Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tri-State Sketchcrawl 1 + 2 = 4!

The Bean inspired us with its many moods!

It’s in the Books, Sketchbooks – Galore and Glorious! 

Gray was the color to start the day but it seemed with every smiling face that joined us the sky got a little brighter. Our Tri-State Sketchcrawl turned out to be a Quad-State Sketchcrawl! Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan sketchers began meeting at 10:00 A.M at the Bean!  

Good Morning!

How Many Times Did You Hear

  • “Are you an Urban Sketcher?”
  • “Where are you from?”
  • “What kind of stool is that?” 
  • “Do you like it?”
  • “Where did you get it?”
  • “How’s the paper in that sketchbook?”
  • And laughter, lots of laughter!

Let the Sketching Begin
Sketchers at work

At 10:30 an informal sketchwalk began led by Kris Van Stockum. She led interested sketchers to the South Garden at the Art Institute, then on to the Chicago Board of Trade and the Rookery. 

Others spread out on their own to find their sketching spots. The Bean was a big favorite!
Some ventured out toward the EL to find their Chicago inspiration.

Lunch was another chance to chat and sketch. So many places to choose from on the list of near by restaurants provided by Gail Dokucu!  

What a Day!

We returned to the Bean at 3:00 to share our work and adventures. Thank you to Evelyn Brody, Bob Glazauskis, and Natalia Gubernov‎ for sharing their photos!

What a day, what a group!

There's More?

Then we were off to Blicks Art Materials on State Street. The perfect end to a perfect day!

Add to the list
  • "We should do this again!"
Thank you all for joining us and thank you to the volunteers who helped make it happen.

Great Shots!!
New blog posts and sketchcrawls are mentioned in the Facebook group but if you’d like to keep up-to-date by email just fill in your email address in the place provided in the upper right corner under the banner. We look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

TRI-STATE SKETCHCRAWL Sunday, Sept. 15, 10:00 AM!

Sketch by Aaron Elswick

You've Heard the News, Now Here are the Details!


10:30 AM  SKETCHWALK (Optional)

Our member Kris Van Stockum will lead a loose and leisurely paced Sketchwalk through Chicago Loop. Sketchers who want to join Kris will find her by the Bean. If you prefer to wander on your own or in a small group, that’s OK too. The sketchwalk will be about 2 hours and will depart from the Bean at 10:30 AM. Thank you, Kris!


  • Cosi 116 S. Michigan - 10 minute walk/0.5 miles from Bean. Flatbread sandwiches and salads. $
  • Panera 2 N. Michigan - 5 minute walk/0.2 miles from Bean. Sandwiches, salads and soup plus bakery items. $$
  • Corner Bakery 224 S. Michigan - 9 minute walk/0.4 miles from Bean. Sandwiches, salads and soup plus bakery items. $$
  • Good Stuff Eatery 22 S. Wabash - 8 minute walk/0.4 miles from Bean. Burgers and fries, also some salad. $$
  • Naf Naf 22 S. Wabash - 8 minute walk/0.4 miles from Bean. Middle Eastern pita sandwiches & soup. $
Thank you Gail Dokucu for compiling this list of cafes where we can eat together in groups!



Thank you Blick Art Materials, 42 S State St, Chicago, IL 60603. for your always generous support for Urban Sketchers and our Tri-State sketch crawl. They are expecting us at Blick Loop store at about 3:15 pm and will have gift items and discount coupons for us. Please head to the 2nd floor along the back at the North wall.

New blog posts and sketchcrawls are mentioned in the Facebook group but if you’d like to keep up-to-date by email just fill in your email address in the place provided in the upper right corner under the banner. We look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Join in the Fun!

Come and sketch in a great neighborhood in Chicago!

On Saturday August 17, join us in Lincoln Square for sketching in the square and around the neighborhood!

  • 12:00 p.m. We'll meet in Giddings Plaza at or you can just arrive anywhere and start sketching. Giddings Plaza is located on Lincoln Avenue between Lawrence and Leland and Giddings Street. 
  • 3:00 p.m.We'll meet back at Giddings Plaza to share our sketches and take the group photo.

Parking is available at two public lots at Leland and Western or on the surrounding streets. There is parking on Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Square itself but it's tough to find a spot.The Brown Line Western station is the closest L stop one half block away and the area is served by the following buses: #81 Lawrence, #49 and #49B Western, #78 Montrose, and #11 Lincoln.

Host: Mark Jones 773-517-4680

Thank you, Paul Ingold, for the great sketch!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Are You Ready for More?


More What?

Enjoying sketching and air conditioning at
Blicks on N Kingsbury.

Sketching of course!

We had a great time Wednesday sketching  
at Blicks on North Kingsbury! Thank you,
again, Blick Art Materials for your generosity and hospitality! And thank you, MJ Ernst, for the photo!

Oak Park here we come!

Wes Douglas is our host on 
July 21, 2019 at 12 PM – 3 PM.
Scoville Park, 800 Lake St, Oak Park, IL
Meet at the corner of Lake Street and S. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park and explore the stomping grounds of Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway. 


This photo was taken our first year as an Urban Sketchers chapter. On September  16, 2012 we met in Oak Park. The six of us sketched at the Frank Llyod Wright’s home and studio. We had a wonderful afternoon sketching and making plans for Usk Chicago. I don’t remember the nice passerby who took the picture.

And now

My how we’ve grown! Below is a photo of the sketchers from Wednesday’s meet, July 10, 2019,  at Blicks. That's quite a turnout for a hot day in the middle of the week!

Join us in Oak Park on July 21, 2019!

New blog posts are mentioned in the Facebook group but if you’d like to keep up-to-date by email just fill in your email address in the place provided in the upper right corner under the banner. We look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Are You Joining the Party?

Tips, Tricks, Treats, and Sketching at Blicks!

Join us for the fun and comradery at Blicks. It's a great place to sketch inside and out.
Sign up here at Eventbrite and you may win a goodie bag! Of course, as always, you can just show up. If you are a newbie be sure to introduce yourself to one of the admin. We'll have our name badges on and we'd love to meet you!

P.S. There's free parking!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Another Successful Seminar in the Books!

Usk Chicago Sketch Seminar 2019 Instructors and Participants

And We're Planning for Next Year!

Yes, after a deep breath and a little time off, we’re already planning for next year’s seminar. USk Chicago administrators met last week to discuss the surveys many of you filled out at the close of the Seminar. We appreciate your kind words and suggestions for making the seminar better than ever.

 By the way, there's a great article by Leslie Akchurin about the Seminar in the monthly USk zine Drawing Attention. You can read it here.

So, Thank You and Happy New Year!

Urban Sketchers Chicago’s new year begins with the close of the Seminar. At the admin meeting we also talked about what’s in store for 2020 and the rest of 2019.

     Some Possibilities:
  • More community service and outreach
  • Ways to make sure newbies to our sketch meets feel welcome and included
  • New places for sketch meets
  • Continued engagement with our Seminar sponsors
  • Perspective USk Chicago show
  • Reaching members who don’t or prefer not to use FaceBook
  • Retooling and updating our social media

And Here We Are

We’re bringing back some of the original services this blog provided. 
  • Favorite books
  • Sketch meet information
  • How-to articles similar to Tuesday Tips and Tricks
  • Spotlights on individual sketchers
We’re also open to your suggestions. Just leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments. 

The new blog posts will be mentioned in the Facebook group but if you’d like to keep up to date by email just fill in your email address in the place provided in the upper right corner under the banner. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Way We Were

According to my sketchbook this was taken on April 29, 2012

It's hard to believe that there were only five people at our first sketch meet! (Oh and guess what, it rained and we sought shelter in a local restaurant!) 

If you're a newcomer to a Usk Chicago sketch meet look for the USk Chicago name tags and introduce yourself to the administrators. We'd love to welcome you!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Are You in the Know?

Do You Know These People?

If you've been keeping up with Chicago Sketch Seminar 2019 you do! If not meet the seminar instructors and read the workshops descriptions on the Seminar Blog

Our generous seminar sponsors will be posted there, too, as well has helpful hints for a successful seminar experience.  Stay up-to-date and in-the-know!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Ready, Set...

It’s almost time!

Are you ready? Registration doors open Saturday, March 16 at 10:00 a.m. Chicago time (CDT).
All eighteen (!!!) workshop descriptions are listed here on the Seminar blog. With so many exciting choices it’s helpful to go the list and make your choices now. You may want to make a few back-up picks in case you are closed out of some workshops. 
The schedule is there, too. You can scroll down and see previous posts or click on the tabs at the top of the blog for more registration information. 

We’re ready to get this party started. How about you?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

Making decisions on which workshops to choose when you register is hard work, especially when the choices are all enticing! 

Starting tomorrow we’ll be posting information on the individual workshops; two a day, every other day. Follow the Seminar blog  and you’ll have details on all eighteen workshops before registration opens. It probably won’t make the job easy but it should help you decide what’s best for you! 

Follow us on Instagram @uskchicago too!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo, to Which Workshops Will You Go?

Here’s the workshop lineup for the 2019 Sketch Seminar.

From this amazing lineup of eighteen workshops,

what four will you choose?

  1.  Aaron ElswickFake It Till You Make It: Sketchin’ Like You Don’t Care
  2.  Alex Zonis & MJ Ernst Fountain Pen World
  3.  Amy LarsenSketching on the iPad with Procreate and the Apple pencil
  4.  Barbara WeeksWatercolor: Focused, Fast, and Fun
  5.  Brian Wright & Suzala ZahlerComposition Tells the Story!
  6.  Gabriel CampanarioChicago in Your Pocket Sketchbook
  7.  Jenny ZhangLet Lines Walk on Paper: Cityscape Sketch with Loose Lines and Light Color
  8.  Jingo de la Rosa Think with your hands!
  9.  Joann Harling LarsenDemystifying Drawing People in Urban Landscape
  10. John A Hancock – Richness and Simplicity w/Ink Pen & Brush-Pen
  11. Lisa Flahive – Capturing Chicago’s Rhythm and Energy
  12. Marek Badzynski – Chicago Skyline with Fude Nib and Water-Soluble Graphite
  13. Mark Jones Go BOLD with Color Pencils!
  14. Nishant Jain – Be Sneaky: Sketching People To Liven Your Urban Landscape
  15. Paul Heaston – Umbrella Perspective, Chicago Style!
  16. Paul Ingold – Light & Shadow: Urban Sketching with Pen and Watercolor
  17. Shari Blaukopf-  Bare bones: Exploring Limited Palettes in Watercolour
  18. Wes Douglas Urban Uglies: How to Make Beautiful Sketches Out of Those Areas Most People Overlook
Stay tuned, more details and registration information coming soon!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Come Grow with Us!

It’s hard to believe that we are getting ready for our fifth seminar.  We started our seminars to introduce urban sketching to more people and to offer affordable workshops to local sketchers.  We’ve done that an more!

US-Chicago 2019 Sketch Seminar will welcome sketchers and instructors from USk-Chicago, Illinois, out of state, and even from other countries. This is the place to keep up with the details on this year’s adventure,

Details about:
  • Our instructors and what they’ll be teaching
  • Registration information
  • Helpful hints for a successful seminar experience 
  • and more so stay tuned!

We are inviting you, our experienced instructors and new ones, to submit a proposal and share your love and knowledge of Urban Sketching. Teaching propsals have been rolling in and we excited by the variety and the new ideas. If you’re working on a proposal or are thinking of submitting one now’s the time! The deadline for proposals is January 31, just one week away. This  link  will take you to our proposals submission form, it will guide your proposal. 

Join the fun!

Thursday, January 3, 2019


USk Chicago instructors, this is a CALL FOR WORKSHOP PROPOSALS to teach at the 2019 Chicago Sketch Seminar (May 31 – June 2, 2019).

The Chicago Sketch Seminar is an annual educational event for Urban Sketchers. We are looking for a variety of Urban Sketching topics. The workshops will be given outdoors, in the streets and parks around The American Academy of Art at 332 South Michigan Avenue. The workshops are typically 2½ – 3 hours long, with a maximum of 15 students.

To submit a proposal to teach at the Seminar 2019, please fill this form before January 31, 2019:
Depending on a number of workshops submitted, there will be a selection process. If you have questions about creating a proposal or about details of your workshop, please talk to Alex Zonis or Barbara McCafferty Weeks.

We look forward to receiving your proposals!