Urban Sketchers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising 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.
This is the manifesto we follow:
- 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.
The Urban Sketchers nonprofit maintains a network of blogs and also a flickr group where sketchers can share their drawings and stories and interact with each other. Launched on December of 2009, the nonprofit is currently developing educational and fundraising programs to foster the art of on location drawing.
To read the most recent news about our community, see our Drawing Attention updates.
Urban Sketchers is the brainchild of Spanish-born illustrator and journalist Gabriel Campanario, a staff artist and blogger at The Seattle Times. After seeing an increasing number of people sharing their location drawings in the blogosphere, Campanario started a flickr group in November 2007 as a showcase of urban sketches. A year later, he decided to expand the flickr initiative with a by-invitation group blog where correspondents would commit to posting on a regular basis and also sharing the stories behind the sketches.
In a short period of time, the Urban Sketchers blog and sister flickr group have become popular online outlets for people to share their location drawings. Thousands visit daily for inspiration or to travel vicariously through the visual dispatches from hundreds of contributors on six continents. The blog and its artists have been featured in magazines and newspapers across the globe (see Press).
From dynamic cities like London, Barcelona, New York, San Francisco, Lisbon, Singapore and Seoul, sketchers portray everyday life — from commuters on packed rush-hour subways to coffee drinkers at a sidewalk café. Their open sketchbooks show lively streetscapes, soaring architecture and intriguing faces, all quickly rendered by the sometimes furtive scratching of pen to paper.
"Drawing a city isn't just capturing it on paper, it's really about getting to know it, to feel it, to make it your own," says Nina Johansson, a correspondent in Stockholm.
To better serve this rapidly growing community, Campanario and other blog correspondents established Urban Sketchers as a nonprofit organization on December 6, 2009. The nonprofit aims to organize educational workshops and raise funds for artists' grants and scholarships.