By Carrie McClish

If you thought of sketching as a solitary activity, then you haven’t heard of the Urban Sketcher Movement. Urban sketchers can be found drawing in small groups in London, Singapore, Moscow, Buenos Aires and throughout the East Bay.  We sketch on street corners, in parks, coffee shops and grocery stores—just about anywhere.

During the July 12-14 weekend, urban sketchers will be out in force on both sides of the Bay for the 1st Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl.

This sketching weekend begins on the evening of July 12 with a meet and greet in Berkeley where people can gather to eat, join other sketchers and perhaps do a little sketching. On the following day (July 13) participants plan to gather at the Ferry Building in San Francisco where they can draw the waterfront, or walk and sketch at such nearby sites as Fisherman’s Wharf or Chinatown. The sketchcrawl will resume in Oakland July 14 where sketchers will explore and draw at Lake Merritt and other nearby points of interest.

Sketch by Cristina Siegerist

Sketch by Cristina Siegerist

These events are open to anyone who likes to sketch or is just curious enough to join. It’s free, and there is no membership required. You don’t need an art degree to participate. Just bring an open mind and willingness to meet other people who like to sketch.

These sketching events are part of the 40th Worldwide Sketchcrawl, the creative brainchild of artist Enrico Casarosa of San Francisco. Casarosa came up with the idea during a friend’s bachelor party, which consisted of visiting several pubs and bars in San Francisco. Casarosa came up with the name “sketchcrawl” to describe a day of intense sketching in which members of the group walk and sketch at several different locations during the day. These so-called “drawing marathons” take place in cities, towns and villages around the world. Many of the participants share their sketches by posting them at the Sketchcrawl community site.

The Urban Sketching Movement (USK) is another way that people share their love for sketching in urban communities where they live, work and travel. A number of people do their urban sketching solo, while others sketch in small groups. Started by Gabriel Campanario, a Seattle-based journalist-artist, urban or location sketching has become a worldwide phenomenon and has launched numerous sketching classes and workshops as well as an online sketching community.

The local USK group has organized a special pre-sketchcrawl event July 6 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Oakland’s main library at 125 14th St. for those who wish to familiarize themselves with Lake Merritt, its historical and cultural landmarks and the ongoing revitalization project. This will also be an opportunity to visit local sketchers who will be sharing their sketches, outdoor sketching tips and art materials.

Sketches, drawings and paintings by the Bay Area Urban Sketchers group will be on display throughout the main library the entire month of July. For more information, visit the Oakland Library website or the urban sketchers group blog.

3 Responses

  1. Jim Bumgarner

    Thank you ,Carrie McClish for this promotional. You did us proud. As of today, there are 95 artists who have indicated a “plan to attend.”

  2. Sonia Tamez

    Carrie–You really covered the local and global aspects of urban sketching. An article like this is a great invitation for folks to join us at the Oakland Library on the 6th and in SF and Oakland the weekend of the 13th. I hope to see many families out enjoying the Bay area and sketching!



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