13. How to Sketch a Country


April 4, 2021 “How to Sketch a Country”

Mário Linhares, Luís Araújo, Filipa Cardoso, Jenny Adam, Suhita Shirodkar and Peggy Wong

In this episode we discover what happens if you let a group of sketchers showcase a country to the world. Imagine what could happen when a local chapter forms a partnership with a Travel and Tourism Commision, such as Скетч-тур Португалия. We talk with the main visionaries, organizers, and artists who took part in this inspiring project and hope the project inspires chapters and members worldwide.

Марио Линьярес
image credit: Arthur de Paiva e Pona

Peggy Wong and Mário Linhares

Peggy, Events Director for USk, reminded us about how USK is a grassroots organization and everyone can organize an event. It all starts with an idea and daring to do something with that. Although no format is the same, USk has organized a lot of events in the past years and has built up tremendous expertise that we like to share with you if you want help with your project. Contact Peggy through events@urbansketchers.org.

Keeping in mind the current COVID-19 situation, Peggy recommends to focus on smaller regional and national events. Yet, as bigger international events also take time to plan, it would be smart to start thinking about that if you’d want to organize something for 2022.

Mário emphasized that as a network we can do much more than we think. As an organized group we are stronger and we bring added value, not only to our sketches but to the way we and others see the world.

Luís Araújo

Luís Araújo

Luís, President of Tourism of Portugal, the European Travel Commission and also as a sketcher, described the project as combining his two big loves: sketching and traveling. The project started as an idea to show Portugal in a different way – sketching offers just that. It adds a level of creativity that we need so much these days, he said. He feels the project showed the country with great passion, because the artists have put so much of themselves in the sketches and have actually really internalized Portugal.

The host Rob Sketcherman and artists Suhita Shirodkar and Jenny Adams couldn’t agree more. During Sketch Tour Portugal they were all teamed up with a local sketcher, which allowed them to see and sketch authentic Portugal. Each pair of artists was sent to a different region in Portugal, Luís told us.

Сухита Широдкар

Сухита Широдкар

Suhita joined us today from San Jose, California. For Sketch Tour Portugal she was partnered with João Catarino, who took her along the coast line. She showed us her atmospheric sketches of the surf life and explained how much she learned by just taking the time to sketch it all: what would be a right surf wave, what the surfers do (surprise: it’s not just chilling on the beach all day long).

Дженни Адам

Дженни Адам

Jenny joined us from her hometown Hamburg in Germany. Sketch Tour Portugal gave her the opportunity to discover the Azores, a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, together with the local artist Alexandra Baptista. She told us about how urban sketching, combined with food, was a universal language during the tour. As she showed us her sketches, she explained that sometimes she was so overwhelmed by all the beauty that she could only do line drawing. One of the examples of this was an old shop in Angra do Heroísmo, the capital of the island Terceira, where ‘the owners were as old as the store’ and the store itself functioned as the central meeting point of community life. Sketching this allowed her to see this.

Jenny also shared with us that all of the artists had used a Laloran sketchbook, a sketchbook made in Portugal with great watercolor paper.

Filipa Cardoso

Filipa Cardoso

Filipa is the Communications and Digital Marketing Director of the Tourism of Portugal. She shared with us that planning this kind of project took them 6 months and that the biggest challenge lies in coordinating the chaos, as there is a lot of input and a lot needs to be managed at the same time.

Filipa showed us what they did with the sketches and how they were used: in an exhibition, on travel fairs, a published book and a great website. She told us how these sketches put humanity and emotion into otherwise often dry content such as maps.

She also elaborated on how to create an experience around these sketches. She gave several examples, such as real live sketches on wine labels, adding sound to sketches, and even augmented reality. These techniques will be explored further in the second edition of Скетч-тур Португалия: Reload! starting this April.

Filipa shared some tips on organizing a covid proof event like

  • Managing events near its data
  • Following protocols
  • Testing a lot
  • Plan along the vaccination schedules of the artists you invite

Luís and Filipa concluded that travel will come back and that sketching offers a way to showcase the authentic Portugal instead of the touristic death traps.


Challenge: A Must Sketch when You Visit Me

See your neighborhood with the fresh eyes of a tourist, and recommend a top spot to visiting sketchers. Suhita suggests to sketch the place that you would take a guest to, Jenny challenges you to sketch what you only see at second glance and Mário makes you look for that one place in the city where you can find back all that matters to you.

Не забудьте поделиться своими эскизами USk Talks Challenge на Instagram, используя хэштеги #usktalks и #usktalkschallenge. Отмечайте наших гостей в своих зарисовках и следите за ними в Instagram: Марио Линьярес @linhares.mr, Luís Araújo @visitportugal, Filipa Cardoso @visitportugal, Jenny Adam @ronkiponk, Suhita Shirodkar @suhitasketch, Peggy Wong @urbansketchersи наш ведущий Роб Скетчерман @robsketcherman.

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