Monday, June 13, 2022

Let's Sketch!

Let's Sketch Chicago

Lincoln Park Zoo

Saturday June 18, 2022

12:00 PM – 3:00PM

Lincoln Park Zoo is a free 35-acre zoo located in Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois. The zoo was founded in 1868, making it one of the oldest zoos in the U.S. It is also one of a few free admission zoos in the United States.


We will meet in the central square by the Lions outside habitat. The meeting time is 12:00 noon. We will go sketching and come together again at 2:45 pm at the same spot by the lions to see our sketches and take photos. If you arrive late, no worries. Just pick a place to sketch and meet back by 2:45pm for the group photo. 


Please check the zoo website for parking info. Street parking is possible if you don't mind searching and walking. CTA options are available as well.

Hope to see you at the zoo! 

Cover sketch by: Paul Ingold 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Let's See Those Masterpieces!


Ready, Set, Show! 

Exciting news! USK Chicago has announced a members only art show! It will be held at the Palette and Chisel in Chicago.The opening reception is Friday, June 8. Keep reading for all the details!

The USk Chicago show submission site is open for business! Please use this link: . You will be asked to enter your contact info; agree to the show requirements and the liability disclaimer; and upload your images. The requirements also appear below -- along with important dates and a heads up about volunteers (for help hanging, the hoped-for opening reception, and gallery sitting). Please pay particular attention to the limits on the number and size of your framed sketches and how to label your uploaded files. (We'll post separately with ideas for scanning and framing.) We just need to screen your images to make sure they follow our Manifesto, so please upload low-res files (a small or medium iPhone photo works great). Let's see those masterpieces! 

Urban Sketchers Manifesto: We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live, and where we travel.
Our drawings are a record of time and place.
We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
We support each other and draw together.
We share our drawings online.
We show the world, one drawing at a time.

  • Membership : The exhibition is open to any member of the Chicago chapter of the Urban Sketchers, 18 years and older.

  • Number of Submissions and Framing : All work must be framed under glass or plexiglass. The Palette allows only a simple nail – so a cordless piece would have to something centered to hang. If your work is in a sketchbook, you may submit a framed reproduction of your sketch. We will post suggested resources for scanning and framing on our Facebook page. 
  • You may submit up to 3 pieces if no larger than 11” x 14” framed, and up to two if any piece is larger. However, no piece may be larger than 16” x 20” framed.

  • Sales : Your work may be offered for sale (at the submitted price) or not for sale (NFS). All checks should be payable to the Palette & Chisel, and all proceeds from sales must be submitted to its office. 20% of all sales go to the Palette & Chisel , and 80% to the artist. You can reach the Palette office by phone at 312-642-4400 or email .

  • Submission of Sketches : Below, for each sketch, set out the title of your work; the medium/media; the framed dimensions in inches (H” x W”); and the sale price or NFS. List your work in your order of preference – if we are overwhelmed with submissions, we will organize the show in rounds. For each sketch, upload a JPEG file (no larger than 1M) labeled as: LastName_FirstInitial-Title.

Calls for Volunteers: We ask participants and other USk Chicago members to assist in show-related activities – hanging, an opening reception (public health permitting), and gallery-sitting on the second weekend (the first weekend is covered by the Seminar). We’ll post info on our Urban Sketchers Chicago Facebook page.


  • Deadline for submission: 11:59 p.m., Sunday, June 12
  • Notification of acceptances: around Thursday, June 16
  • Delivery of work to the Palette: Tuesday-Wednesday, July 5-6
  • Note: Hand delivery and pickup only; we are not set up to take care of shipping.
  • Show hanging : Thursday, July 7
  • Opening reception (Covid permitting): Friday, July 8, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Show closing : Sunday, July 17 (pickup also available Monday, July 18)

Liability Disclaimer : Reasonable precaution will be taken to safeguard the artists' work. However, neither the Urban Sketchers Chicago nor the Palette & Chisel , and their officers, volunteers, and assigns, will be responsible for loss or damage to work from any cause.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

T&T Thursday

 I Spy with My Little Eye...

Something to Draw!

Have you ever sat down to sketch and thought "What should I draw?" Yes, for me at least, pretty much every time, especially if it's a place I've frequently visited.

Upping My Game

My grandsons like to play the game I Spy with My Little Eye Something..." Then the person who is "it" gives a clue(s) and the rest have to figure out what it is.

I've started to use the I Spy strategy when I go out to sketch. 

  • What do I notice?
  • What jumps out at me?
  • Why? Is it the shape, the color, do I just like it, do I NOT like it?

When I've spied it I make that the subject and plan my composition around it. The next question is "what will help others see it through my eyes?"

  • Color?
  • Texture?
  • Shape?
  • Size?

In urban sketching part of the challenge is to have enough context to make it an urban sketch without loosing my focal point. 

Game on!

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Thursday, April 28, 2022

Seminar 2022

 Meet the 2022 Seminar Instructors!


Friday, April 15, 2022

Seminar 2022

 All the Seminar 2022 descriptions have been announced on the Seminar Blog. Check it out!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

T&T Thursday

What Will you Choose?

The Workshops Are Set!

What four will you choose?

1. Anna Rappaport           Surprising Stories, Fleeting  Energy:

    & Joann Harling             Bringing Life into Sketches

2. Barbara Weeks               How to be a People Person: 

                                             Sketching Lively Figures

3. Brian Wright                   Practical Perspective for

                                            Urban Sketching

4. David Roberts                Sketching from the Dark Side

5. Donald Colley                Drawing the Pulse:

                                           The Ebb and Flow of Urban Dwellers

6. Jing Zhang                     Less is More

7. Ken Czech                      Marker Mashup

8. Tomoko Tanaka             Tips for Sketching a Mixed Scene

                                            of Old and New Buildings

Today's Tip

The content details for the workshops are being posted this week on the Seminar 2022 Blog

Check it out!

Thursday, March 24, 2022

T&T Thursday

USk Chicago is thrilled to announce that we'll be having a seminar in July! All the details will be posted on the Seminar Blog and the highlights will be posted on this blog.

This is a a recap of an article I wrote several years ago but the information is still on the mark as we begin to think about taking classes again.

Are You Ready?!

How about you? Are you 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.

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.

What's your "must have" for a successful workshop experience?

The opening image is an assignment from a class I took from Lewis Rossignol.


David Becker 

Veronica Lawlor

Sketchbook Skool