Fellow urban sketcher James Hobbs asked me a few questions for an article he published in the summer issue of Artists & Illustrators magazine. Mainly, he wanted to know what was my original aim creating Urban Sketchers and whether I've been suprised by the rapid growth of the group.
Lots of people ask me that, so I figured I'd share an image of James article and the answers I sent to him, which appear below unedited, just the way I typed them in my email — so, go easy on my typos, folks.
"I think Urban Sketchers has been successful in creating a worldwide network of sketching enthusiasts because the concept of urban sketching is very broad and inclusive, it crosses over professions, borders, cultures... We draw our cities and everything that happens in them, whether we are professional artists, journalists, doctors or whatever else we may do for a living is secondary. The idea of urban sketching can appeal to anyone with a minimum interest in drawing, no matter their skill level. You get so much out of it, as I wrote in the book, improving your drawing skills, seeing your city anew and gaining appreciation for it, creating a visual journal of your life, finding a supportive community online, immersing yourself in other cultures when you travel with your sketchbook, just to name a few of the benefits of urban sketching.
My original aim with Urban Sketchers on flickr in 2007 and later with the blog in 2008 was not so much to connect artists but to create a global showcase of urban sketches online (I've always liked not just drawing but looking at other people's drawings and reading the stories behind them, and I've always liked geography and the world, learning about other cultures, so launching the community was something that appealed to me in many levels.)
In looking for the artists to invite to share their drawings, the connections started happening, online and in the flesh. And it didn't make sense to make that network end with the blog contributors. I thought anyone doing what we do should be able to call themselves an urban sketcher and that's why I started the 'members page' global blogroll where every practicioner of the art of urban sketching could be listed."