Previous slide
Next slide

Open call for Urban Sketchers Emerging Storytellers!

Sponsored by Roman Szmal

Are you aged between 18 and 25? And are you passionate about reportage and visual storytelling? Then you might be one of a new amazing group of #USkEmergingStorytellers!

#USkEmergingStorytellers is a new initiative by Urban Sketchers looking to showcase reportage artists and visual storytellers aged 18-25. We’re on a mission to empower and celebrate the next generation of reportage artists, and we need your talent to make it happen.

Partnering with ROMAN SZMAL, makers of honey based, artist quality watercolours, we’re on the lookout for talented young artists to embark on a thrilling reportage sketch project. We will be giving away 10 Goody Bags for Rising Stars to use in a reportage sketch project. And it gets better: in August 2024 one Emerging Storyteller will be selected to receive a free Sketch Pass (value $260) for our Symposium in Buenos Aires and an award of $500 USD. 2 runners up will receive a selection of art products from our Sponsor.

What is Reportage?

Reportage is a visual account of a cultural phenomenon, event, current history, etc., based on drawings made from direct observation while on location. The drawings have to tell a story by capturing an event or life within a local community  showing context, characters, and setting. Sketches are accompanied by short pieces of narrative writing presented directly on the drawings or added separately. The narrative is informed by firsthand accounts, research, and interviews. A successful visual reportage gives viewers a feeling for the setting and the people.

Click here for great examples of visual storytelling and reportage. 

Who can participate?

Sketchers of all abilities and styles are encouraged to apply. A condition of participation is that all work must be completed by artists who will be aged 18-25 at the time the USk Symposium takes place in Buenos Aires (9-12 October 2024). 

How do I take part?

What does the goody bag include?

2Artboard 1
Artboard 1

The goody bag includes a set of Aquarius Urban Sketching watercolor paints, Da Vinci Casaneo travel brush, and a sketchbook by Tomasz Kowal. 

How does the selection process work?

All applications will be evaluated by the USk selection committee. The merit of each application will be judged on the following criteria:

What happens if my application is selected?

Congratulations! Once you receive your goody bag you can start your reportage project which should include at least 12 sketches on location and may also include videos and interviews. You will receive detailed instructions on how to upload your final project.

You grant USk and Roman Szmal non-exclusive usage rights to publish your completed reportage project on our channels as a condition to receiving the art materials. You will retain full copyright of your images and we encourage you to share them online using the hashtags #urbansketchers #USkEmergingStorytellers #romanszmalart #aquariuswatercolor.

Your sketches will be featured on the Urban Sketchers website and social media channels.

How can I get inspired?

If you haven’t yet checked out USk Talks, a weekly show dedicated to all things Urban Sketchers visit the official USk YouTube’s channel. In season 2 we looked in depth into the practice of visual reportage and storytelling inviting artist reports, sketchers, and the winners of a Reportage proposal call to come and share their work and knowledge with the community.

What happens if my reportage project is selected?

The project artist and Emerging Storyteller selected will be notified 24 August 2024 and will receive a free Sketch Pass (value $260) to the USk Symposium Buenos Aires 9-12 October 2024.  They will additionally receive an award of $500 USD.


As you work on your visual reportage we ask that you document your project in photos, videos, and other media as much as you can. These could include photos of you sketching on location, photos of your subject and the setting, audio files of interviews with your subjects, time lapses, and so on.

Other things to know

If English is not your first language, we will work with you to edit text for clarity if needed.

You may also submit posts in other languages, and we will try to find volunteer translators to work with you.

All accepted proposals go through a collaborative editorial process.

We reserve the right not to include all the sketches originally submitted.

All submitted text may be edited for accuracy, grammar and clarity

Please contact with any questions.