Urban Sketchers, also referred to as USk, is a global community of drawing enthusiasts who make sketches on location in the cities where they live and where they travel. Our mission is to raise the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing, to promote its practice, and to connect people around the world who draw on location where they live and travel. We aim to show the world, one drawing at a time.
The USk Manifesto aims to define what urban sketching is all about. It’s not a binding set of rules, but a unifying vision for the global urban sketching community. We encourage diversity in subject matter, style and technique.
*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 concept for Urban Sketchers came from 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 gathering place for urban sketches. A year later, he decided to expand the flickr initiative with a by-invitation group blog where correspondents agreed to post on a regular basis and to share 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.
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.