We are an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to fostering a global community of artists who practice on-location drawing.
Our mission is to raise the artistic, storytelling and educational value of on-location drawing, promoting its practice and connecting people around the world who draw on location where they live and travel.
In 2007, a global community of urban sketchers began to form when Seattle-based journalist and illustrator Gabriel Campanario created an online forum “for all sketchers out there who love to draw the cities where they live and visit, from the window of their homes, from a cafe, at a park, standing by a street corner... always on location, not from photos or memory.”
A year later, Campanario invited a group of sketchers to share their drawings and storytelling in a blog, Urban Sketchers, where readers could “See the World, One Drawing at a Time.” The blog helped the community gain visibility and inspired drawing enthusiasts from all over to sketch in the spirit of this manifesto:
- 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.
To better serve this growing community, Urban Sketchers was incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Washington (USA) on Dec. 6, 2009. It gained recognition as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service of the United States on Feb. 16, 2011.
We maintain a network of blogs and online groups where urban sketchers can share their drawings and stories and interact with each other.
Once a year, we organize the International Urban Sketchers Symposium, which is attended by hundreds of sketching enthusiasts. The event is held in a different city every year and includes lectures, activities and workshops taught by professional educators, architects, illustrators and artists.
We organize urban sketching workshops in cities throughout the world. Since our first international Symposium in Portland in 2010 and the launch of our Workshops Program in 2011, more than a thousand people have attended classes taught by our team of instructors.
We publish a monthly "Drawing Attention" report with news from Urban Sketchers' communities around the globe.
We partner with organizations such as schools, universities, museums, municipalities and trade associations to create events that promote the art of on-location sketching.
We offer businesses and corporations sponsorship opportunities to reach a global audience of people interested in drawing and sketching.