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Who We Are

Urban Sketchers, or USk, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in the state of Washington, USA, supporting and representing a grassroots community of sketchers.

What We Do

Our mission is to raise the artistic, storytelling, and educational value of on-location drawing, promoting its practice and connecting people worldwide who draw on location where they live and travel.

What is an urban sketch? ​

An urban sketch is a drawing created on location, indoors or out, capturing what the sketcher sees from direct observation. Urban sketchers use any kind of media to tell the story of their surroundings, the places they live, and where they travel.

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Our Story

In 2007, a global community of urban sketchers began to form when Seattle-based journalist and illustrator Gabriel Campanario created an online forum “for all sketchers out there who love to draw the cities where they live and visit, from the window of their homes, from a cafe, at a park, standing by a street corner… always on location, not from photos or memory.”

A year later, Campanario invited a group of sketchers to share their drawings and storytelling in a blog, Urban Sketchers, where readers could “See the World, One Drawing at a Time.” The blog helped the community gain visibility and inspired drawing enthusiasts from all over to sketch in the spirit of our manifesto.


Gabi Campanario creates an online forum on Flickr for on-location artists

contact us laptop urban sketchers


Urban Sketchers blog began, with invited correspondents


Urban Sketchers becomes a nonprofit in the state of Washington, USA


First International Urban Sketching Symposium held in Portland, Oregon, USA


Urban Sketchers celebrates its 10th anniversary


Urban Sketchers passes milestone of 300 worldwide chapters

Vision & Values

Our Symposium

At our annual conferences (we call them symposiums), urban sketchers from all over the world meet, sketch, and share in person. Would you like to host a future symposium in your city?

Application Process

To apply, please read the Symposium Host Selection Handbook, where you will find information about the selection process, and fill out this form.

Send your questions to

We accept applications all year. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.