Our mission

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:
  1. We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
  2. Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
  3. Our drawings are a record of time and place.
  4. We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
  5. We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
  6. We support each other and draw together.
  7. We share our drawings online.
  8. We show the world, one drawing at a time.

Our work
The Urban Sketchers nonprofit develops educational programs to foster the art of on location drawing. Our first initiative was the I International Urban Sketching Symposium held in Portland, Oregon, in July of 2010.

To read the most recent news about our community, see our Drawing Attention updates.

Board of directors
  • Elizabeth Alley was born in Memphis, TN, and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Memphis. In addition to making drawings, sketchbooks and oil paintings, and exhibiting her work for 12 years, she spent over 11 years in Arts Administration, 2 years in the roller derby, and is currently a Technical Writer. She is also known to sketch, make lists, read, crochet and run. 
  • Tia Boon Sim is an architect turned educator at Temasek Design School, Singapore. Besides her passion for location drawing, she creates objects with clay and fires them in a wood kiln. In 2003, she earned the Pratt Circle Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement during her two-year study with Pratt Institute in New York.
  • Matthew Brehm is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Idaho. Each summer, he leads an eight-week architecture program in Rome, Italy, with an emphasis on location drawing. His sketches have won awards on two occasions at the Design Communication Association's Biannual Juried Drawing Exhibit.
  • Gabriel Campanario (Chairman) is a Spanish-born journalist and illustrator living in the U.S. Since the early '90s, he has worked for newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic, including La Vanguardia in Barcelona, Diario de Noticias in Lisbon and USA Today in the Washington DC area. He currently works as a news artist for the Seattle Times, where he publishes the blog and weekly feature Seattle Sketcher.
  • Simonetta Capecchi is an Italian architect and illustrator based in Naples. Since 2006, she has curated the annual exhibit on travel sketchbooks, In viaggio col taccuino. Her sketchbooks have been included in many exibitions and collective books.
  • Jason Das (Vice Chair) is a multidisciplinary artist, activist, idealist and information wrangler based in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Orling “Arty” Domínguez. Orling is a Dominican artist-teacher, freelance graphic designer, illustrator and vagabond traveler. She lives in Santo Domingo where she teaches visual arts and portfolio design to students wishing to apply for international art schools. 
  • Isabel Fiadeiro is Portuguese painter and gallery/shop owner. She has been living in Mauritania since 2004 and sketching nonstop. From time to time, she spends up to a month in a remote village sketching and sharing the everyday life with its residents.
  • James Hobbs (London) is an artist, freelance journalist and father of two daughters who is based in London. He’s a former editor of Artists & Illustrators magazine, and a series of five art cards featuring images of London scenes have just gone on sale at IKEA stores worldwide. The ups and downs of the English cricket team adds colour to his life.
  • Marc Taro Holmes is a concept artist, art director and illustrator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has worked in the entertainment industry since 1995 on projects such as Bioware/EA's Neverwinter Nights and Turbine Entertainment's Lord of the RingsOnline.
  • Nina Johansson is a Swedish art, design and computer graphics teacher, who spends most of her free time drawing around Stockholm. She went from doodling-on-whatever to filling sketchbooks in 2005, and now the bookshelves in her home have less and less room for novels.
  • Cathy Johnson is an artist and writer based in the Kansas City area. A lifelong sketcher, she has written and illustrated more than 30 books and was a contributing editor for Country Living, The Artist’s Magazine and Watercolor Artist.
  • Omar Jaramillo is a landscape architect based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. flickr
  • Veronica Lawlor (Treasurer) is an illustrator and president of Studio1482, an illustration collective in New York City. She teaches drawing and illustration at Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute and Dalvero Academy. Lawlor has created reportage illustrations for numerous clients, including 3M, Brooks Brothers and the Hyatt hotels. Her on-site drawings of the September 11th attacks on NYC are part of the Newseum, the museum of journalism in Washington DC.
  • Màrio Linhares (Lisbon) is a Portuguese artist-teacher, coordinator of USk-Portugal, married and it makes a lot of things about drawing and humanitarian projects. He draw daily, or almost...
  • José Louro (Lisbon)
  • Kim Marohn (Paris)
  • Víctor Martínez Escámez, aka Swasky (Barcelona) Born with a pencil on his hand, Swasky, also known as Víctor by his relatives and friends, studied Fine Arts and Audiovisual Communication. He draws, takes pictures and films. When he is filming or editing, he is not drawing. When he is drawing, he is not filming or editing. When he is not filming, editing or drawing, he is with his daugther and his wife enjoying life.
  • Shiho Nakaza (Secretary) is an illustrator based in Los Angeles and a board member of the Society of Illustrators in Los Angeles.
  • Jim Richards is a landscape architect, urban designer, writer and educator in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A. He has visited and sketched in 34 countries around the globe. He is the founder of Urban Sketchers Texas and is the author of Freehand Drawing Renaissance, to be published in January 2013 by John Wiley and Sons.
  • Luis Ruiz Padrón (Málaga, Spain) is an architect and educator based in the city of Málaga, in the South of Spain. He is married and father of two children, and contributes to the USk blog from his hometown, where he has founded a growing community of sketchers that practices the art of drawing on location.
  • Paul Wang (Singapore)
  • Steven White (Blacksburg, Va. USA)

    Past directors
    Ea Ejersbo is an artist and printmaker based in Århus, Denmark. She works for Gøglerskolen School of Street Circus as a project and management secretary.
    Julien Fassel, aka Lapin, is a French illustrator working in fashion, magazines and advertising. He sketches every day in his notebooks, using this endless archive as the elements of his illustrations.
    Stuart Kerr is a Scottish illustrator and designer. He is involved with a diverse range of projects from British heritage exhibition work to illustrations for Japanese publications. Stuart also teaches part-time at the Glasgow School of Art and is currently based in Edinburgh.
    Kumi Matsukawa is a Japanese illustrator with a background in advertising. She has been drawing story boards for TV commercials since 1994. In 2001 she started to instruct pastel and watercolor classes in her neighborhood.
    Eduardo Salavisa is an illustrator and teacher based in Lisboa, Portugal. He is the author of "Diàrios de Viagem" and a curator of exhibits and workshops on sketchbooks. His web site, "Diario Grafico," is an archive dedicated to sketchbooks from the past to nowadays.
    Samantha Zaza is an art teacher, illustrator and trapeze artist based in Istanbul.

Our history

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.

Urban Sketchers was recognized as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service of the United States on Feb. 16, 2011. All donations to our nonprofit are tax deductible.

Translations of the Urban Sketchers Manifesto (languages in alphabetical order.)

1.- Tokian marrazten dugu, barnean ala kanpoan, ikusten duguna zuzenean islatuz.
2.- Gure marrazkiek gure inguruko istorioa kontatzen dute, bizi garen eta bidaiatzen dugun tokietakoa.
3.- Marraztean, toki eta une jakin bat islatzen dugu.
4.- Ikusten ditugun eszenekin leialak gara.
5.-Estilo ezberdintasuna ospatzen dugu, eta edozein tresna eta euskarri erabiltzen dugu.
6.- Elkarri laguntzen diogu eta taldean marrazten.
7.- Gure marrazkiak sarean elkarbanatzen ditugu.
8.- Mundua marrazkiz marrazki erakusten dugu.


1. Vi tegner på stedet, indendøre eller ude, og indfanger livet omkring os gennem direkte iagttagelse.
2. Vores tegninger fortæller om vore omgivelser, de steder vi bor og hvor vi rejser.
3. Vores tegninger er et vidnesbyrd om en tid og et sted.
4. Vi er tro mod det vi ser.
5. Vi bruger alle slags materialer og værdsætter vore personlige stilarter.
6. Vi støtter hinanden og tegner sammen.
7. Vi deler vores tegninger online.
8. Vi viser verden, en tegning ad gangen.

1. Nous dessinons in situ, en intérieur ou en extérieur et croquons sur le vif.
2. Nos dessins sont les témoins de notre quotidien et de nos voyages.
3. Nos dessins représentent des archives de lieux et d'instants.
4. Nous sommes fidèles aux scènes que nous voyons.
5. Nous utilisons tous types de techniques et apprécions la diversité de nos styles.
6. Nous nous soutenons, aidons, et encourageons les uns les autres et dessinons en groupe.
7. Nous partageons nos dessins en ligne.
8. Nous montrons le monde dessin par dessin.

1. Wir zeichnen vor Ort, drinnen oder draußen, nach direkter Beobachtung.
2. Unsere Zeichnungen erzählen die Geschichte unserer Umgebung, der Orte, an denen wir leben oder zu denen wir reisen.
3.Unserer Zeichnungen sind eine Aufzeichnung der Zeit und des Ortes.
4. Wir bezeugen unsere Umwelt wahrhaftig.
5. Wir benutzen alle Arten von Medien.
6. Wir unterstützen einander und zeichnen zusammen.
7. Wir veröffentlichen unsere Zeichnungen online.
8. Wir zeigen die Welt, Zeichnung für Zeichnung.

1. אנחנו מציירים באתר, בחוץ או בפנים, ומנסים ללכוד את מה שאנו רואים מהתבוננות ישירה.
2. הציורים שלנו מספרים את הסיפור של הסביבה שלנו, של המקומות בהם אנו חיים או מטיילים.
3. הציורים שלנו הם תיעוד של זמן ומקום.
4. אנו כנים לגבי הסצנות שאנו עדים להן.
5. אנו משתמשים בכל סוג של מדיה כדי לטפח את הסגנון הפרטי שלנו.
6. אנו תומכים אחד בשני ומציירים ביחד.
7. אנו חולקים את הציורים שלנו באינטרנט.
8. אנו מראים את העולם, ציור אחד בכל פעם

1. Disegnamo sul posto, all'aperto o al chiuso, catturando ciò che vediamo con la diretta osservazione
2. I nostri disegni raccontano la storia di ciò che ci circonda, dei luoghi in cui viviamo e di quelli dove viaggiamo
3. I nostri disegni sono una registrazione del tempo e dello spazio
4. Siamo fedeli alle scene che osserviamo
5. Utilizziamo ogni genere di strumento e preserviamo il nostro stile individuale
6. Ci sosteniamo a vicenda e disegnamo insieme
7. Condividiamo i nostri disegni online
8. Mostriamo il mondo, un disegno alla volta.

1. 室内、屋外どちらであれ、その場で見た物を直接観察し写生します。
2. 描かれた物は我々を取り巻く環境、生活の場や旅先の様子を物語るものです。
3. 我々の絵は時代と場所を記録するものです。
4. 我々は見た光景に忠実です。
5. 我々はどんな画材/メディアも用い、個人の作画スタイルを尊重します。
6. 我々は互いにサポートし、共に描きます。
7. 我々はオンラインで作品をシェアします。
8. 我々は、スケッチ一枚ごとに我々の世界を紹介します。

어반 스케쳐 헌장
1. 우리는 실내외의 현장에서 직접 보고 그린다.
2. 우리의 드로잉은 여행지나, 살고 있는 장소, 주변의 이야기를 담는다.
3. 우리의 드로잉은 시간과 장소의 기록이다.
4. 우리가 본 장면을 진실하게 그린다.
5. 우리는 어떤 재료라도 사용하며 각자의 개성을 소중히 여긴다.
6. 우리는 서로 격려하며 함께 그린다.
7. 우리는 온라인에서 그림을 공유한다.
8. 우리는 한번에 한 장씩 그리며 세상을 보여준다.

1. Dibujamos "in situ", a cubierto o al aire libre, capturando directamente lo que observamos.
2. Nuestros dibujos cuentan la historia de nuestro entorno, de los lugares donde vivimos y donde viajamos.
3. Al dibujar documentamos un lugar y un momento determinado.
4. Somos fieles a las escenas que presenciamos.
5. Celebramos la diversidad de estilos de dibujo y utilizamos cualquier tipo de herramientas y soporte.
6. Nos ayudamos mútuamente y dibujamos en grupo.
7. Compartimos nuestros dibujos en internet.
8. Mostramos el mundo, dibujo a dibujo.

1. Nós fazemos desenhos de locação, através da observação direta, seja em ambientes externos ou internos.
2. Nossos desenhos contam histórias do dia a dia, dos lugares em que vivemos, e para onde viajamos.
3. Nossos desenhos são um registro do tempo e do lugar.
4. Nós somos fiéis às cenas que estamos retratando.
5. Nós utilizamos qualquer tipo de midia e respeitamos nosso estilo individual.
6. Nós nos apoiamos e desenhamos juntos.
7. Nós compartilhamos nossos desenhos online.
8. Nós mostramos o mundo, um desenho de cada vez.

1. Desenhamos in situ, no interior e no exterior, capturando directamente o que observamos.
2. Os nossos desenhos contam a história do que nos rodeia, os lugares onde vivemos e por onde viajamos.
3. Os nossos desenhos são um registo do tempo e do lugar.
4. Somos fiéis às cenas que presenciamos.
5. Usamos qualquer tipo de técnica e valorizamos cada estilo individual.
6. Apoiamo-nos uns aos outros e desenhamos em grupo.
7. Partilhamos os nossos desenhos online.
8. Mostramos o mundo, um desenho de cada vez.

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