The Rise of Urban Sketching

A global artist collective, an art movement whose members use sketchpads as their canvas; the urban sketchers were founded by the Spanish born illustrator and journalist Gabriel Campanario.

As Campanario worked for The Seattle Times, he saw a rise in location drawings within the blogosphere. This discovery prompted him to start a flickr group in November 2007 to showcase the growing phenomenon of urban sketching, before it became a fully-fledged movement in its own right. A year later he invited talented artists to commit to the group by agreeing to share their stories through sketches on a regular basis. Within a short space of time the urban sketching blog became a popular source visited for inspiration and a platform for artists to share their sketching stories online.

As sketch artists from all corners of the globe became inspired by the blog and started their own localised movements, the blog has grown from strength to strength. Today it features sketches from approximately 100 invited artists from over 30 countries around the world. The group of artists is made up of graphic designers, architects, web developers, painters, illustrators and many more multifarious talents.

The urban sketchers see their urban world as they draw it, using different kinds of media to showcase their individuality. From sketching on a busy commute to observing the world from a coffee shop, there are no boundaries when it comes to urban sketching.

The beauty of urban sketchingis that it combines realism with imagination. While many readers might recognise the above picture by London urban sketchers founding member, James Hobbs, as the view from Covent Garden’s Seven Dials, it is undoubtedly depicted in a unique way. The cars, aerials and trees are a reflection of how the sketch artist sees them, or wishes to present them. No two urban sketches are the same, just as no two urban sketchers are the same.

The busy streets of Central London will be translated onto paper on Saturday 6th September by the urban sketchers. The talented artists will be live sketching in the Covent Garden area, using the Moleskine Store (40 King Street) and the London Graphic Centre (16 Shelton Street) as their hubs for the day. Learning workshop sessions will be held at these two London locations giving artists and budding sketchers the chance to meet the urban sketchersand hear about theirexperiences and origins as part of the movement, gaining a glimpse of what its driving philosophy is. Talks range from overcoming the fear of sketching members of the public to technical tips, such as sketching using blind contour and sketching using a variety of textures and materials to achieve different effects.

Register online for a live learning session and download a City Stories template which you can exchange on the day for a free Moleskine sketch album. Put it to good use and capture your urban environment through sketching.

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