stalingrad. It was renamed in 1961.” 

Volgograd is a city in southwest Russia, on the western bank of the Volga River not far from the border to Ukraine.

USk Volgograd is a rapidly expanding group of 350 with approximately 40 people who draw often. Others just prefer to watch at their monthly meetings. “We sketch outside - streetscapes, architecture, park views, parked cars, trees and flowers, sometimes even cats!” 

Check out their Facebook page to see a variety of sketches from quick, assured studies to muted, almost impressionistic watercolours of their spaces.


USk Beijing Organizes "Mini Urban Sketchers" Event

By Brenda Murray

Like many USk chapters, USk Beijing members occasionally bring their children to participate in sketching events and so on June 17, the chapter organized a special event called “Mini Urban Sketchers”. The event was held in the Art Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China.

Over 20 adults and 7 children participated. The children ranged in age from 3 to 12 years old.

The children were encouraged to sketch what they see which included the modern art sculptures in the museum. 

USk Beijing hopes to teach their children from an early age to enjoy 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 an awesome DA writer like Pedro Loureiro to cover your story! Contact us at


To celebrate Urban Sketcher’s 10th anniversary, USk is organizing a 24hr Global Sketchwalk that will be held on November 11, 2017.

USk chapters around the world will host sketchwalks in their cities on that day. Through our social media accounts we will travel across the globe over 24hrs, following the time zones, as we broadcast hourly the sketchwalks happening live in different cities.

Get your local chapter listed in the 24hr Sketchwalk schedule by sending an email to

For more information click HERE.


 Bring a Workshop to your Chapter

 Meet Nina Johannson

Urban Sketchers organizes workshops taught by our top instructors in collaboration with USk chapters around the world. If you would like to bring an official USk workshop to your chapter, start the conversation with our Education Director, Mario Linhares at


Urban Sketches in House of Cards!

By Meagan Burns

 Even better than real life, Netflix’s original series, House of Cards prominently displayed two of Suhita Shirodkar’s urban sketches: a sketch of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and the other of the Chichen Itza pyramid, in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

A set designer for the popular Netfix series contacted Suhita last September asking for usage rights for one of her sketches from Mexico. They also asked specifically if she had any other Mexico sketches, because they wanted to use them in a TV show. Suhita sent links to her travel blog and soon after she received a request to buy the rights for two of her sketches. She quoted a price for limited usage rights. This means the show can place one print of each on their sets and no other copies will ever be made of them. An agreement was reached and Suhita sent her sketches to the producer. Suhita was warned that often background items end up on the cutting room floor.

Surprise! The first sketch to appear in Season 5 of the series was in Doug Stamper’s office, of the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Suhita sketched this immense 'Beaux Arts meets Art Nouveau' style building from the top of the nearby Torre Latinoamericana building while on vacation in Mexico City in 2011.

The second of Suhita’s sketches to appear was that of the Chichen Itza pyramid, in an office scene in a later episode.

Urban Sketchers were not the only ones to take notice of Suhita’s sketches on the walls of the American TV drama. Soon after they appeared in Buzzfeed Mexico and had people asking, “Is that Mexico?” Yes indeed it is! You never know where your urban sketching can take you!

Click HERE to see Suhita’s sketches from her 2011 Mexico City trip.

Click HERE to see sketches from her 2015 trip the Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.


USk YouTube Channel Features 100+ Videos

Check it out--this month USk uploaded its 100th video on our USk YouTube channel! If you would like to share with the USk community a video of your chapter sketching, please contact the YouTube Coordinator Lydia Velarde at

A Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher

“A Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher” celebrates the lives of sketchers around the world and how they share work online. This monthly social media event will feature nine sketchers from six continents who will be sharing a day in their life in a USk 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. Watch Drawing Attention and social media for an introduction to each sketcher. Sketches will be archived HERE.

This month Urban Sketcher Greg Manley from Ottawa will share his Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher on July 01, Canada Day from Canada’s capital city.

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 HERE.

Can you Guess whose Sketching Gear is Pictured Here?

Scroll over each image to find out. Then read the owner's response to the question, if you were stranded on a deserted island, which sketching tool would you want to take with you?

Sketching Secret Weapon

"I can't go away from home without my old and small box of watercolors (12 pans always in the same order : from the lighter and warmer to the darker and cooler ). I also have three watercolor brushes (from Raphael n°803), a small one, a medium and a big. And that's enough to capture the atmosphere, the movement and the light of any place!" -- Marion Rivolier

"There's only one thing in my sketching bag I could never give up: a 0.3 mm Staedtler waterproof fineliner, one of the grey ones on the upper right corner of the bag. Because sketching, for me, is mainly line drawing, everything else is minor. As John Berger wrote in a novel, 'the power of colour is nothing compared to the power of line.' So that small felt tip pen is my magic wand, my weapon of choice." -- Umberto Torricelli

"Right from the day I laid my hands on a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, I've always carried it with me. During the time I am in office designing chips, the brush pen is in my office bag. When I go on dates with husband with a cute clutch in hand, it has my driver's license, credit card, lipstick and pocket brush pen. When I go to the doctors, you get the picture. It's unhealthy almost. If my house is on fire, the pen's coming with me, yeah." -- Uma Kelkar 

"When I joined urban sketching in the summer of 2012, I started with the one pen that I was familiar with, BIC 1.6mm. I have never changed my pen, mainly because I became addicted to is features, and because the way the line looks is something that now I cannot disconnect from my drawing style. This roller ball pen is the only thing is 100% mandatory for me to draw." -- Nelson Paciencia

"My secret weapon is a Staedtler Kiddi Black Elefant 119 - 2B Made in Germany. It's as soft as silk and will draw super light or really dark and is perfect for drawing at speed. It's a young child's pencil, years old and one of the few I have left from working in schools full time. It's the long wood coloured thick lead pencil underneath all the other drawing tools in my photo." -- Pat Southern Pearce

"If I had to choose just one tool, it would be the one I call 'the pen & glasses sketching kit' which is actually a mere black pen attached to my glasses (I simply could not sketch without them!). This black pen never fails, it's by far one of the cheapest drawing tools. I use my secret weapon mainly when other media do not suit what I need, so it's not the one the I use the most... but it definitely works when needed." -- William Cordero

"If I was stranded on a desert island, the tool I could not be without would be my 'edding 1200' felt-tip pen. These pens have a deep black and versatile trace." -- Jose Louro

"Tough question, but I guess I’d go with my Sailor 1911 EF fountain pen as my ‘magic tool’ though in reality I’d also grab a water-soluble graphite pencil and a bunch of other fountain pens." -- Jane Blundell

"I’d take my UniBall Vision Micro pen.  It is my basic tool. I’ve tried Micron Pens, Coptic Multiliners, Staedtler Pigment Liners and their competitors. I’m stunned at how quickly they all run out of ink.  I’m also put-off by the fact that you usually end up with several sizes, there are so many choices.  The UniBall comes in one size.  It’s about an .05. There are no other choices - that’s it - draw." -- Mark Leibowitz

"Most of my sketches are line work so in my pouch I carry soft graphite pencils, black gel ink pens, and watercolour brushes. If I was forced to choose only one, I would take the simple gel ink pen that would give me miles of line to go and I could even dip it into cup of coffee for more drawing when it runs out of ink." -- Asnee Tasna.

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 Derwent Graphik Line Maker Pens (Sepia). Check it out!

See Your Sketch on the USk Blog Flag and USk Facebook Page

Sketch by Lapin

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


What Does the USk Fundraiser Do?

My role on the Urban Sketchers Executive Board is Fundraiser. This year I have focused on expanding sponsorship for the Symposium, which will be in my home town, Chicago, USA July 26-29. After the Symposium, I will jumpstart foundation grant-writing--we are looking for volunteers.

I work with a great, hard-working team! The sponsorship team consists of Omar Jamarillo (USk Berlin), Raylie Dunkel (USk New York), and Andrew Banks (USk Chicago). So far this year we have generated about $35,000 in sponsorship, including: art supplies, food, coffee, and pro bono legal services. For the first time two symposium bars (the
Exchequer and 2twenty2 Bourbon Bar) are donating significant food to the closing party; the Exchequer is also providing a 10% discount for anyone with a badge during the symposium. 2twenty2 is a bourbon-focused tavern with live music, authentic American pinball machines, golden T, and shuffleboard tables.

We have an expanded list of symposium sponsors this year. They are
Blick Art Materials, QoR Modern Watercolor, Windsor & Newton, Jack Richeson, Hahnemuhle, Kremer Pigments, Daniel Smith, The Quarto Group, The Exchequer Pub, 2twenty2 Bourbon Bar, Metropolis Coffee, Brevillier’s Cretacolor, Stillman & Birn, Rosemary & Company, Chartpak, Faber Castell, Leuchturm 1917, Dixon Ticonderoga, Portable Painter, General Pencil, Guerrilla Painter, Nock Co.

Special thanks to
Wayfind, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Davis Wright Tremaine for providing pro-bono legal services.  


Richard Briggs: Capturing a Sense of Place

by Brenda Murray
Richard Briggs is a Sydney-based artist and architect whose sketches aim to provoke discussion on the built environment. He studied architecture (BArch) in Manchester, England and also taught workshops at the 2016 Urban Sketchers Symposium.

“My mother has a book with sketches I did of beaches and towns in Cornwall, England whilst on holiday when I was about 7 years old,” he said. That’s a long history of drawing! Fifteen years ago, a trip through India inspired him to start drawing the streets and his surroundings with more focus. He’s been directly involved with USk Sydney for the past two years.

In that time, Richard has taught 3 to 4 workshops a year. He also helps run workshops at a University in Sydney which explores using urban sketching as a tool to communicate ideas.

“There’s a holistic topic to my workshops, which is based around a sketch being a catalyst for a discussion on how our built environment can be improved. This stems from my background in architecture and interest in cities. In my approach, I believe it’s important to look, observe and try to understand a place before sketching it. I find by doing this, it makes you appreciate the finer quirks which make a place unique. With this in mind, I can form questions about a place and create a message within my sketch. I aim to emphasise a situation, be it physical, social or political. The next layer to my sketching is then to filter what it is that is important about a place, which then informs the parts I draw and the parts I leave out. I’m interested in encouraging an approach to urban sketching which is to firstly observe and then sketch with a clear idea and message.”

With any new place, Richard looks first at the ways in which the public spaces work. He observes how the spaces relate to the greater city context, the buildings, the infrastructure, and how people use the spaces. After observing key vistas, streets and activities, he thinks about how these might define the character of a place--a park, a street, a waterfront, a cluster of buildings or a landscape. Sometimes this can take days, weeks and even months. 

“If I have three days in a new place I would spend at least half of that time observing, formulating ideas, and the rest of the time sketching furiously!” he said.

When using this approach, some of his sketches can become quite abstract-looking so Richard gives them context by including an anchor. An anchor can be something simple like adding signage, text which is in a local language, a landmark building in the background or something that's instantly recognisable.

“For example, I included an Aymara lady wearing traditional dress and a bowler hat in a sketch I did in La Paz,Boliva. That is something that is culturally distinct in that particular city,” he explained.

To read Richard’s notes from the 2016 Manchester Symposium, click

HERE to hear Richard talk about his sketching approach.



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.

Thanks to this month’s Drawing Attention contributors

Managing Editor: Brenda Murray
Copy Editor: Lauren McVittie
Mailchimp layout: Suzi Briggs
Website layout: Joann Sondy
Writer: Jane Wingfield
Writer: Susan Rogers
Writer: Meagan Burns
Writer: Ann Schwartzwald
Writer: Lauren McVittie
Contributor: Parka
Contributor: Joel Berman
Contributor|: Amber Sausen
Contributor: Fernanda Vaz de Campos

To subscribe to Drawing Attention click HERE.

Drawing Attention circulation:   6,042 (June 27, 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.




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