Stay tuned for out next Sketchcrawl! Check our DC forum & FB Group for Updates!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

USk Symposium Manchester

Last month I had the privilege of attending the annual Urban Sketchers Symposium, which this year was in Manchester, UK.

For those who have not been, the Symposium is a great experience: you get to meet sketchers from all over the world (we had 44 countries represented this year!), attend workshops led by talented instructors, and of course spend a lot of time out in the streets sketching a new city.

Manchester has a lot of interesting architecture, both from its heyday during the Industrial Revolution, as well as more modern buildings, and it was really interesting to see how everything from Roman ruins, industrial canals, cotton mills, and modern skyscrapers has been woven into the fabric of this place.

And of course, one of the most fun parts is Drink and Draw: most evenings we met at a local pub, where people sketched, drank, and looked through each other's sketchbooks.  That pub was a lively place when we all descended on it at the end of the day.

You can see the rest of my sketches from Manchester on Flickr, as well as sketches from my side trip to Oxford.
If you've never been to a Symposium, you should think about coming: I always learn so much, and meet such interesting people.  I am looking forward to next year's Symposium in Chicago!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

United States Supreme Court

The Unites States Supreme Court, with flag at half-staff to mark the passing of Justice Scalia.  Since I'd sketched the high court in Bangalore just a couple weeks ago, I thought it be fitting to sketch the high court in my home town.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Mount Vernon Square in Baltimore
Mount Vernon Square in Baltimore
I enjoyed a mini-vacation in Baltimore during the holiday break. $8 ticket on the MARC train brought me from Union Station into Camden Yards station. I enjoyed walking downtown and sketching in Mount Vernon Square. Enjoyed "Outside Mullingar" at Everyman Theatre and the Baltimore Museum of Art. + folks in Baltimore are friendly and relaxed.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Witches of Warrenton

Hello to all.  I was invited to join the blog today, so I thought I would post my latest sketch as an introductory offering.  Nothing very "urban" about it.  I sat out in front of a friends home and sketched that friend and another, dressed in witches costumes, and handing out "treats" on Halloween evening.  After the time for ghouls and goblins passed, we all treated ourselves to some great wine and much more adult type snacks.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Taft Bridge

The Taft Bridge carries Connecticut Avenue over Rock Creek Park, just below the National Zoo.  I didn't realize this until sketching it, but apparently it is one of the largest unreinforced concrete structures in the world.

Monday, August 17, 2015


The Dupont Underground is a former trolley station under the Dupont Circle in Washington DC that operated post World War II era from 1949 until 1962. In the 1970's during the cold war era part of the tunnels became a fallout shelter as well as storing supplies for rations, water, and equipment. In the mid 1990's it became a food court however the plan failed catastrophically for multiple types of problems. Currently the Dupont Underground is experiencing a renaissance of ideas and renovations for multiple artistic ideals as well as activities. Thanks to the innovative vision of the architect Julian Hunt that for more than 10 years he had been working very hard in order to convert the Dupont Underground into a world class city cultural center in which will transform Washington D.C. into a cultural capital. This is a fantastic place for sketching because it has great light and shadows effects as well as exquisite architectural details. The place was cooler compared to the hot scorching humid summer temperatures above ground. It took me 3 hrs, done in white paper with black ink.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


I just returned from the 6th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore.  Hundreds of sketchers from around the world converged in Singapore for four days of workshops, activities, demos, food, and sketchcrawls.  Singapore has a lot of interesting modern architecture, as well as a lot of tasty food and a diverse population, so there was a lot to sketch. One thing I found particularly interesting was the many religions represented: one street had a church, a mosque, a Hindu temple, a Buddhist temple, and a synagogue - all on the same street.

I got a lot of energy from spending the week with so many other sketchers, and I feel like I learned a lot from them.  Getting feedback and ideas from the instructors and the other sketchers can be valuable for improving your work.  The time between the organized sketching activities is a big part of the fun as well - I spent a good part of the week hanging out with a group of Australians who "adopted" me, and of course we continued the Symposium tradition of drawing each other over dinner.  I filled several sketchbooks there - too many to post here, but you can see the rest on my flickr album for the trip.
If you ever get a chance to go to one of the Symposiums, I highly recommend it - it is worth the jet lag.  Next year the Symposium will be in Manchester, U.K., and I hope to be able to go.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rolling Thunder

Every year on Memorial Day weekend, Washington D.C. becomes host to Rolling Thunder, a large motorcycle rally originally started by a group of Vietnam veterans. Thousands of veterans from around the country ride in on motorcycles to honor those who served, and remember those who were left behind. They don't come on small, quiet bikes either - they ride the loudest Harley-Davidsons they can find, to make Rolling Thunder live up to its name. You can see all sorts of motorcycles on the road all weekend, and the various riding groups all have unique logos and patches.

Many of the riders proceed to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to pay their respects. The Wall, designed by Maya Lin and embedded in the ground, bears the names of the 58,000 American service members who gave their lives in the war. One end of the Wall points to the Washington Monument, while the other points towards the Lincoln Memorial.

Many of the activities take place near the Lincoln Memorial, which has a lot of visitors at any time of year, but is particularly crowded on Memorial Day weekend.

On Sunday, the riders will gather in the Pentagon parking lot and ride slowly over the Memorial Bridge towards the Lincoln Memorial and the Wall. Previous events have had as many as 900,000 participants. The sound is not something you will forget.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Southeaster Tidal Basin at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial

This is a view from the southeastern part of the Tidal Basin at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial towards the White house. It was a very cold spring cloudy day with a storm coming by, however there were many happy tourist from around the world that came to visit this monument. Many friendly tourist from China as well as India wanted to buy my sketch and for sure they took so many pictures of myself sketching. I remember hearing from them "very good!, very good!, can I please buy it?, can I please take a picture?" all the international attention made me feel very happy wink emoticonDuring this sketch I even got the attention of Tony Ashwin Kanal the bassist for the American rock band No Doubt that came with his family to visit the memorial. I must say it was a very surprising amazing day when a simple humble sketcher like myself gets more attention in a national memorial than an internationally famous rock band star, the power of sketching wink emoticon It took me 3.5 Hrs and I used Black Ink on White Paper

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Nationals Park

From the upper deck at Nationals Park you can see the Capitol (currently covered in scaffolding), as well as the Old Post Office, the Cathedral, and many other D.C. landmarks. But last night we also saw the Nationals fall to the Marlins, 2-1, which is definitely not what we came there to see. But at least they still have 'W'-shaped pretzels.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Grand Central Terminal

After spending the day learning from sketches/ideas from Maestro German Samper Gnecco, FAIA I was very inspire to go and sketch the world I see. Just before I got to the hotel on a very cold rainy spring night I went to the Grand Central Terminal and I began to record the place. It was late however there were few people coming in out of the terminal talking about their travels. The architecture in this place is very ornamented with very exquisite details. It feels like a gigantic Cathedral that celebrates traveling. Took 2 Hrs (taking breaks here and there) Black Ink on White Paper

Sketch Virginia

I just returned from a weekend of sketching in Richmond, Virginia. We had perfect sketching weather - the temperature was pleasant, the sun was shining, and the dogwoods were blooming. Sketchers came from around the state, and a few far-off places as well.

Marc Holmes led a two-day workshop on sketching techniques - we focused on building up a sketch from pencil, to ink, to watercolor, working from big, light shapes to small, dark marks as the sketch progresses. I had fun sketching the gargoyles adorning the entryway to the Branch House. Towards the end, we also explored dispensing with the scaffolding, and moving straight to watercolor. I had taken some of Marc's workshops before in Portland and in Barcelona, but he always has something new to offer, and I'm glad he was able to come down to offer this.

After the workshop, we had an open sketchcrawl down Monument Avenue, to which we invited the community. A couple dozen sketchers showed up from Richmond, Charlottesville, and the surrounding area. There are a lot of lovely houses along Monument that were fun to sketch.

At the end we met at a local bar where Marc challenged people to "sketch duels": we'd face off one-on-one, pull our pens and brushes out of our holsters, and sketch each other for just a few minutes, face to face. This was a lot of fun. My duel with Marc is below (check out his sketch of me in the green hat).

At the Virginia Center for Architecture, at the Branch House on Monument Avenue, Jessie Chapman has curated an Urban Sketching exhibit, with sketches from Don Gore, Rich Johnson, and some local Virginia sketchers. It is worth checking out - it was really neat to see their sketchbooks in person.

It was a fun weekend, and it was great to meet so many other Virginia sketchers.