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 November 2017

President’s Message

Happy 10th Anniversary, Urban Sketchers!

On November 11, 2007 Gabi Campanario pushed the button to create an online group called Urban Sketchers. My, how this small group of like-minded artists, sharing their work on Flickr, has grown in the ten years since! Urban Sketchers is now made up of nearly 200 chapters on six continents. We delight in sharing posts on with almost 25,000 visitors each month. Over 138,000 people follow Urban Sketchers on Instagram. Over 95,000 people like our Facebook page. Over 11,900 people follow us on Twitter. And that original Urban Sketchers group on Flickr? More than 246,000 images have been shared in that group since its founding!

If you’d like to hear more about the founding and early history of Urban Sketchers, check out this video of Gabi Campanario’s keynote address at the 8th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Chicago. His passion, humor, and humility shaped the early spirit of community and joyful sharing that remain central to Urban Sketchers today.

I look forward to seeing you all on social media during the Global 24Hr Sketchwalk being held on our tenth anniversary, 11 November 2017. Starting in New Zealand, chapters around the world will be sketching, creating an unbroken chain of global sketching throughout the entire 24hrs of 11 November (GMT time). If your chapter isn’t officially participating, or you don’t belong to a chapter, you can still be part of the fun. Simply post using the event hashtag #USkGlobal24hrSketchwalk and follow this worldwide event on Instagram.

Here’s to another decade of urban sketching! Happy 10th Anniversary, Urban Sketchers!

Amber Sausen

Volunteer Opportunities

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

  • Volunteer Treasurer
  • Volunteer Finance Committee Members
  • Volunteer Fundraising Team Members
  • Volunteer Grant Writer
  • Volunteer Events Director
For more information click HERE.


2018 Symposium in Porto, Portugal Dates Announced!

USk is pleased to announce that the 2018 Symposium in Porto, Portugal will be held on 18-21 July 2018! Mark your calendars

Call for Symposium Proposals starting Nov 15

Get ready to pitch! It’s that time of the year. Yes, we’re about to call for submissions for the 9th Urban Sketchers Symposium taking place in Porto, Portugal on July 18-21, 2018. We will be seeking proposals for Workshops, Demonstrations, and Lectures starting November 15, 2017. Selected proposals will be announced in January. (You can see programming for the past Symposiums 2017 here, 2016 here and 2015 here)

If you have some burning ideas for Workshops, Demonstrations and Lectures, you can submit as many as you like! To get you warmed up, check out the Education Committee’s article (below) on how to prepare a good workshop proposal.

Don’t miss out! Keep an eye for details on the Urban Sketchers Symposium blog and get ready to pitch starting November 15.

Happy pitching!

How to Prepare a USk Workshop Proposal in 5 Steps

by the Education Committee 

  1. Think about your strongest sketching skills, knowledge and sketching interests. Name them and chose one or two drawings to represent that.
  2. How can you share your knowledge with others? Think about the process you use to sketch, step by step.
  3. How do you achieve a final sketch? Think about what the participants will learn from you and describe how you start, develop and finish your drawing.
  4. Test your workshop first locally with friends, ask for honest feedback and improve from that.

Need more help preparing your proposal? Please check out this document with more detailed info prepared by Gail Wong, the USk Workshops Program Coordinator.

Following these steps will help you to present a strong workshop proposal, but be aware that USk has limited spots for instructors during Symposiums.

If you are a new instructor, please consider presenting your workshop proposal first under the Workshops Program.

The 2018 Symposium Call for Programming will be posted HERE on Nov.15th.

Call for Sketching Books Published in 2017

Hey book authors, again this December just in time for Christmas we will publish our list of urban sketching books published in 2017. If you published a book about urban sketching this year, please send the name of the book, the date published, a photo of the front cover of the book and a link for where it can be purchased to before November 15. Thank you so much!


24-Hour Sketchwalk

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

78 USk chapters around the world will host sketchwalks in their cities on that day. Through our USk Instagram account (#USkGlobal24hrSketchwalk) we will travel across the globe over 24 hours, following the time zones, as we broadcast hourly the sketchwalks happening live in different cities.

Check with your Urban Sketchers chapter for local meeting times and locations.

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

Meet Tapas Mitra

Click HERE to view Tapas Mitra’s lecture at the 2017 Chicago Symposium called "Urban Sketching Ground Rules in Art”.

New Chapters

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

USk Strasbourg, France
USk Morelos, Cuernavaca, México
USk Bourgogne Franche-Comte, France
USk Northampton, UK
USk Belfort, France
USk Delaware, United States
USk Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Welcome to the Urban Sketchers family!

An Urban Sketcher Partnership Tees Off in Portugal

Sketch by Luis Frasco
By Mark Anderson

“I was a bit nervous.” Urban Sketcher, Goldfish (Ida) Bellarian of Sweden was describing her September sketching experience in Portugal. Not being a golf enthusiast, Bellarian was apprehensive when told that her theme was the greens of the Portugal Masters, a PGA Tour in Vilamoura, Algarve.

Bellarian’s Portuguese host, Urban Sketcher Luis Frasco found the topic equally challenging. “Golf is totally new to me,” he shares. “But it was an opportunity for me to get to know a whole new world inside my own country, like a new Portugal.”

The Sketch Tour Portugal Project, a collaboration between Turismo de Portugal and Urban Sketchers promotes Portuguese destinations through drawing. Bellarian was invited to participate in the project earlier this year, with the greens of Lisbon and Algarve serving as a verdant backdrop. She describes the extended weekend visit as an amazing experience, exploring the environment and sharing thoughts and ideas about urban sketching with Frasco.

“Luis was able to guide me through the different locations and as a local, give more insight to what it was we were sketching. I got to experience the Portuguese gastronomy, wines and sweets, enjoy the beautiful beaches and landscapes, and meet friendly locals who all seemed to be proud to tell me about their culture and history.”

Sketch by Goldfish Bellarian.
The pair hope to see the project spread beyond Portugal and describe it as an amazing way to get to know a country as well as fellow urban sketchers.

Ottawa Workshop and Sketchcrawl with Shari Blaukopf

By Pedro Loureiro

A sunny Saturday - the 30th of September - saw urban sketchers gathered at the Sappers Staircase of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, for a chance to learn from instructor Shari Blaukopf, from Montreal. She held two sold out workshops - one in the morning and one in the afternoon - called “Trees and the city”, where the 30 participants (15 in each workshop) were shown how to negotiate the textures, shapes and colors of trees, and how to simplify and improve their approach to fitting trees in the cityscape.

As in the Chicago Symposium, where Shari had already taught this workshop, she was sponsored by art supplier Winsor & Newton. Thanks to this partnership, all the participants received a goodies bag with a watercolor palette and five artists’ grade watercolor tubes.

Cindi Foreman, of the Ottawa Chapter, arranged for the workshop to come to the Canadian capital city, while Brenda Murray, of the Waterloo chapter, organized a sketchcrawl around the workshop that lasted all weekend.

The sketchcrawl began Friday evening in the cozy Andaz rooftop bar. On Saturday, while Shari was busy leading the workshop participants, the sketchcrawlers went around Byward Market and the neo-Gothic Canadian Parliament buildings. Finally, on Sunday, with the sun still shining, everybody got to sketch outside the National Gallery of Art and the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, before stepping inside to enjoy Canada’s best art.

The attendance, ranging from 10 to 20 people, was surprisingly wide, as sketchers came from four of the five Canadian Chapters - Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal and the hosts from Ottawa - as well as from Spain, India, Chicago and Michigan.

To read Shari’s Trees and the City Workshop notes, click HERE.


Share your Chapter’s news with our Readers

Contact us to share your chapter’s news, special events, joint meetups, and exhibitions with our readers.

You don’t need to write the story yourself. We will assign a very cool DA writer like Mark Anderson to cover your story!

Contact us at


Uma Kelkar Blurs the Edges 

By Susan Rogers

Uma Kelkar wanted to emphasize a different approach to sketching in her workshop at the Chicago symposium. Her workshop, “Blurred Lines”, encouraged participants to try out a more painterly approach to sketching.

Uma explains, “When I was developing this workshop, I noticed that a lot of sketchers use contrasting values or colour to create interest in a sketch but rarely emphasize lost and found edges. I thought it would be interesting to concentrate on edges.”

During the walk to the workshop location, Uma asked the participants to draw from memory something they noticed on the walk. This quick drawing helped sketchers understand that as viewers we recall what’s interesting to us. What’s not so important to us we blur out. Uma suggested several other exercises to help participants see that smudging or blurring the less important details helps emphasize what is important.
Sketchers deliberately smudged the edges on small details such as a garbage container or a tree before moving up to complete scenes on a quarter sheet. One participant enthused, “this is genius, why didn’t I think of this!”

Uma admits that seeing lightbulb moments like this is very gratifying for her. She enjoys teaching but most of all feels that it is the constant give and take of information that makes the experience of the symposium so enriching for everybody.

Drawing Attention to Relaunch as an Online Magazine

Big news...(drumroll please) Drawing Attention will be relaunching on January 1, 2018 as an online magazine using the ISSUU platform. This platform is much more flexible than Blogger and will allow us to layout in columns, to include more and bigger photos and graphics, to use fonts, font colours and background colours currently unavailable--and the magazine pages will even turn--very sleek! Never heard of ISSUU? Go to our Donate page on our website and you will see the USk brochure laid out using ISSUU.

Special thanks to our DA magazine design team: Anne Taylor from New Zealand and Joann Sondy from Chicago who are currently working on creating this exciting new look and feel for Drawing Attention!

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

First-Time Symposium Instructor Renato Palmuti

By Jane Wingfield

Brazilian urban sketcher and graphic artist, Renato Palmuti knew something was missing in his career. “Even though I dealt well with the computer tools, I always missed paints and brushes on my desk.”

He started studying watercolor by watching videos and tutorials. Renato looked for opportunities to paint with other sketchers and while traveling. His efforts paid off when he was invited to teach watercolors for some art schools.

Renato went to the 5th Annual USK Symposium in Paraty, Brazil before he knew anyone in the group. He loved “the mood the people and the purpose of the group: to be outside and draw.” A fellow student encouraged him to submit a proposal to teach.

“After lots of trainings and teachings I felt confident to teach in a symposium and sent my workshop proposal to Chicago.“ He knew drawing there would be a perfect opportunity to get to know the city he had once visited.

Renato’s workshop, The Less Brushstrokes the Better – Watercolor Techniques for a Fast Cityscape “…was designed to demystify the complexity of the watercolor process and synthesize the details in an urban scenario like Chicago.”

They worked with black and white sketches to simplify painting and discuss techniques and tips. “I had to rehearse a little before going to Chicago. Although I was used to teaching workshops, it would be the first one in English”

He chose Buckingham fountain for the location of his class. “Each day we went there we had to change the point of view, because a new tent or structure showed up in a different place! “

Summing it up, it was “…an amazing experience! I met very talented, funny and interesting people and got inspired by their stories and skills. Being part of the instructors group is great, but when instructors merge with a crowd of sketchers spread in the streets with the same intention… it's awesome!”


GivingTuesday is a global day of giving. After the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, GivingTuesday is a time to celebrate and encourage activities that support charities and non profits.

Why Donate to USk?

How have you benefited from Urban Sketchers? Have you been inspired? Learned new skills? Taught a sketching class for the first time? Published a book? Made new friends? Become part of a community? If you believe in the USk mission and manifesto, please consider making a donation today. For more information, please click HERE.

USk Twitter Counts Almost 12,000 Followers!

Urban Sketchers has 11.9K Twitter followers thanks to the hard work of Christina Wald (Cincinatti, US), Jeanne Edwards (Northamton, UK) and former team-member Andrew Banks (Chicago, US)! This team is small but determined and counts each new 1K followers as an exciting milestone. Jeanne and Christina met recently to discuss exciting new ideas that they are looking forward to implementing.

Coming soon…

Twitter Chats

Jeanne and Christine plan to organize hour-long Twitter Chats with USk instructors who will discuss materials and techniques using the hashtag #USKChat.

USk Tips

The team plans to post one or two sketching tips and recommendations a week from USk instructors using the hashtag #USKtips.

Follow Fridays

On Fridays the team will spotlight a sketcher from our USk community. Check it out at #urbansketchers.

There are lots of exciting new things happening at USk Twitter. If USk is not currently following your chapter’s Twitter account, please be in touch.

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 Joel Rong from Singapore will share his Day in the Life of an Urban Sketcher on November 5. Joel will be making all his sketches on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil!

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.


People Tell Tales Workshop

You’re going to wish you were there! On October 25, Suhita Shirodkar taught a workshop in beautiful Lisboa, Portugal called People Tell Tales. The workshop came at the tail end of Suhita’s participation in Sketch Tour Portugal. 

Suhita’s workshop taught participants some basic skills about how to sketch people, their actions and gestures in the context of their environment. It looked like a fabulous workshop! Obrigado, Suhita!

To read Suhita's workshop notes, click HERE.

Catch a glimpse of the workshop by clicking below.


Follow Your Senses with Nélson Paciência 

By Meagan Burns

Nélson Paciência has been an architect in Lisbon since 1999, and credits his experience as an Urban Sketcher with improving and enhancing how he works as an architect, and how he sees life.

Nelson suggests, "Go deeper in your practice, learn how to trust your senses."

Which is exactly what Nelson's first workshop in Chicago was all about. "Follow Your Senses" was a three-day workshop that asked you to look at your surroundings more profoundly before drawing, in an attempt to discover inspiration from within.
Participants were asked to take notes so they could describe their location to a blind person. Smells, sounds, temperature, energy, all was to be considered, in addition to the location and surrounding features.

The location changed throughout the workshop; it began in a church, then to a library and finally to the Chicago Cultural Center. Nélson helped participants draw not only each of these lively locations, but also guided participants in ways to capture detail so that emotion comes through in a sketch. It was a conceptual workshop that asked Sketchers to go beyond the lines.

"Start to trust your lines. Don't aim for perfection. Draw the people and places you love. Draw and then draw some more. If you start to worry, take a deep breath. Lead from within and let your drawings surprise you."

Nélson won't be teaching a workshop at the 2018 Symposium, because he is one of the lead organizers and is looking forward to welcoming the Urban Sketchers to his country of Portugal next year.

To read Nelson’s workshop notes click HERE.

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 Dr Ph Martin's Bombay India Ink (Colored). Check it out!

Read the October 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: Jane Dillon Wingfield
Writer: Meagan Burns
Writer: Pedro Loureiro
Contributor: Parka
Contributor: Maria Regina Tuazon
Contributor: Amber Sausen

To subscribe to Drawing Attention click HERE.

Drawing Attention circulation: 7,028 (Oct 30, 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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