Thursday, May 3, 2012

Becoming an Urban Sketcher (Manifesto No. 8)

4/29/12, F-C Pitt Artist Pen, Tombow markers
I recently heard Gabriel Campanario, author of The Art of Urban Sketching, give a reading and presentation about the book. He spoke of his passion for sketching on location as a means to become familiar with a place or community – a passion that led him and fellow urban sketchers to develop a “manifesto” for urban sketching:
1. We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.

2. Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.

3. Our drawings are a record of time and place.

4. We are truthful to the scenes we witness.

5. We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.

6. We support each other and draw together.

7. We share our drawings online.

8. We show the world, one drawing at a time.

Seeing Gabi’s weekly sketches in The Seattle Times the past few years helped motivate me to start drawing again. His drawings of locations in Seattle – my birthplace and lifelong home town – were sights that I had seen many times, yet had never truly seen. I wanted to learn to see, and therefore experience, those locations (and any new ones that I travel to) more thoroughly, and it was clear to me that sketching them was one of the best ways to do this.

With other media I use, such as beads and rope, I occasionally work on small projects while on the go, but for the most part, I stay in my studio. As a writer, even though my laptop makes computing completely portable, I still tend to do my work at home. For that matter, other than travel, all of my personal interests are things I prefer to do at home. I’m basically an introverted homebody.

As I learned more about urban sketching, I realized that inherent in our manifesto is getting out in the world – whether that world is only as far as a neighborhood park or on a different continent. Sketching is what takes me out of the house and into the world. The eighth manifesto, to “show the world, one drawing at a time,” has a flip side: Sketching enables me to see the world, one drawing at a time.

(This is the first in a series of blog posts about how I have interpreted the Urban Sketchers manifesto.)


  1. I've enjoyed seeing more of your sketches here. That's one of the fun things about WetCanvas, the links to other fun places. I will be back to see more of your work. I'm going to put your blog under my "links" so I can visit more often.

    1. Thanks, Joan! Wet Canvas is where I've found a lot of my favorite blogs, too. I appreciate your interest!

      - Tina


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