What truly distinguishes Urban Sketching from other art movements is the power of our community. This force is expressed in local USk chapters (over 300 and counting) and the work that chapter administrators do day after day to make them thrive.
|Patrick Ng and Tia Boon Sim|
Tia Boon Sim und Patrick Ng joined us to talk about the very successful Singapore chapter. USk Singapore started in 2009 and has grown very large, always attracting a crowd at their monthly sketch walks.
Tia and Pat talked about their sketching habits and preferences, such as Tia’s love of concertina sketchbooks and sketching panoramas. Pat talked about seeking out rustic places to sketch, and seeing out people to sketch who are normally in the background: people serving other people, such as the barista serving you coffee or the person cleaning the streets. This inspires our first challenge for the week:
Highlight an Everyday Hero! Sketch someone performing a duty that usually isn’t noticed or might not be appreciated. If you can, share your sketch with them to show them your appreciation.
Follow them on Instagram, too!
Tia and Pat talked about some of the things they do that make their chapter so successful. One of their secrets is empowering members to take on something they want to do, such as starting an Instagram account, organizing an exhibit, or even planning and hosting an alternative sketch walk. Recognizing different strengths helps them to be more inclusive, while offering more ways to participate brings in new sketchers.
The group has many ways of creating an atmosphere of acceptance and love. They are always welcoming to new members, making sure to acknowledge new attendees. “After one sketch walk you’re no longer a stranger.” Members of the group make a point of eating together to help form and solidify bonds.
Tia and Pat also discussed successful projects organized by their chapter. They have published two books of USk Singapore member sketches, with a third one coming out soon. Creating the book involved finding a sponsor to secure funds, and reaching out to the group for skills such as photography, layout and writing. One member served as a “project manager,” organizing the volunteers and gathering sketches from the group.
When projects come up, think about what you want the project to do for your chapter. Will the results outweigh the effort? These projects help to get the word out about the chapter. Pat also said, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.” Often the need for perfection keeps us from wanting to try things. The first step is just doing it, and if you try you’re only going to get better. Also get a core group together for your project to spread the load but also to lean on. And don’t forget to eat together!
For chapter administrators, the Chapter Brainstorm Challenge. Get together with members of your chapter to brainstorm and plan a sketching event. Share your ideas to inspire others!