USk Chicago Sketch Seminar – July 9-10, 2016!!

Urban Sketchers Chicago are excited to announce that once again we will be giving our USk Chicago Sketch Seminar 2016!! It will be our third! Seminar 2016 will take place on July 9-10, 2016. Please mark your calendars! And we hope to see you, from close and from afar, sketching with us in Chicago this summer!

More news soon!


Call for Photos

Did you take pictures at the Chicago Sketch Seminar?
The USk Chicago Planning team is writing a series of blog posts recapping our Sketch Seminar weekend.  We want to see the Seminar from your perspective, thank our sponsors for their contributions, and show them the amazing work that each of you created.

Please send pictures of:

  • you or a seminar classmate using sponsorship art materials or prizes
  • sketches made with the sponsorship materials or prizes
  • instructors demonstrating with sponsorship materials

Email your pictures to with the subject line “Seminar Photos”.  Tell us which products you used and what your impressions of them are.  If your photo(s) are used, you will be given credit.

Keep an eye out for blog posts coming in the the next month!

USk Chicago Planning Team

That’s a Wrap!

Screen shot 2015-07-13 at 1.33.10 PMUSk Chicago Sketch Seminar 2015 has officially ended!

Thank you all who joined us this year – we had a great time learning with and from you! We hope that many of you will be able to join us for our monthly outings (resuming the third weekend of August). To see where we’ll be going to sketch in August, watch the Facebook group and the Urban Sketchers Chicago blog.

Screen shot 2015-07-13 at 1.32.58 PM

If you liked the goodies provided by our sponsors, please be sure to show them some love. Great ways to do this include leaving reviews for the products given; tagging or using a hashtag to name the sponsor when you share your sketches on social media (this post includes links to the sponsors on social media); telling other artists about your new tools; and of course, buying any raffle prizes you wanted but didn’t win!

Between now and the August meet-up, keep an eye out here for a few accounts from our Sketch Correspondents!

Preparing for the Seminar Part 3

Now that you’ve double checked your gear (definitely bring that rain gear!) it’s time to consider the One Requirement for a Successful Art Workshop Experience. Below is a post by Barbara Weeks on just that!

One Requirement for a Successful Art Workshop Experience__________________________


Sketchbook Skool Klass with Jonathan Twingley.

It’s that time of year when art workshops and seminars abound. We’re less than a month away from the USk-Chicago Sketch Seminar 2015! There are some great things planned and we’re putting the finishing touches on the details to help you to get the most out of your workshop experience.

How about you? Are you getting ready for a workshop? Whether it’s an online class, a local workshop, one that involves travel or even if you’re working you way through a self-study book there are certain things that will help you get the most out the experience. Over the years I’ve given workshops and taken many classes both on-site and online.  I’ve found my mindset is the most important factor in what I take away from the class.

  • SET A GOAL – Why am I taking this class? What do I hope to learn?

  • KEEP AN OPEN MIND – Pay attention and follow directions. It’s easy to fall into the attitudes of “that isn’t the way I do it” or “that isn’t the way so-and-so does it” but leave those notions behind at least for the duration of the workshop.



  • THINK PROCESS NOT PRODUCT  (I know, I say that all the time) –  It takes practice to learn new techniques and methods.


  • ASK QUESTIONS – Your instructor wants you get the most out of your time in the class.

Last week, Wes gave us excellent advice about what to bring and what to wear. Remember, whether your a novice or a working pro, there is another thing you need for a successful workshop experience, that’s a positive and open workshop-state-of-mind.
The opening sketch of this post is an assignment from a Sketchbook Skool Klass with Jonathan Twingley. The goal was to draw not think.  At the end of a week we cut up the sketches made a mixed media collage to surprising results!

What’s your “must have” for a successful workshop experience?


Richard E. Scott
David Becker 
Veronica Lawlor
Sketchbook Skool

Preparing for the Seminar Part 2

The Chicago Sketch Seminar will begin in a few short days!

You’re preparing to travel to the city, deciding your ideal public transportation route, or just getting excited and so are we! That’s why we’re re-posting a great post by Wes Douglas from Urban Sketchers Chicago. We hope it helps you prepare to spend a great weekend with us!

Dressed for Sketch-cess (originally posted June 9, 2015)_______________________

With only a few weeks left before the Chicago Sketch Seminar, no doubt you are starting to think about what to bring, how to pack and what to wear. Fear not because, thankfully, urban sketching is nothing like going on vacation or climbing Mount Everest. All you really need is something to draw on and something to draw with…a pencil and a sketchbook. Done. Beyond that it is a personal preference for your style of sketching and whatever your workshop instructor has suggested for you bring.

If you scan through the past Tuesday Tips & Tricks, you will see a vast collection of techniques and how-tos that mention recommended brands of art supplies. And as long as you trust the Chicago Sketch Seminar Sponsors*, you just can’t go wrong. But unless you want to drag a rolling suitcase around with you all day, decide how you plan to sketch that day and simplify your supplies to fit in your shoulder bag or backpack.

So how about that third question: “what to wear?” Perhaps you have heard the phrase “travel light?” This is very good advice when you will be walking the streets of Chicago with a few too many art supplies. And yet with Chicago weather you never really know what to expect so you have to plan for contingencies. Here then is my survivor’s guide to urban sketching in Chicago.

> wear something to protect your head

> wear something to protect your eyes from the sun

> wear something to protect your skin from the sun and possibly insects

> wear something because we are a casual group, just not THAT casual


The diagram below shows the anatomy of the properly outfitted Urban Sketcher:


A collection of Urban Sketchers’ Popular Seats, Stools and Chairs:


*Chicago Sketch Seminar Sponsors:

USk Chicago is grateful for the generosity and support of its Seminar Sponsors. Our sponsors are supporting the Seminar through financial and product donations. Donations will go towards supplies and materials for workshops, product samples for goody bags for each registrant, materials to be tested in the Supply Speed Dating Activity, as well as some incredible raffle prizes to be raffled at our Gallery Reception on Sunday evening.  Make sure to visit their websites and connect with them on social media to see how other sketchers are using their products:

Blick Art Materials

Twitter: @Blick_Art    Instagram: @blickartmaterials  Facebook: “Blick Art Materials”


Facebook: “Atramentis”


Twitter: @FaberCastell @Faber-Castell USA  YouTube: FaberCastellUSA            Facebook: “FaberCastellUSA”   Pinterest: “Faber Castell USA”

General Pencil

Twitter: @GeneralPencil  Instagram: @General Pencil Facebook: “General Pencil Company”


Twitter: @Hahnemuehle_USA  @Hahnemuehle_DE   Instagram: @Hahnemuehle   Facebook: “Hahnemuhle USA”, “Hahnemuhle”  Pinterest: “Hahnemuehle”

Jet Pens

Twitter: @JetPens  Instagram: @JetPens   Facebook: “”

Nock Co.

Twitter: @NockCo  Instagram: @NockCo  Facebook: “Nock Co.”

Sakura of America

Instagram: @SakuraofAmerica  Facebook: “Sakura Color Products of America”

Stillman and Birn

Twitter: @StillmanandBirn  Instagram: @StillmanandBirn Facebook: “Stillman & Birn” Pinterest: “Stillman & Birn”

Winsor & Newton

Twitter:  @winsorandnewton   Instagram:  @winsornewton @winsornewton_usa Facebook: “Winsor & Newton”

Preparing for the Seminar Part 1

The planning team is getting excited about the seminar in just a few short weeks, and to help you get excited too we’ll be posting things to help you prepare for the fun!

For the first part we bring you the seminar map:

2015 sketch seminar mapClicking directly on the image will open a larger version with the ability to zoom in.

Wondering what to do with the time between now and the seminar? You can print the map, save it to your phone, visit the locations in advance, plan where you’ll stop for lunch or plot out the routes between your workshops!

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for emails – some of your workshop instructors may send emails with preparation work or information about what else to bring!

In Three Days’ Time

We are so glad some of you have already registered for a great weekend & hope those of you who are undecided will decide to join us!

in three days' time

The Seminar is less than two weeks away! That means it’s time to start deciding exactly what to bring along with you for the weekend and time to persuade any hesitant friends to join us. But like in the fairy-tales there’s a time limit on registering for this art-filled weekend. Yes, registration is closing at the end of this week – Friday June 26th.
That leaves roughly three days’ time for any undecided artists to register and come along for the fun.

Still undecided? Check out our great new sponsors who have committed to helping the event. Send us and email or comment on any workshops you have questions about. You’ll notice that full workshops have been marked on the schedule so you can plan ahead. Visit our blog from last year’s seminar and read about what it was like the first time around.

We hope you’ll decide to join us!

Please make sure to get your registration in, we’re looking forward to spending a weekend with you!

Click Here for a page that explains the steps of registration and provides a link to register.