Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Urban Sketching Inspiration and Social Media

Tuesday Tips and Tricks 

Where do you find artistic inspiration?  How do you pick the perfect sketchbook, pen, watercolor palette, or travel sketch kit?   Looking for books on Urban Sketching?  (Yes, there are books on urban sketching.  In fact, many of them, filled with incredible sketches from all around the world).  How do you connect with the global sketching community?  Whether you are a veteran sketcher or completely new to urban sketching, this post will introduce you to all of the different ways that USk Chicago uses social media, outside of the Facebook group.  USk Chicago has a blog, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest account.  Each account is used in a slightly different way to help you develop your skills, provide you with resources, and connect you to our local and global sketching communities.

As an artist and urban sketcher myself, I have found social media extremely beneficial to my artistic growth.  I use social media on a daily basis.  I encourage you to read below for a brief introduction to the accounts, a brief summary about what each account is used for, how to use each account, and how your participation with them can help create “buzz” for our Chicago community and for this summer’s Sketch Seminar.

BLOG (http://urbansketchers-chicago.blogspot.com/)
If you are reading this, you've found our blog.  This blog is managed and regularly updated by several contributors from our group.  If you are new to the group, this is the perfect place to learn about Urban Sketchers, find contact information, learn how to participate with our Chicago chapter and read several of our ongoing series of posts.

Here are several of the ongoing post series:

-TTT (Tuesday Tips and Tricks) – This is the newest addition to our blog.  Each Tuesday we post a new tip related to sketching.
-Sketchcrawls – After each sketch meet, we post pictures and a short re-cap from the event.
-Miscellaneous announcements/ updates / information

TWITTER (https://twitter.com/usk_chicago)
Follow @USk_Chicago

Twitter is a short form blog where users make posts called "tweets".  Tweets are 140 characters or less.  Users can be followed by other users, and can follow other user's tweets.  When someone you follow posts a tweet, it will show up in your news feed and vice versa.

What it's used for:
  • announcements (new blog posts, sketch events, sketch seminar updates etc...)
  • following other people, groups or organizations (individual urban sketchers, other urban sketchers groups, artists communities)
  • post text or photos ("tweet")
  • sharing other's posts ("re-tweet")

How it's used:
  • tweet from mobile device 
  • tweet from computer
Examples of Tweets
  • "Heading out to sketch with @USk_Chicago today"
  • "A sketch from today's @USk_Chicago sketch meet"
  • "Found this @USk_Chicago blog post helpful"
A re-tweet shares another user's tweet with your followers.  For example, USk Chicago could re-tweet one of your tweets like the ones above.  If you have a personal sketch blog and we follow you on twitter, once you announce a new blog post, USk Chicago can re-tweet your tweet announcement.

Hash tag (#)
Hash tags make your post searchable and will create buzz and increase readership for you and USk Chicago.
  • When a hash tag is placed in front of a word, that word is sent to a virtual pool of search terms that can be viewed by anyone searching for that word.
  • For example, #urbansketchers.  Other urban sketchers around the world use this hash tag when they tweet.
  • When you search #urbansketchers you will find thousands of other tweets related to urban sketching.
INSTAGRAM (https://instagram.com/uskchicago)

Instagram is another type of short form blog dedicated to posting and viewing photographs and short video clips.  Unlike Facebook where you can make folders to organize images, an instagram account hold all of your photos in one location.  You can be followed by other uses, and you can search for people to follow.  Several USk Chicago members have already started using Instagram and share their sketches here.  

How it's used
  • Download Instagram App on your smart phone
  • Instagram your urban sketches or pictures from sketch meets 
  • Hash tag your posts with #USKCHICAGO (and other sketching related tags) in the caption.
  • Mention USk Chicago in your post with @USKCHICAGO.  This notifies USk Chicago that you made a post related to USk Chicago.

PINTEREST (http://www.pinterest.com/USkChicago/)
Follow "USkChicago"Pinterest is essentially an electronic bulletin board.  USk Chicago's Pinterest account is filled with different sections (called "boards") where several of our administrators regularly pin and re-pin everything urban sketching related.  For example, USk Chicago has a board called "Books We Like." Here we pin books related to urban sketching and art techniques.  Another popular board is the "Sketching Tools" board.  Here we post all sorts of ideas of different pens, paints, paper.  The highlight of this board is all of the creative sketch travel kits that people create.  There are tons and tons of ideas to help you research and investigate all of the different "sketching tools" there are to chose from.  Some of the other boards we pin to are "Urban Sketchers Global," "Urban Sketchers Chicago," "Tuesday Tips and Tricks," "Hints and How to's, and "On the Road Sketching."  

it's used
  • download the Pinterest App on your smart phone or use on the computer.
  • Follow Urban Sketchers Chicago's boards.  Every time USk Chicago adds a new pin to one of their boards, it will also show up in your news feed.  
  • If you like the pin, you can re-pin it to one or your own boards.  
  • Create a board with you own urban sketchers.  Let us know that you have an account so we can begin to follow you and re-pin your sketches.
  • Pinterest rewards activity.  Images, repins, likes and comments affect where images appear and the amount of exposure they get.  Images with a title are more likely to be repinned.  More followers=more power.
What to pin (just a few ideas to get you started)
  • Your sketches
  • Other's sketches
  • Tutorials
  • Books you like
  • Your sketching kit
If you are completely new to our community and to these social media accounts, I hope you find this post helpful.  Please comment below or email us with any questions you have at urbansketcherschicago@gmail.com.  We will be more than happy to answer questions or help you get set up.

Andrew Banks


  1. I'm currently taking a "Business of Art" series. For those who do or hope to earn money from their art, the presenter has said, "NEVER host your images on Facebook or Instagram". Read the Terms of Service, which indicate those platforms can use your image in any way they want. Rather than uploading the image to those platforms, you can post a link to where it appears on a less egregious platform.

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