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What is Urban Sketchers?

Urban Sketchers, also referred to as USk, is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, incorporated in the state of Washington, USA, supporting and representing a grassroots global community of sketchers.

Our mission as a nonprofit is to raise the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing; promoting its practice and connecting people around the world who draw on location where they live and travel. We aim to show the world, one drawing at a time.

Please read our About page for more information about Urban Sketchers.

What is the Urban Sketchers Manifesto?

The USk Manifesto aims to define what urban sketching is all about. But it's not a binding set of rules. The basic idea behind these 8 points is to provide a unifying vision for the global urban sketching community. We encourage diversity in subject matter, style and technique. Translations of the Manifesto into various languages appear on our About page.
  • We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
  • Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
  • Our drawings are a record of time and place.
  • We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
  • We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
  • We support each other and draw together.
  • We share our drawings online.
  • We show the world, one drawing at a time.

How can I participate in Urban Sketchers?

USk offers different methods and outlets where drawing enthusiasts of any skill level can meet one another and share their drawings made on location:

How can I become a registered member of Urban Sketchers?

We are not currently registering new members. We are creating a new membership system to better serve our sketchers and supporters around the world. Please join our mailing list to be kept up to date.

How can I be invited to contribute to a USk regional chapter’s blog?

Participation in regional blogs is by invitation. Sketchers who post on USk blogs are known as "correspondents." They are invited based on the quality of their work, style, originality, and overall skill as visual storytellers. The goal is to make the blogs as diverse as possible.

Correspondents come from diverse backgrounds — from painting, architecture, journalism, advertising, illustration, graphic design or teaching. All of them share the same passion for drawing on location.

Being a correspondent requires a strong involvement in our community of sketchers, including posting to the blog regularly and offering feedback to fellow sketchers. Correspondents not only add individual drawings to the blog but also a narrative explaining the circumstances in which the sketch was done or a particular story behind it.

When a new blog correspondent is invited by the blog administrators, they are asked to agree to our shared commitment:
  • To adhere to the USk mission and respect the USk manifesto
  • To post regularly — once a month minimum; more if possible
  • To attend and help organize local outings when possible
  • It is also suggested that anyone interested in becoming a regional correspondent register as a member in the global USk organization

How do I become a correspondent on the main Urban Sketchers blog?

New correspondents are added to the main Urban Sketchers blog by invitation of the Board of Directors. There is no request process. Becoming more involved Urban Sketchers generally, and being active in a Regional Chapter, will greatly improve your chances.

Do I need to be a correspondent to call myself an Urban Sketcher?

No, anyone who draws in the spirit of our USk manifesto is an urban sketcher. Our mission is to promote urban sketching for everyone!

Once you become a member, you are welcome to display the USk logo along with the words “I’m an urban sketcher” on your blog or web page where you share your drawings made on location. To display the logo, you may copy and paste this code:

<a href=""><img src="" width="100" /></a>
<div>I'm an urban sketcher</div>

The Urban Sketchers logo was created by Italian designer Franco Lancio. According to Franco “It represents a sketchbook as well as different windows or ways to see the world from every sketcher’s vantage point.”

Our organization would like to ensure a consistent application of the logo and slogan (see below) wherever they are used, so please respect the following guidelines established by the designer:
  • The official colour of the Urban Sketchers logo is black.
  • The logo consists of two parts: the symbol and the text “Urban Sketchers”
  • The official font is Gill Sans Bold
The Urban Sketchers logo can also be displayed on official Urban Sketchers communications/merchandise as well as on the sidebar of approved regional blogs, alongside the Urban Sketchers Mission Statement and Manifesto.

What is an Urban Sketchers chapter and how can I start one?

USk started as a group of international sketchers sharing their drawings in one single blog. But pretty soon these and other sketchers formed groups with closer geographical ties, some in cities, such as USk Seattle, some in countries, such as USk Portugal.

These USk chapters have an online presence similar to the international group’s. At city and country level, USk chapters have their own blogs, Flickr and Facebook groups.

If you wish to start an USk chapter, or to use our name for your existing sketching group, please complete this form. The USk Communities Committee will review your request and get back to you shortly.

You need a minimum of three administrators who post regularly on the USk Flickr site, the Facebook group or another USk blog to start a regional chapter. Being a blog administrator in your region requires a strong involvement in your community of sketchers, including posting to the blog regularly and offering feedback to fellow sketchers.

Administrators of USk chapters are expected to join a mailing list and participate in discussions with fellow administrators around the world.

FAQ last updated Feb. 23, 2014
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