Episode 8: USK for Good

May 24, 2020 “Urban Sketching for Good”

Urban Sketching brings so much joy to our personal lives, and in this episode we explored how sketching can also serve as a source of positive change in our communities and the world.

USk Education Director Rita Sabler joined us from Portland, OR (USA) to talk about visual storytelling. Rita says that what we do as urban sketchers is already visible because we are out in the world sketching, and we are witnesses to the world around us. She takes this further, using her urban sketcher voice as a megaphone.

Some of her sketching projects include documenting the Kalaupapa Settlement on Moloka’i Island, Hawaii (USA), which houses a 100-year-long Hansen’s disease (leprosy) quarantine settlement. Rita sketched the settlement, former patients’ personal effects, and the current efforts to restore native plants to the area. She has also conducted sketching projects about the border wall between the United States and Mexico and its effect on the communities on either side, and spent time with Portland’s aging LGBTQ community to learn about and celebrate them.

Challenge from Rita: 

Rita’s challenge builds on her advice for starting to document the things that you care about. She says to follow your passion and your heart, start with something small/local, and to build connections as you go. Her challenge is to observe change by paying attention to your immediate environment, your community, and what has changed in recent days. Make drawings from life that reflect that change. You can use words, captions, or a short description to help document the before and after. Rita says, “As we are sharing this historic moment we are each living it in a unique way, documenting what we are seeing is as important as ever.”

Post your drawings and tag with #USkTalks or #USkTalksChallenge, and tag Rita@ritasabler.

Follow Rita on Instagram, too!

Mike Daikubara, author of the popular urban sketching book Sketch Now, Think Later, joined us from Charlotte, NC (USA), where he had his wife recently relocated due to his job as an industrial designer. Mike says that sketching and getting involved with the local USk Chapter was a good way to get to know his new home and community. He combined working with USk local chapter administrator Jenny Sperry and a USk Community Workshop Grant to teach sketching to a community of folks with developmental disabilities.

Through the USk Community Workshop Grant, Mike was able to provide art supplies for workshop participants, and first taught them how to use the supplies, followed by steps for drawing and painting trees from observation. Mike experienced teaching challenges such as different needs and abilities due to difference in dexterity, and responded on the spot with the visual communication of sketches. He says communication and passion are the most important elements to get a project like this going. Mike and his students were able to share the joy of urban sketching together.

Challenge from Mike: 

Mike’s challenge shares the joy of big or everyday celebrations with sketching. Tell visual stories of how you celebrate occasions big and small in your life, culture, and community!

Post and tag with #USkTalks or #USkTalksChallenge, and tag Mike@mikedaikubara.

Follow Mike on Instagram, too!

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