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Urban Sketchers in Savannah

February 26, 2014

I’m just back from a weekend in Savannah Georgia at the first meeting of the executive board. We had a very productive weekend discussing our various projects. (The annual symposium, coming up in Paraty Brazil, our workshops program, and other educational projects).

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[Photos Jessie Chapman]

While we were down there, meeting at the Telfair Museum, we held a little sketch crawl. Was a great chance to meet some local sketchers and see small bit of Savannah.

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They have a series of public squares, each with it’s own character.


All these sketches are Lamy fountain pen and washable ink, in a Stillman and Birn Epsilon, with watercolor accents.

The rest of the weekend was head down, reading docs, debating issues, and planning cool stuff for upcoming year.

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Of course, you have to eat right? So there were always time to get a few sketches over dinner.


[Jason Das, Gabi Campanario]


[Elizabeth Alley, Jessie Chapman]

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[A coffee-break-portrait-speed challenge with Mário Linhares]

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The last day people were splitting up to go home, so the stragglers went out for one more time around the historic district.


[A lightning sketch of the streetcar. Didn't even stop walking to do this one].


[Who says you can't get a good sketch from a parking garage? Best free view in the downtown!]


[The architects say this is a Mansard roof]

So, thanks to Kip Bradley at the Telfair for hosting us, and thanks Savannah for the great weather and your scenery.

Up on Vice Magazine

February 26, 2014

A recent job of mine just went up on Vice Magazine. It’s an interesting article – a positive story about a bad situation. Have a read here: {Vice}

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The neat thing about these illustrations – these are probably the first ‘pro’ work I’ve put out directly based on my ‘Drawing People in Motion’ workshop. (Free PDF download of teaching pamphlet here). As any regular readers know, I’m very involved in the community, and consequently I think a lot about the value of drawing on location, from life. The spontaneity of un-posed work, versus the ‘polish’ of a studio piece.

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Now, these of course are done from photos. The events in the article happened years ago. But the idea is to treat the drawing exactly the same way. Work just as fast, combining from multiple reference sources, try to get the work in the studio to match the energy of the work in the field.  My goal is of course to be going out on assignment, getting reportage in real time. But, in the mean time, the philosophy can be the same.

A side benefit for illustrators is, the drawing part of the job was done in a single day. I imagine that’s not uncommon for editorial artists, but that kind of turn around is something I couldn’t have managed a few years ago. Not sure how important that is in the long run, but its certainly suits the situation in the editorial illustration market right now.

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[Images roughly 10x17", pen and ink and watercolor on yupo]

Announcing Shari Blaukopf West Coast Workshops

February 7, 2014

My USK:MTL co-conspirator and occasional teaching partner Shari Blaukopf has some (few) spots left for her summer workshops.

  • Anacortes Island: Sold Out!
  • Vancouver: July 4 & 5
  • Seattle: July 12 & 13

Contact her  if you are interested, spaces are going fast. Her site info: [HERE]



Announcing Liz Steel and Paul Wang: Workshop in Sydney!

February 5, 2014



This just in: Super Sketching Duo Liz Steel and Paul Wang are offering a workshop on Cockatoo Island, Sydney.

Sounds like they have some creative stuff planned. Check out the full workshop description [HERE].

Book this fast, it’s sure to sell out!


I’ve had great days drawing with both of these artists in Lisbon and Barcelona (we usually go sketching in the few days after the big USk workshop) – I highly recommend this event, I’m sure you’ll have a great time, and I know they can help energize your sketching. If you were thinking of getting over to AUS, here’s a fine reason.




USK:MTL Sunday Sketching video on La

February 3, 2014


Hey! Some video from our last Sunday Sketching just went up on La Presse (video in French). They did a great job! Thanks to Denis Wong (and I forget the name of his camera person – oops).

Sunday Sketching

January 28, 2014

The USK:MTL group recently met for Sunday Sketching at McGill’s Redpath Musuem. We had a pretty good turn out, especially considering the cold. I was pleased to see a little crowd on the steps of the museum when I showed up. They were banging on the door trying to get the museum caretaker to open up on time. (It’s hard to be patient in this weather). I don’t think the staff are used to a big group appearing at opening time Sunday morning.

It was great to see a lot of new sketchers come out – I hope we can continue to build up our group, one day it would be great to be putting on a show or collaborating on a book based on the Montreal sketching community.


[Pen and Ink, composite drawing, roughly 24x36"]

Sketching wise, I stuck to drawing – though this is one of my composites, done on 12×16″ plate finish Bristol using about 7 sheets in collage. It’s sort of a mental game of mine, planing how the final drawing will stitch together. I have ballpoint, brush marker, some rust colored ink and dip pen and pencil in this. The haze over everthing is something I do in the scanning process – exaggerating the smudges left by my hands. I like the tone that develops by accident. This is the sort of thing that would make a good underlay for a painting.

This day, we had a pair of reporters from La Presse show up to shoot some video (one of our French language daily papers, if I dare say, the ‘real’ paper (the others are tabloids)), so I’ll let you know when their footage goes up. I did some drawing under the camera, so we might see some timelapse of my sketch. Fortunately Shari was there to do an interview in French. (I’m sadly not doing anything about my monolingual situation – my art will have to speak for me). Of course it’s also fascinating to me that the paper sends a camera crew, but I suppose it is only a matter of time before there is no more dead-tree paper, and we get it on our mobile devices.  I’m sorry journalists! but I can’t wait. It’s ok, there will still be journalists! Just like artists, they will have more, and better tools at their disposal.

Invitation for an International Sketch Swap: MTL – NYC – Girona – Sao Paulo

January 21, 2014


Hey everyone! I’ve been talking with some of the other regional Urban Sketchers blogs about a fun project.

One of the most interesting things about Urban Sketching is that it’s a global movement. There are sketch groups like ours all over the world.  We have a shared passion and each group is filled with people who are potential friends.

Mark Leibowitz (NYC) has proposed the idea of an exchange of original art.

A ‘Sketch Swap’ between urban sketching artists in Montreal and a person in one of the other three participating cities. (NYC, Sao Paulo, Girona).

Sounds like fun! I’m in!

Here’s the idea:

  • Everyone who is interested, (and lives in Montreal!), mail me at marc.taro(at) BEFORE FEB FIRST! Please put ‘sketch swap’ in your subject line.
  • Each participant will be (randomly) paired with a buddy in one of the other cities.
  • Before the swap day (early Feb – date to be announced) we all email our sketch-partners and exchange mailing addresses.
  • We all send our sketches by mail. I’d recommend we all do it on the same day – I think its more fun if the exchanges happen promptly.
  • Sketches don’t have to be large – postcard size to 8×10. (I can say from my etsy experience, keeping a package under letter size keeps the cost down, and gets through the mail system faster :)
  • Remember to put a (slightly larger) cardboard backing behind your sketches.
  • I’m going to keep the sketches I send out a surprise, but we encourage you to post pictures of the sketches you get back.
  • I hope everyone has fun, and makes a sketching friend we stay in touch with!

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