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What is Urban Sketching?

I first stumbled on Urban Sketching in 2015, I think I first saw it on Pinterest. I started carrying around a tiny moleskin everywhere and sketching my surroundings. I sketched in coffee shops, waiting rooms, camping trips, everywhere I could! This practice became a very important part of my journey as a watercolour artist and helped me develop my current style and love of painting. 


Urban Sketching itself started in the mid 2000's by American Artist and Journalist Gabrielle Campanario. It has since blossomed into a global community and non-profit group consisting of numerous chapters around the world. Members share a goal of capturing their surroundings in whatever media or style they choose and sharing their works with others. 

More information about the history of the movement and their manifesto can be found on their website here

Many well known sketchers use ink and watercolour in a loose and expressive way and this style is often associated with urban sketching. In reality, there is no one specific style or media. The only requirement is that sketches are made on location and are true to the environment in front of them. 

Kitchener-Waterloo has had it's own volunteer-run Urban Sketching chapter since 2017. You can find them on Facebook or Instagram and see them meeting up around the tri-cities. The amazing admins, Steph Lee, Roger Witmer and Trent Bauman have created an amazing and welcoming group and host frequent meet ups for local sketchers! Be sure check them out! 

Keep in mind, that you don't have to be an official member to enjoy Urban Sketching. While joining the groups is amazing, there are still tons of opportunities to get out there and sketch what you see! 

If you want to learn more about the difference between Urban Sketching and Plein Air Painting? Click Here

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