Friday, August 7, 2015

USk Chicago Partners with Premier Sponsors for July Sketch Seminar

Product donations © Andrew Banks

The 2015 Chicago Sketch Seminar would not have been the successful weekend it was without the support and generosity of our amazing sponsors.  From a venue for the seminar's home base, to a wide variety of premier quality art supplies and raffle prizes, to delicious local food and drinks, our sponsors helped take our event to the next level.

Opening its doors to us for the second year in a row, PALETTE AND CHISEL ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS provided the perfect, central, artist-friendly setting and home base for the weekend. 

While workshops took place within walking distance from the gallery in the picturesque Gold Coast neighborhood, our planning team and participants took over the first floor gallery spaces for check in/registration, mingling, meeting and networking with other sketchers, and to get some much needed shade and rest from the sketching and instruction filled weekend.  The seminar capped off with a reception and display of everyone’s work in the main gallery space.  Palette and Chisel was even gracious enough to provide coupons for free studio sessions.  If you are looking to connect and learn with some of Chicago’s best, make sure to check out all of the classes and opportunities the Palette and Chisel Academy has to offer here. (Photo: © Andrew Banks)

Let’s be honest, half the fun of Urban Sketching is getting to try different types of art materials.  Our sponsors made this easy to do with all of their incredible product donations.  From top-of-the-line sketchbooks, markers, pencils, inks, and even some newer products like watercolor markers and sticks, to notebook cases, everyone walked away from the weekend with a great new stash of sketching tools.  Here is a rundown of what was in this year’s seminar SWAG (stuff we all get) bags:

STILLMAN & BIRN – If you have ever had the chance to sketch in a Stillman & Birn Sketchbook, you know what I mean when I say that it is hard not to feel inspired to sketch in these incredible sketchbooks.  Every participant was thrilled to receive one of these.  From their unique packaging featuring different artist’s work, to the high quality and variety of paper types for all different media, these sketchbooks were a huge hit for a second year in a row and got put to use right away by many over the weekend.  (Photo: © Adam Cleaveland)

– USk Chicago was honored to have Winsor & Newton along as the sole watercolor sponsor for this year’s event.  Winsor & Newton is a staple paint supplier for many in the Urban Sketching community and this year they were excited to share some of their newest products for us to test including their Watercolor Markers and Watercolor Sticks.  The Watercolor markers were a great addition to Wes Douglas’s “Urban Sketching with Markers” workshop. (Photo: © Adam Cleaveland)

FABER-CASTELL – Another returning sponsor was Faber-Castell.  Faber Castell showcased their range of sketching and art supplies with their popular PITT pens, and variety of pencils, including the Jumbo 9000 2B.  Participants were inspired in Donald Colley’s workshop “Creating a Rich Drawing” where Don’s work exemplifies the versatility and usefulness of Faber-Castell’s products in Urban Sketching. (Photo: © Wes Douglas)

HAHNEMUHLE – We were excited to introduce this German-based paper company to our Chicago community this year.  Hahnemuhle is renowned for its assortment of high quality art papers and provided each participant with a two pack of their Sketch & Note pocket sizes sketchbooks.  These conveniently sized sketchbooks are perfect for the urban sketching hobby and lifestyle as you can easily keep one with you throughout the day in your back pocket, purse or backpack.  Perfect for quick note taking, sketchers recorded all of their newly learned skills in these great notebooks at the Seminar.
(Photo: © Alex Zonis)

BLICK ART MATERIALS – We were incredibly thankful for the opportunity to partner with Blick Art Materials and especially grateful to their Chicago based for their contributions to the Seminar and USk Chicago group as a whole.  At the Seminar each participant received a SWAG bag with a mechanical pencil, colored pencils and a coupon to Blick stores.  Additionally, Blick Art provided monetary donations to help provide materials for workshops and activities including Jodie McGovern’s "Make yYour Own Watercolor Sketchbook: activity.  We are also looking forward to this August’s monthly sketch event, which will be hosted by Blick at their Evanston location.  We value the support from such well established businesses, and especially look forward to continue collaborating with their local Chicago branches in the coming years. (Photos left and below: © Alex Zonis)

SAKURA OF AMERICA – Some of the most popular pens in the Urban Sketching community are the Pigma Micron pens.  Coming in a range of sizes these pens allow for precise and consistent drawing techniques that were taught in Andrew Bank’s workshop “Perspective, Proportion and Value for the Urban Sketcher.”  Each participant in Andrew’s workshop received three black Pigma Micron pens, which they used to add value to their drawings through mark making and cross hatching techniques. (Photo: © Wes Douglas)
GENERAL PENCIL, a New Jersey based art and craft pencil company which proudly manufactures it's products here in the USA, provided ample sketching pencils in a variety of softness's as well as their really fun Sketch and Wash pencils.  Thank-you for your generosity!
Sketch made with General Pencil Sketch and Wash pencils © Jane Ostergaard

As if the SWAG bags were not enough, many participants were lucky enough to win some of this year’s wonderful raffle prizes.  

NOCK CO. a Georgia based company that makes pen storage cases sent us some of their streamlined, highly functional and durable Maryapple notebook cases, along with their enjoyable Dotdash notebooks.  Make sure to check out their line of pen and pencil cases here. (Photo:  © Andrew Banks)

DEATRAMENTIS, a German-based fountain pen ink manufacturer provided an entire set of beautiful inks.  Susan Hanley created this sketch with the Violet ink she won.
© Susan Hanley
JET PENS provided enough supplies for two sets of prizes each including a variety of pens, pencils and different types of pocket sized sketchbooks.  
© Alex Zonis

MONKEY PENCIL SCREEN PRINTING came through for a second year in a row printing our T-shirts.  Thank-you to William McGhie for his great work on these.  They turned out great!
© Alex Zonis

© Wes Douglas

© Alex Zonis

Last but not least, after a packed weekend of sketching, everyone was ready for some good food and the generous people at LETTUCE ENTERTAIN YOU and local favorite, the CAFE-BA-BA-REEBA restaurant, teamed up to provide us with a delicious snack of Spanish style tapas.  Each person also walked away with a $25 gift card toward their next meal.

On behalf of the entire USk Chicago community, we would like to extend a huge thank-you to our amazing sponsors who made the 2015 Sketch Seminar a huge success.  We are honored to share your products with our community and look forward to collaborating with you again in the future!


  1. Nicely stated and I am in complete agreement – Wes Douglas

  2. Quality products to enhance an exciting and educational weekend – thank you to all our sponsors!

  3. Thanks for the shout out to LEYE and CBBR! It was a pleasure working with you. Please keep us in mind for future events!


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