Urban Sketching

It is a technique or style used by urban sketchers to see the world, one drawing at a time (urbansketchers.org).

A Brief History

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.”[1]

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 our manifesto.[1]


Most urban sketchers strive to improve their drawing or painting skills. It's a global community of artists that practice drawing on location in cities, towns, and villages where they live or travel. The book "The Urban Sketcher" by Marco Taro Holmes, published in 2014, details the birth of the Urban Sketching (USk) movement, started in 2007 by journalist Gabriel Campanario on Flickr.

We show the world, one drawing at a time!

--Urban Sketcher Motto

Marc Taro Holmes: Milk, Tea, Honey Approach in Watercolor

Urban Sketcher Approach

The approach is meet, sketch and then share.

  • Draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
  • Drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live, and where we travel.
  • Drawings are a record of time and place.
  • Be truthful to the scenes we witness.
  • Use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
  • Support each other and draw together.
  • Share our drawings online.
  • Show the world one drawing at a time.


  1. “Urban Sketchers | a Global Community of Artists - Home” (2007). Urban Sketchers, UrbanSketchers.org/. Retrieved December 12, 2023, from https://urbansketchers.org/who-we-are/

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