Monday, September 28, 2015

Urban Sketchers: Gabi Campanario steps down

A major announcement by Gabi Campanario today - he's stepping down from the Board of Urban Sketchers.
Dear fellow urban sketchers,

Since setting up the Urban Sketchers nonprofit in 2009, I've been quite involved with most operational aspects of the organization, from filing government forms and dealing with bank accounts to setting up blogs, organizing events and recruiting volunteers.

As Urban Sketchers has grown and thrived, many others have contributed their time and efforts, and we've built a solid and sustainable nonprofit. That level of shared commitment and belief in our mission is why I feel comfortable that we've reached the point in our natural evolution for the founder to take the back seat. After my term expires in December, I'll no longer be part of the Executive Board.

But I'm not wandering off too far. I have offered to serve on the Advisory Board and plan to continue contributing as a blog editor and correspondent.

I'm very proud of the work we do as a nonprofit, organizing an exhilarating international Symposium every year, promoting workshops and publishing blogs.

It makes a difference in the way people see the world and connect with each other.

I hear it all the time: "Urban Sketchers has changed my life!" people tell me. And I reply the same way: "It has changed mine, too!"

Gratefully and respectfully yours,

Gabi Campanario has given so very much in terms of time and effort to Urban Sketchers that it seems remiss not to try and mark this change in some way.

Below I've got a timeline - and a few images and links - which those of you who came to Urban Sketchers late in the day may well find interesting, while the rest of us reflect on just how long it has been since Gabi had a very good idea!

Urban Sketchers Timeline - a Gabi perspective

  • 2007: Gabi begins the Urban Sketchers story - and creates a Flickr group for those interested in urban sketching.  This is the original group.
In 2007, a global community of urban sketchers began to form when Seattle-based journalist and illustrator Gabriel Campanario created an online forum “for all sketchers out there who love to draw the cities where they live and visit, from the window of their homes, from a cafe, at a park, standing by a street corner... always on location, not from photos or memory.”  Our history
  •  2008: The Urban Sketchers blog was set up by Gabi - who invited others to join. I feel very privileged to say I was one of the original 100 who joined Urban Sketchers in the very early days. Here's a link to Gabi's introduction as a correspondent - Meet the correspondents: SEATTLE > Gabi Campanario - dated 29th October 2008. (The following day I was introducing myself!)
  • 2009: Urban Sketchers was incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Washington (USA) on Dec. 6, 2009. Earlier in the year, Gabi started to write and illustrate Seattle Sketcher - as well as his own personal blog which he had started in 2006 - a few months after I started Making A Mark). The first blogs started to be set up in localities where the sketching communities were strong and where they wanted to have their own urban sketching blog. One of the first was in Gabi's home town of Seattle in May 2009 and very many new groups in different locations around the world experienced "lift off" in 2009 initially via a Flickr group and then incorporating a blog.  Here's Gabi on the reason why local groups are important
Since launching Urban Sketchers last year I've been thinking that something important was missing from the original idea. Then I realized what it was. The main blog brings people from far away places together, but it doesn't necessarily connect the ones who are actually closer to each other, living in the same city. That's the reason behind starting this blog and perhaps others like it for other cities. (Welcome to USk Seattle)
Just some of the Urban Sketchers Groups on Flickr
right click this link and open in a new tab to see more
  • In 2009 I also awarded Urban Sketchers the The Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup as part of the Making Awards - because it had become what I called a 'landmark blog' during the course of 2009. I also recorded a few statistics in my blog post 
Here are some of the features of Urban Sketchers in late 2009:
  • it has 3,896 readers
  • hundreds of contributors from six continents
  • thousands visit daily for inspiration or to travel vicariously
  • it has been featured in magazines (MyMidwest, Anima(ls) and The Artist's Magazine) and newspapers (Público in Portugal, La Repubblica in Italy and The Bangkok Post in Thailand) across the world
  • it has an active Flickr group
  • 1,543 followers on Twitter
  • and 2,954 fans on its Facebook fan page
  • 2010: The year of the first Urban Sketchers Symposium in Portland Oregon. This was a major initiative and I guess those organising it wondered how many people might jet in from all over the world. I don't think they were disappointed!
Urban Sketchers Symposium - Portland Oregon - 31 July 2010 (the final day)
  • 2011: Urban Sketchers gained recognition as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service of the United States on Feb. 16, 2011. 
    • Later in the year, Urban Sketchers embraced international when the American sketchers flew to Portugal for the second symposium - Lisbon 2011
    • For Gabi, 2011 would have been the year in which he created, wrote and compiled The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World  - with contributions by many urban sketchers from many different countries. Nobody should ever under-estimate what a landmark publication this was - when it published at the beginning of....
Front cover of The Art of Urban Sketching
  • 2012: The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World was published in February 2012 - and sold out within 4 weeks! It was immediately reprinted and sold out again within weeks in the USA. Prior to publication it had also secured the #10 spot in the top 100 books in the Arts and Design Category on Amazon(which at the time included music) - on the strength of pre-orders alone. Its sales and popularity for a while were only limited by how fast a book could be printed and distributed. It was #1 on Amazon for a very, very long while. 
    • Even while out of stock it was maintaining a top ten position in Amazon categories for painting, drawing and other media on the strength of the orders being placed. 
    • I was rating art books at the time and this book held the top spot for Best New Art Book - period - for the first half of 2012 - helped no doubt by the book launch in London that we gave it in May
    • It now has 125 reviews on - and a lot of us have written books for publishers who looked at the absolutely staggering performance of this book - and jumped on the bandwagon just as soon as they could!  
    • Urban sketching books continue to do well around the world - with three written by UK urban sketchers (James Hobbs, then me and recently Simone Ridyard) and two more due out very soon (by Pete Scully and Lynne Chapman) - and I've got a sketch in the latter!
    • On a personal note, 2012 was the month we got serious about a group for urban sketching in the UK and February 2012 was the month I set up the blog for Urban Sketchers London...
    • Plus there was a symposium in Santo Domingo - Santo Domingo 2012
Images of some the legacy of the urban sketching movement created by Gabi Campanario
  • 2013: Gabi had a solo exhibition of his sketches between December 2013 and May 2014 at the Seattle Museum of History and Industry - which got thousands of visitors. In addition:
    • Urban Sketchers got a Wikipedia page (which actually needs an editor to take it in hand and whip it into shape - but I guess we've all been rather busy developing Urban Sketchers!)  
    • It also had a symposium in Barcelona 2013 and....
    • (I'm guessing) Quarry Books commissioned Gabi to write two more books about Urban Sketching!
  • 2014: Gabi has two new books published in 2014 The Urban Sketching Handbook: Architecture and Cityscapes: Tips and Techniques for Drawing on Location in November and The Urban Sketching Handbook: People and Motion: Tips and Techniques for Drawing on Location in December. 
    • The symposium was in a very different place - in Paraty 2014 Brazil and by now Gabi was taking more of a back seat role. Here's his blog post about visiting Paraty. 2014 was a bit of a blur for me as I had my head down for a lot of the time writing my book about sketching and rounding up drawings from all over the world! 
A hobby is not a hobby any more when it becomes your job (note from one of Gabi's sketches in Paraty)
  • 2015: Gabi steps down from being a Board Member of Urban Sketchers on 28 September 2015.  Here's a few of the comments on the Facebook announcement.
Jim Bumgarner You have changed the world, Gabi, and it is a better place because of you. Thank you.

Chantal Vincent Thanks for all that you have done Gabi! What an amazing movement you've instigated - connecting so many people and helping to enrich their lives and appreciate their surroundings. Enjoy your new role.

Virginia Hein Gabi, it's the sign of a healthy organization when the founder can step away from the helm confident that it will continue to thrive. I'm more grateful than I can say for what you started and sustained with Urban Sketchers, since I'm one of the many who can truly say it has changed my life. I'm so glad too that I finally got to meet you in Singapore!

Isabelle Laliberté Gabi, muchísimas gracias for creating a (constantly expanding) space for people to discover, develop and nurture their creativity. I remember being astounded in Lisbon: I was surrounded by people who all liked to do what I do...draw! You've had a huge impact on many people's lives by sharing your talent and enthusiasm in such a kind way, thank you for everything, and I hope to see you at another symposium soon. Un abrazo may fuerte. Xx

Suhita Shirodkar Thank you for everything you've done and everything that's come for so many of us in this community out of what you started and nurtured. But it's hard to even put how much of a difference it's made into words, so thank you for everything.
This is my way of thanking Gabi for creating a marvellous initiative which has hugely raised the profile of sketching, made an enormous huge difference to so many people's lives - and gave me the opportunity to write a book about sketching - something I'd always wanted to do. :)

I told Gabi I was going to write a post - but didn't ask him for any help - so any errors in this post are completely down to me. Help with correcting them is most welcome!

1 comment:

Liz Steel said...

Thanks for the great post Katherine.
Gabi truly has started something really wonderful and changed lives all over the world!
i just shared this great summary to the USK AUS facebook thanks very much for putting it together.

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