Urban Sketching

Drawing what we see

Drawing is personal, we make individual decisions about what we express and communicate. Many factors influence the work of urban sketchers, defined by personal ambitions.

A broad range of experience and ability exists within the group, from people starting a new activity, to professional artists and regular plein air painters. It is best to see the work of urban sketchers in this context, without critique, or judgement of one work against another. Each sketcher is making work within the parameters of their own aims and ability, discovering their visual language.

We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.

Drawing and describing the the character and atmosphere of a place, is a challenge for anyone, regardless of their competence, Working outdoors, experiencing the environment in various weather and changing light, at different times of the year, means there is always a new situation.

"I intend to show you the Seattle I see and aim to capture it with my pen,like newspaper artists did in the 19th century."

Gabi Campanario

Sketching changes at locations over time, builds a record of modifications to the environment. Events can be recorded and reported in a particularly individual way. Recently, sketching in Trafalgar Square, a plethora of events happened simultaneously, witnessed and documented by around a hundred sketchers, including market stalls, buskers and two sizeable demonstrations. These transient moments get recorded in a repotage that is individual and personal.

Each sketcher has their individual method and approach, expressing the subject in their own way. We celebrate these differences that show creativity and personality through media, composition, style and process.

Limitations of practicality and time, set by the nature of the sketch crawl, create a challenge to achieve as much as possible, using media that is transportable and quick to apply. Capturing the scene, recognising the place and its atmosphere, is central to urban sketching and there are infinite ways in which it can be done.

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"It's about drawing places that can be put on a map, and everything that happens in those places. It's about showing the world with drawings, taking people to locations they may never go through artwork you can only create."

Urban Sketchers"


Westminster by Henry Sene Yee

Westminster Bridge

Westminster Bridge by Ian Fennelly