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 September 2017

President’s Message

Dear Urban Sketchers:
I always feel like September is a time for fresh starts; from where I write you (in Minneapolis, USA) summer is coming to a close, a new school year is beginning, and the time is ripe to think about new ways to learn, participate, and grow. Even if you’re not in a part of the world waiting for autumn, I hope you’ll join me in feeling excitement for what’s to come!
If, like me, you are ready for fresh starts and new adventures, consider volunteering with Urban Sketchers. Volunteers are the heart and soul of Urban Sketchers (USk). In fact, we’re all volunteers! If you support our mission, you can get involved. You don’t need to be the best or most experienced sketcher; it’s not a prerequisite for volunteering. As USk Treasurer Joel Winstead has said, “I know that I won’t be an instructor. But I have skills to offer the organization, and this is my way of giving back.”

There are many ways you can contribute to Urban Sketchers. At the local level, get involved as a regional chapter administrator, host sketchwalks and outings, or even found a new chapter, if you don’t have one. At the regional level, build connections with nearby USk chapters to host events, exhibitions, and build community; you can reach out to the Interim Events Director for ideas, assistance, and resources.
At the organizational level, there are also ways you can support this great community. Join a committee. Committees generally meet monthly to work on various topics: approving new chapters, creating Drawing Attention, the Tech Team supports the digital infrastructure of USk, the finance committee keeps us fiscally responsible, Education committee keeps the quality of instruction in workshops, Symposium team plans event, Communications committee advises on strategy and social media.
Urban Sketchers is also looking for new members of the executive board. Please check out the volunteer opportunities on our website for more information.
As always, you can reach out to me at any time with questions and comments about ways your can support Urban Sketchers at
Happy Sketching, and here’s to new Urban Sketching adventures!


Urban Sketchers Montreal Exhibits at the Hall of Honour at Montreal's City Hall

Photo by Laurel Anne Holmes

Urban Sketchers Montreal is very proud to be exhibiting in the Hall of Honour at Montreal’s City Hall. As part of the city’s 375th anniversary festivities, USk Montreal sketchers have been drawing many of Montreal’s iconic buildings, neighbourhoods and monuments in preparation for “Montréal Monument”. It’s thrilling to see over 70 sketches and dozens of sketchbooks displayed in such a grand space.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who sent out a call for entries, juried the show and hung the works, as well as to Heritage Montreal for its support, and Ville de Montreal for its generous hospitality.

If you are in the Montreal area, please come out to have a look. The show is on from August 23 to September 6, 275 Notre-Dame St E, Montreal.


USk Needs Your Help

Volunteer Treasurer

Hey, are you good with Google Spreadsheets and love Urban Sketchers? Perhaps you are already an accountant by day? A retired accountant? Or just really good with numbers? We need you!

Urban Sketchers is seeking a strategic-thinking, detail-oriented Treasurer. The Treasurer is a key member of the organization’s Executive Board and will be involved in strategic planning as well as the day-to-day financial operations. For more information click HERE.

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 Writer for Drawing Attention

USk is seeking a volunteer writer 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 Social Media Coordinator

Urban Sketchers is currently seeking a Social Media Coordinator who will lead a team of volunteers responsible to promote the organization on USk social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Flickr). Reporting to the USk Communications Director, the Social Media Coordinator ensures that USk social media platforms are integrated with coordinated messaging and branding and that our programs, events and workshops are promoted. To read a more detailed description click HERE.

Sketch Tour Portugal with Mário Linhares and Benedetta Dossi

by Meagan Burns

In case you’ve not heard the news, the location for the 2018 USk Symposium has been chosen: we’re going to Porto, Portugal!

Situated in the extreme south-west of Europe, just a few hours from many other European capitals, Portugal boasts a very mild climate, 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, and an enthusiasm for welcoming Urban Sketchers to its country. Earlier this year, Portugal kicked off it’s “Sketch Tour Portugal” program by inviting 22 urban sketchers and presenting different drawing challenges that will ultimately offer a new look at Portugal.

Can we say KUDOS to the Tourism group of Portugal for being so smart by enlisting the efforts and talents of the Urban Sketchers? The latest duo of invited sketchers were Mário Linhares of Lisbon, and Benedetta Dossi of Rome; they were invited to sketch Porto and the north region in order to highlight some of the best architecture and sights we’ll be seeing and sketching at the next Symposium. Some of the places they had an opportunity to sketch: City Hall and City Center, Ribeira, Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange), Clérigos Tower, Casa da Música, Contemporary Art Museum of Serralves, Ferreira Port Wine Cellars, Bridge D. Luís I, Douro Valley, Guimarães, and Foz Côa.

Sketch by Benedetta

Sketch by Mario

To see more from this Porto sketch tour, see Mário’s and Benedetta’s Instagram accounts: @ben365onroad

On September 3rd, Benedetta will be teaching a workshop in Lisbon, called “Composition in Action”, because she believes it is the first thing a sketcher should learn, “to create solid sketches that catch and charm the viewer.”

Click HERE to follow all upcoming “Sketch Tour Portugal” events. Or search for the Instagram hashtag: #SketchTourPortugal.

Click HERE to sign up for Benedetta Dossi’s workshop, “Composition in Action”.


Feature 10x10 Classes Worldwide: Newbury, UK

Newbury, UK will be the location of three exciting 10x10 classes in September taught by Isabel Carmona. 

On Sept 9 a class will be held in Donnington Castle with an initial talk by a West Berkshire archeologist. On September 16th join Isabel at the Newbury Wharf and Canal area and on September 23rd at Shaw House. For more information, 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 September 21-25, 2017 USk and the TP will send Ida Bellarian from Sweden and Portuguese host Luís Frasco from Lisbon to sketch in Algarve, 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 Ida and Luís happy travels and happy sketching!

USk Executive Board of Directors

Upcoming Workshops

19-23 September 2017: NEW WORKSHOP DATE

Frame the World Differently!
Conducted by Majid Modir in Volterra, Italy .
A Watercolor Workshop -with Focus on Compositions
For more information about this workshop, click HERE.

27-30 September 2017

People on the Move
with Isabel Carmona, Rolf Schroeter and Swasky in Berlin
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.
For more information about this workshop, click HERE

16 September 2017

Zero to Hero with iPad + Procreate
with Rob Sketcherman in Santa Monica, USA
For more information about this workshop please click HERE.

3 September 2017

Composition in Action
with Benedetta Dossi in Lisbon
For more information about this workshop please click HERE.

30 September 2017

Trees and the City
with Shari Blaukopf in Ottawa, CDA
for more information about this workshop click HERE.

Bring A Workshop To Your Chapter

Meet Nélson Paciência

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

USk 24hr Global Sketchwalk

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 24 hours, 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


Regional Chapter News

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

USk Medan (Indonesia)
USk Kansas City (US)
USk Macao (China)
USk Cebu, (Philippines)
USk Atlanta (US)
USk Dnipro (Ukraine)
USk Townsville, (Australia)

Welcome to the Urban Sketchers community!

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 Jeanne Edwards from Northampton, UK will share her Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher on September 2.

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.


Clutter is the Key

by Mark Alan Anderson

Clutter is very important to Seattle Urban Sketcher Steve Reddy.

“I like to capture as much detail as possible so I almost always only do one two-and-a-half hour drawing during the duration of a sketch crawl.”

The recent Chicago Symposium was Reddy’s first and he describes it as the perfect city for his style of sketching. From the beginning, Reddy was happily in search of those scenes often overlooked by other sketchers – the underbelly of the "L" or an ungentrified alley. His personal aesthetic leans strongly toward “cluttered and unbeautified scenes.” A search for what he describes as fun nooks and crannies immediately led to personally gratifying discoveries.

“Because my particular obsession is with clutter and packing as much density and detail into each drawing, I would prefer to spend the entire time until I’ve just run out of room on the page,” says Reddy. “If you look at my drawings they almost always fill the page.”

And yet, at the same time Steve Reddy focuses on detail, it is clear he is also distilling a subject down into the most essential essence.
Reddy agrees. “Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I start all of my classes with students drawing four very simple geometric objects.”

He tries to instill a simple, easy to replicate technique with his students. “I want to give them the bare bones of a technique – but not the style! – to come up with their own personal style.” And clearly, nestled in among the sketches of minutiae that so appeal to him, Reddy has come up with his own unique style.

Above: A Chicago example of the less picturesque scene Steve prefers and how he likes to fill the page. Reddy did this on his first day in Chicago under the "L" near the Goodman Center.


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 talented DA writer like Joann Sondy to cover your story! Contact us at


New Chapter: San Miguel de Allende

by Lauren McVittie

With a mix of architectural styles from Baroque to neo-Gothic and colourful landscapes, the central Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende is a true artist’s town. The town has attracted artists since the early 1950s when the Instituto Allende art school opened, and in 2008 it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

San Miguel de Allende artists now have another way to appreciate the landscape, by joining the new Urban Sketchers chapter, which formed in November 2016. The group meets every Tuesday afternoon to capture various scenes around town and has monthly field trips to neighbouring cities, ranches and other destinations.

Meagan Burns, one of the three co-founders of the group, says, “it’s great fun to see how everyone’s work is progressing” and says she looks forward to traveling farther around Mexico to see more of her adopted country. Originally from Chicago, Burns started sketching three years ago with a daily sketch commitment. She sketched with the Chicago chapter as a visitor and formed San Miguel de Allende with two other American ex-pats, Judy Plummer and Susan Dorf.

San Miguel de Allende offers many scenes for the group to capture, including the iconic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel in the center of town, a grand, neo-gothic 17th-century church known for its soaring pink spires and lofty, ornate details. “We also have mojigangas (life size papier mache dolls) dancing in the streets on any given day, because every day’s a fiesta in San Miguel,” says Burns.

The group gets about 15 to 40 members at meetups and Burns says they’re working together to host some of the USk Mexico City sketchers in San Miguel later this year. “I love how the USk global community has enabled us to connect with sketchers within Mexico and around the world,” she says.

Click HERE to check out a video greeting from USk San Miguel de Allende.


History and Activism Inspires Cross-Cultural Stuttgart Festival

by Jane Wingfield
In early July of this year the Stuttgart Urban Sketchers staged an event in their city that crossed cultural and geographic boundaries. The roots of this year’s festival actually began when a group of sketchers from Stuttgart visited Tiblisi. The two cities share a history going back to the early 1800’s when some Germans from the Stuttgart region migrated to Tiblisi and thrived for about a hundred years until Stalin deported them all to Kazakhstan during WW2.

“We got to know activists who are trying to raise awareness for Tiblisi's rich cultural heritage. The old town of Tiblisi is an architectural marvel with many art déco buildings…” Heiko Fischer, of Stuttgart, Germany tells us. “There are also many very interesting buildings from the soviet era.”

Many of these architectural gems are slated to be destroyed by new development and, “…Due to the rather tense relationship with Russia there is no public discourse about what to do with this heritage.”

In the summer of 2016, the Georgian activists and the German sketchers organized themed sketchcrawls in Tiblisi and invited the public to join them. “…we had the intention to engage the Tiblisians in a discussions about these aspects of their city.”

This year in early July, the Stuttgart sketchers reciprocated by inviting the Georgians to visit them in their home city, “To explore the city together with the Stuttgart Urban Sketchers.“

They started on July 2 with a sketchcrawl at the public space, Südheimer Platz. The next day there was a tour of the harbor including areas that are not generally open to the public. On July 4 they visited a container city and sketched at a railway station calling attention to a project that could change the face of the city but is not very well publicized. Later a local architect gave a lecture about the German migration to Georgia; and the next day another local architect led an architectural and urban development tour of the city followed by a sketchcrawl in Stuttgart’s inner city.

Fischer and five volunteers organized the festival, which was supported by several Stuttgart institutions and the Georgian Ministry of Culture. During the course of the week about 200 sketchers participated at different times.

“We did a lot of press work which turned out in good coverage. All local papers reported…” and a television feature. “We made sure people knew where to find us in case they were interested.”

USk Raleigh, Sketchy at Heart

by Ann Schwartzwald

USk Raleigh (in North Carolina), one of the newest officially recognized chapters, has about 200 members, with 20-40 sketchers meeting the 2nd Saturday each month. Admin Scott Renk is proud of the fact that they "are a diverse group, of varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds, who are truly sketchy at heart”.

USk Raleigh became an official chapter a little less than a year ago, although they have been meeting as an informal group for about 5 years, starting up after Scott attended the 3rd International Symposium in the Dominican Republic.

USk Raleigh likes to focus on the warehouse district because the area is changing so rapidly. Their sketches are a unique way to record this historic city's past and to "spend Saturday afternoons with a sketchbook in hand capturing the stories and beauty of the changing landscape... documenting the changes of various warehouses as they are transformed into the new Union Station Train Station". They have also sketched "an amazing old African American hospital at St Agnes and a historic African American graveyard with the friends of Oberlin: a truly moving experience as many of the plots were of slaves". In addition, they have had several outstanding "special sessions" when invited to sketch at various organizations' events.

“During our sketching events we often draw each other in action,” Scott explains. “We use pencil, pen, pastels, watercolor, mud, coffee, or whatever unique medium we can think of. We have also formed a music group called "$ketchy Katz" where we grill food at my house and play all original music together with some sketching too.”

If you are ever in Raleigh be sure to join this fun chapter on one of their sketching adventures.


New Chapter USk Port Townsend’s French Connection

by Jane Wingfield

The city of Port Townsend exudes charm and personality, a colorful history and a quirky personality that makes it an ideal home for one of our newest Urban Sketchers locations.

Mel Epling one of the group administrators tells his story of the group’s beginnings, “In September 2013 my wife and I were flying to France.” They noticed the same couple boarding our Amsterdam to Toulouse flight that we had seen boarding our Seattle to Amsterdam flight. Then we saw them again at the car rental in Toulouse. After driving an hour they stopped at a supermarket for provisions, “… and the same gentleman from the Seattle flight came down the aisle and asked me where the peanut butter might be located.” At that point, they talked, discovered that they both sketched and were both staying in small villages not too far from each other. “We visited each other several times during our stay and on one rendezvous, we met and sketched together at an open air market—probably my first true urban sketching outing.” After returning home, they lost touch.

In 2016 Darsie Beck taught a travel journaling class at the newly established Port Townsend Art School. Some of the students wanted to keep meeting as sketchers and Darsie helped the group organize themselves. Meanwhile, Mel said, “I was newly retired and had become interested in Urban Sketchers via the web. I was looking for a group on the Olympic peninsula and connected with a like-minded sketcher online who said she had heard of a new group that might be forming in Port Townsend.

He asked to attend their next outing. The sketcher checked and wrote back, “You are welcome to attend. The organizer is Darsie Beck and he says that he sketched with you in France!”. At the end of the session they gathered, made the decision to formally apply for chapter status. The group became official on June 7 of this year. Margarita Cain, Barbara Kurland and Mel Epling share the admin responsibilities.

Since then they have established a twice a month schedule sketching Port Townsend’s uptown, downtown, inside and outside. In their short history, their local newspaper has written them up at least three times and they’ve visited over two dozen locations. In one of the articles one of the group’s members, Kathy Grim summed up her experience,

I'm just excited about every place I go,” Grim said. “It's just great to be with a group that has interests the same as mine.”

Sketch Now, Think Later!

by Pedro Loureiro

Mike Daikubara has been urban sketching since 2000. Like many of us, he faces time and material constraints that limit his sketching activity. Mike is an industrial and graphic design director based out of Boston, and quick jotting down of ideas is an important communication tool in his trade. But where it really gets challenging is sketching in his day-to-day life or during his frequent trips.

“My family and friends don’t sketch.” Mike confesses. They see him, oddly sketching his food before eating it or portraying them or whatever building happens to stand behind them, but “they get used to you after a while”. Over the years, Mike tells that he’s “learned to sketch fast, with little contemplation, no underline, going right into it!” Only afterwards would he consider what worked out best and how to improve different aspects of his sketches the next time around, in a trial and error process.

“I think we all get good at it, being able to draw and talk and drink and eat at the same time!” Mike says. His time-constrained fast-sketching philosophy was an ideal subject to share with other sketchers. That’s how the Sketch now think later workshop came to be. He was an instructor in the Manchester Symposium first, and again this year in Chicago. Mike’s three-goal challenge for the Sketch now think later participants was “limited time, limited tools and limited techniques. Ultimately,” he concludes “the workshop was about capturing different subjects – like food or buildings – really fast, enjoy the final result and coming back to it later to finish it out beautifully.”

The workshop came with a 28-page booklet with the same name, which Mike turned into a soon-to-be-published 112-page book. “It’s a very long workshop” he jokes, excited about this new project.


Portuguese Associated Groups Collaborate

by Susan Rogers

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers, three USk Portugal Association groups worked together to create a series of 10x10 workshops.
Luís Ançã, a spokesperson for the event, describes how three regional sketching groups from Évora, Raia and Beja worked together to design a structure for the 10x10 workshops. Each group selected three themes, for its city, focussing on different aspects of their cities. They choose the locations with a view to telling a small, medium and big story about the location. It was important to the groups to highlight the unique spirit of the location and so, in the workshops, the instructors made sure that participants knew about the history and the stories embedded in the site.

Luís adds, “When you draw, it’s important to feel the atmosphere of the place. Focussing on storytelling makes you understand better what surrounds you. And this understanding is a way to better seeing and representing the subject.”

In Alentejo, the Museum of Craft was chosen for the small story, the medium story focussed on the side of the city that the tourist usually doesn’t see and the big story was to draw the human figure in the Convent of St. Francisco of Evora.

In Elvas, the participants went to the Military Museum, the Forte de Sant Luzia and covered traditional local crafts for the big story.

In Beja, they drew at the Jorge Vieira Museum, Beja Castle and in the area of the Wollemi Pine Tree and Autochthonous Trees.

The last workshop was titled, When Marble becomes Alive, at the Villa Vicosa.

Luís reflects on the course, saying, “that it was a way to say thanks to USk and an excellent way to improve the skills of the sketchers and showcase the culture of our region.”


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 sketch to

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 Line Painters. Check it out!


Read the August edition of Drawing Attention.


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

Writer: Pedro Loureiro
Writer: Mark Anderson

Contributor: Parka


To subscribe to Drawing Attention click HERE.


Drawing Attention circulation: 6564 (Aug 28, 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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