The global popularity of urban sketching is relatively recent. Although people have been documenting their lives by drawing the world around them for ages, the global community aspect of it has skyrocketed in the past 10 years or so.
In 2007, a Seattle-based journalist and illustrator named Gabriel Campanario founded a blog and online forum for urban sketchers. This allowed urban sketchers all over the world to share their artwork with others. UrbanSketchers.org is now a non-profit organization who hosts the International Urban Sketchers Symposium annually and offers urban sketching workshops all over the world. This year Gabi was in Chicago where the Symposium was held. 600 sketchers from all over the world swarmed Chicago!
The UrbanSketchers.org manifesto pretty much tells you explains what urban sketchers are all about!
Around the same time, SketchCrawl was founded by Enrico Casarosa, a Pixar storyboard artist and director. SketchCrawl is a like a bar crawl but without beer. Well, sometimes with beer! You meet other local urban sketchers to walk around and sketch various sites throughout the day. It’s a great way to meet fellow artists and find new locations around your area. Meet your Tribe!