Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Urban Sketchers celebrate one year of drawing around the world

A year after making its debut in November 2008, the Urban Sketchers group blog has drawn more than 1 million visits and established a network of hundreds of members in more than 50 countries.

From Venice to San Francisco, Greece to Bhutan, readers of the blog can travel vicariously through the thousands of drawings posted by 100 invited correspondents. Admire a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic of Liège, Belgium, drawn from a roof. Take in a driver's view of Bangkok traffic or the atmosphere of a flea market in Mauritania. It's all captured by the artists drawing scenes from their daily lives on location in cities across the globe. Sketches from concerts, airports, cafés or even cemeteries, show the world one drawing at a time, as the Urban Sketchers motto goes.

A sister group on flickr, the popular image-sharing site, has attracted more than 2,000 members and inspired people to draw their surroundings and share their sketches online. "It was amazing to discover other people doing the same thing," says Omar Jaramillo, an urban sketcher in Catania, Italy. "Since I have been in the group I have learnt a lot from other fellow sketchers. You get a lot of feedback and inspiration from the community."

"Urban Sketchers has been my homepage since Spring 2009. It has changed the way I look at the world — everywhere I look now, I think about how I could draw it!" said Isabelle Laliberté, a member in London.

Looking ahead to the coming year, Urban Sketchers founder Gabriel Campanario intends to formalize the project as a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing. "As a nonprofit, we'll raise money to give grants and scholarships to artists," said Campanario, a Seattle-based journalist and illustrator. "We also aim to do an annual book and organize an international meetup every one or two years."

Urban Sketchers by the numbers

  • 100 correspondents.
  • More than 3,500 blog posts with drawings from 56 different countries.
  • More than 3,000 blog subscribers.
  • More than 2,000 members on sister flickr group.
  • Nearly 20,000 drawings on flickr.

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