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 December 2017

President's Message

As we reach the end of the year, I want to thank you for your engagement and enthusiasm for showing our world, one drawing at a time. Thank you also for sharing your ideas, questions, comments, and concerns over this past year. It’s truly an honor to serve you, Urban Sketchers, in your 10th year. I look forward to continuing to do so in 2018.

In 2017 we did so many exciting things! Nearly 600 sketchers from 34 countries came together at the 8th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago, USA. The 10x10 courses provided 310 classes in on-location drawing education in 31 cities. Urban Sketchers instructors led 30 workshops around the world. Get involved in our educational mission in 2018 by hosting, leading or attending a 10x10, workshop or Symposium!

The Call for Proposals is now open for the 9th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Porto, Portugal. We are always looking for new and exciting ideas and new instructors to share their talents with our community. There are plenty of tips and guidance available to help you create a successful submission. The Symposium will be held 18-21 July 2018.

I am excited to share that the executive board has added a new member. Joining the board as Events Director is Wiltfried Pathuis of Urban Sketchers Netherlands and Urban Sketchers Groningen. He is a passionate sketcher and full of wonderful ideas! Keep scrolling to see an introduction to Wiltfried here in this issue of Drawing Attention.

Lastly, I’ll end with thanks to everyone who participated in the 24hr Sketchwalk on our 10th Anniversary, 11 November 2018. I’d like to recognize the great group of volunteers who managed the Instagram side of the event: Eric Ngan, Minjoo Yoon, Ben Luk, Bindi Nasasira, Christina Wald, Liz, Vargas, and Don Gore, and Brenda Murray and Noga Grosman for their work on event planning. Thank you for your important role in connecting our global community.

Happy sketching, and warmest wishes to you all in the final days of 2017!


Call for Symposium Programming

Reminder, the call for symposium programming went out on November 15. The deadline is December 15. For more information, click HERE.

Volunteer Opportunities

Urban Sketchers is currently seeking volunteers to fill the following positions:

  • Volunteer Treasurer
  • Volunteer Finance Committee Members
  • Volunteer Education Committee Members
For more information click HERE.

Bring a Workshop to your Chapter

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


Four iPad Pro Sketchwalks in Celebration of 10th Anniversary

On November 30th, Omar Jaramillo in Berlin, Don Low in Singapore, Uma Kelkar in San Francisco and Rob Sketcherman in Hong Kong organized iPad Sketchwalks sponsored by Apple. For more information about this exciting event, check the Apple Newsroom.

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 Dec 27, 2017 to Jan 2, 2018, USk and the TP will send Ea Ejersbo from Aarhus, Denmark and Portuguese host Ketta Linhares from Lisbon to sketch in Madeira, 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 Ea and Ketta happy travels and happy sketching!

USk Executive Board of Directors


Welcome to new Events Director, Wiltfried Pathuis

Urban Sketchers would like to welcome to the Executive Board Wiltfried Pathuis as Events Director. Wiltfried lives in Veendam, The Netherlands in the province of Groningen. 
He is the Regional Administrator of Urban Sketchers Netherlands and also an admin of a local sketch group in Groningen. Wiltfried is a research scientist/innovator at TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research).

Wiltfried will be responsible for coordinating the planning and execution of the USk Symposium and all major USk events.


USk Welcomes new Social Media Coordinator,
Noga Grosman

Urban Sketchers would like to welcome our new Social Media Coordinator (SMC), Noga Grosman from Orlando, Florida. 

Noga is the founder and Admin of USk Orlando and a retired Residential Architecture designer who worked in both Israel and Florida for 30+ years. Noga has non-profit and social media campaign management experience. 

Reporting to the USk Communications Director, Noga will lead a team of volunteers responsible to promote the organization, our values, events and programs on USk social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Flickr).


10th Anniversary Global 24 hour Sketchwalk

By Pedro Loureiro

The world has now seen ten years of urban sketching! Yes, it’s been a decade since Gabi Campanario opened up a Flickr account for a myriad of sketchers that would become the touchstone of the worldwide movement. That’s a very short time, considering the incredible number of chapters actively sketching around the globe to this date.

Not surprisingly, the Global 24 Hour Sketchwalk on the 11th of November was a tremendous success, with 106 groups - not all official USk chapters yet - registering and a few more unregistered taking part. All chapters were assigned a fixed time slot, during which their sketches and photographs posted in the social media under #USkGlobal24hrSketchwalk, would be reposted on the official USk Instagram account. Hundreds of images of happy sketchers made it online during the 24 hour period, from Auckland, New Zealand to O’ahu, Hawaii, USA. Thousands of sketchers also posted on their own, with individual posts under the official hashtag numbering just short of 3000.

This global event could not have happened with the superb team of volunteers who worked tirelessly from the inception of the sketchwalk, down to its conclusion as the sun set again on the Pacific Ocean. Social Media Managers were assigned different time zones: Eric Ngan reposted from the Oceania and Eastern Asia chapters; Minjoo Yoon gave us sights from Eastern Asia to the Mediterranean east coast; from there to Europe and the British Isles and the whole of Africa, Jeanne Edwards is the one to thank; Bindi Nasasira reposted from Europe and South America while the numerous North American chapters were split by Don Gore and Liz Vargas. Last, but not least, Noga Grosman is to thank as the community’s Social Media Coordinator.

“It was a bigger success than we even envisioned!” Bindi exclaims. Besides being one of the Social Media Managers, she also had the merit of organizing the event together with USk President Amber Sausen. Bindi explains that “It was a great experience getting to communicate with people from all corners of the world, and seeing the shared enthusiasm everyone had to be a part of this event.”

Don reports some interesting stats from the USk Instagram account: “Friday jumped to just over 522,000 impressions with Saturday going to over 1,900,000 (yes, that’s 1.9 million)”, just over 13 times more than the daily average impressions - that is, times that the posts show in the followers feed. While causing a lot of online interest, such intense events often have audience setbacks, as the account lost around 4,000 followers. “Some folks may have been overwhelmed by the number of posts showing up in their feeds in a relatively short amount of time”, Don explains, but still concludes that “lots of people viewed, and continue to view what was happening around the world”.

“From the emails I'm still receiving now from sketchers who participated, it seems we were all amazed at how we are a part of such a big global community,” Bindi concludes. It’s a realization that makes us strive for ten more years of happy sketching!

To view sketches on Urban Sketcher’s Instagram account, click HERE.

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 Bindi Nasasira living in Kigali, Rwanda will share her Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher on December 3.

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

New Chapters

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

USk Araraquara, Brazil
USk Syracuse, USA
USk Hyderabad, India
USk Cincinnati, USA
USk Bellingham, USA
USk Feira de Santana, Brazil
USk Suwon, Korea
USk Swindon, England
USk Pereira, Colombia
USk Dublin, Ireland
USk Tyne and Wear, UK

Welcome to the Urban Sketchers family!

Tools for Regional Chapters

How to Design a Customized USk Logo

As an officially recognized Urban Sketchers chapter you may wish to display our official logo. The logo can be adapted to your chapter according to this Logo Design Guide. You are not required to use our logo but if you do use a logo it should be the USk logo and no other.

Regional Chapter Guidelines

Are you considering launching a new USk Regional Chapter? Please become familiar with our Regional Chapter Guidelines available in 17 languages.

How to Create a Vanity URL for
Your USk Facebook Group

By Susan Rogers

While Urban Sketchers was launched online 10 years ago as a Flickr account and a blog, did you know that over 70% of USk chapters now use Facebook as their main platform? 

Likely chapters have been choosing Facebook because it allows them to share their sketches with their non-sketching friends and friends’ friends and in this way groups grow exponentially. When a new Facebook group is created the platform assigns a URL which sometimes looks like this:

That link is a little difficult to remember. You might like to create a customized link that will present better on a business card. Something like,

Here’s how to do it in 3 easy steps…
  1. go to your Facebook group and look for the wheel/gears icon near the top.
  2. click on Edit Group Settings.
  3. Click on the Set Up Group Address button and enter the vanity URL you want.

Please note that the name can only be changed once.

Attracted to the Opposite

By Mark Anderson

Born and raised in Portugal, João Catarino teaches drawing and illustration and design in three different art schools – and seems to have been attracted to opposites from an early age. Growing up in a family of scientists whose dinner table conversation often seemed like a foreign tongue to him, Catarino traveled an entirely opposite path, losing himself in long hours of drawing to express his individuality.
Involved in Urban Sketchers even before the blog had gone online, Catarino has embraced the philosophy of sharing directly drawn images of the world around him. “Ten years ago I had the honor to belong to the small group of Portuguese who saw a post on the first day and who were part of the initial group of USk.”

A good part of his work highlights the illusory side of forms, the immateriality of shadows or reflections, focusing his attention more on the backgrounds than on the figures – in other words, the mirror opposite of what attracts most sketchers. Catarino found Chicago’s architecture to be an especially rich subject with “the distorted and illusory shapes reflected in glass and the interplay with the actual shapes we see both inside and outside of buildings.”

Catarino advocates for a direct approach to drawing, emphasizing shapes without any prior contour markings as a means for creating a sense of immediacy. He teaches about observing the space we choose to draw, where errors in proportion and perspective happen easily – even naturally – but at the same time it is in the very plasticity of these distorted forms that we are likely to see and appreciate a greater authenticity.


Urban Sketching Books Published in 2017

It’s that time of year again… time to find the perfect holiday gift for friends and family. What could be better than a new book about our shared passion, urban sketching!

Here is a list of urban sketching books published this year by our own community members. Many apologies to authors whose work has been missed.


The Colour of Light in an Urban Garden

By Leslie Akchurin
Virginia Hein drew from a wealth of artistic and teaching experience to present her workshop “The Color of Light in an Urban Garden” at the Chicago Symposium this summer. She’s a life-long California resident who worked in toy design for many years before becoming a college art and design instructor. Now she is generally busy teaching classes and workshops or out sketching on location. She is currently planning another USk workshop that she’ll probably hold first in Los Angeles and then take on the road to San Francisco and Seattle.

It was in 2009, Virginia says, that learning about Urban Sketchers changed her life. At the advice of Gabi Campanario, she rapidly became involved, becoming a correspondent and eventually giving workshops at three symposia to date! Virginia speaks warmly of the many wonderful friends she’s made around the world through USk.

Virginia’s favorite type of outdoor sketching location is a city garden or park. For the Chicago workshop, for instance, she found her “ideal location”: an elegant formal garden framed by massive trees on Michigan Avenue, with the city skyline in the background. The variations of light, color, and distance were perfect for her lessons about monochrome contrast, using warm and cool colors, and being sensitive to the color of atmosphere.

Virginia’s main challenge in teaching these exercises was making them accessible for both new and experienced sketchers. She advised participants to work in ways that were comfortable for them and pointed out that productive learning doesn’t always result in polished results. The basic ideas of this workshop—working monochrome to warm and cool and then adding a color—constitute a common underlying theme of her teaching.

To read Virginia’s Chicago symposium workshop notes, click HERE.

Chicago Symposium Lecture, Urban Sketching as a Road to Resistance

By Rita Sabler

Click HERE to view Rita Sabler’s lecture at the 2017 Chicago Symposium called "Urban Sketching as a Road to Resistance”

Draw Less, Show More: The Louro Approach

By Jane Wingfield

When he started his blog, “Alberti’s Window”, in 2007, former industrial designer, now high school visual arts teacher and master sketcher José Louro of Lisbon, Portugal had just finished his studies for a Masters Degree in drawing from Lisbon Fine Arts University. “I found that drawing is what makes me happy,” José explained. Gabi Campanario found the blog and invited him to join the USk international blog in 2008.

Louro is a minimalist by design. “You can achieve better design through a minimalistic choice of materials and simplicity can emerge from the concept of minimalism…” His drawings express so much with so little; so it’s fitting that his workshop, “Draw Less, Show More” at the Chicago Symposium focused on creating the greatest impact through careful elimination and restraint.

Louro has taught at two earlier Symposiums, 2011 in Lisbon and 2012 in the Dominican Republic. This year, however Mies van der Rohe, Chicago architect who emphasized “less is more” was his inspiration. “At this time, when there is no limit to excess, his [Van der Rohe’s] reductionist approach is as pertinent as ever.” So in the workshop they followed the conceptual principles, “reduce the distractions and focus on the essential elements of our environment and ourselves.”

I always try to understand what the other urban sketchers really want to know,” so Louro first asks students what their expectations are for the workshop. He uses the student’s needs as a guide to what he teaches.

His favorite stories surrounding symposiums have happened when he was not conducting workshops. “We, my fellow sketchers from Portugal and from previous Symposiums, usually get together in a bar and start drawing the local ambiance.” In Chicago there was a large group all sketching together. “The funny part was trying to explain to the other customers that we don’t want to sell the drawings!”

Get to know José a little better by watching this video.

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 enthusiastic DA writer like Jane Wingfield to cover your story!

Contact us at


Sketch Tour Portugal Goes to the Beach

For João Catarino growing up with friends on the beach, surfing was – and continues to be – a vital influence: The presence of the sea or water in his drawings is a necessity. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the focus of his work during his recent adventure, Sketch Tour Portugal (STP) Oct 18-24, was to draw the best beaches and the best surf waves in the country, and to characterize the diversity of that environment.

João, along with California-based urban sketcher Suhita Shirodkar, visited spectacular surfing beaches and surfing events during their packed 6-day STP road trip. The sketching duo focused on the rugged coast north of Portugal, including Ericeira, a surfing reserve and Super Tubos beach in Peniche where they sketched at MEO Rip Curl Portugal, a worldwide surfing competition and the utterly breathtaking Nazaré, home of the largest surfing waves in the world.

Sketches by Suhita Shirodkar.

Textures in the City; An Architectural Approach

by Meagan Burns

William Cordero is an architect from Costa Rica and works at the Universidad de Costa Rica, when he’s not out sketching in the streets, a hobby that began in his youth. He considers himself a lifelong Urban Sketcher, but officially felt part of the group when he attended his first symposium in 2012, in the Dominican Republic. William taught his first workshop in Brazil in 2014 titled, “Bounding Boxes; Space and People as Characters” and also taught this year in Chicago, “Textures in the City; An Architectural Approach.”

William’s Chicago workshop covered an approach to urban sketching that’s right in his comfort zone: tackling a complex urban scene and breaking it down into textures and shapes. Set up on location in Printer’s Row in Chicago, workshop participants were asked to analyze textures and shapes as compositional and graphic elements. Imagine looking at a cityscape, squinting your eyes and telling the story of what’s before you in the simplest graphic language. The workshop dove deep into a three-step approach of blocking basic shapes, then adding detail by using geometrical patterns, colors and textures, and finally some basic collage techniques, which always focus on textures and brings the drawing together.

“What I really wanted with this workshop was to share a method that allows you to synthesize huge amounts of information by "playing" with concepts like abstraction, simplicity, interpretation, uncertainty and rational thinking converted into pure creation joy.”

The results of William’s workshop process created many happy faces as these once-complex and grand scapes began to come together in people’s sketchbooks, and began to tell a rich story of textures and design.

We hope to see William next year in Porto to once again share his passion for capturing complex urban scenes; in the meantime you can see the recap of last year’s workshop.


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 Painter. Check it out!

 How you can Support USk through Amazon Smile

Did you know that if you make online purchases through Amazon, you have an opportunity to send a small portion of each purchase to support Urban Sketchers at no cost to you? Simply go to in lieu of and choose to support Urban Sketchers when you make your purchase. For more information, about Amazon Smile click HERE.


Your Valued Opinion

Your opinion is important to us! As we are making plans and testing the technology in our secret research facility hidden deep in the mountains (just kidding. It’s actually 100% virtual) we would appreciate your feedback. Please take a moment to answer this question: What other content would you like to see us offer in Drawing Attention? Please send your brief answer to


Read the November 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
Mailchimp layout: Suzi Briggs
Website layout: Joann Sondy
Writer: Susan Rogers
Writer: Mark Anderson
Writer: Ann Schwartzwald
Writer: Jane Dillon Wingfield
Writer: Meagan Burns
Writer: Pedro Loureiro
Writer: Leslie Akchurin
Contributor: Parka
Contributor: Maria Regina Tuazon
Contributor: Amber Sausen

To subscribe to Drawing Attention click HERE.

Drawing Attention circulation: 7338 (November 26, 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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