2016 USk Chicago Sketch Seminar begins!

Opening speech by Alex. #uskchicago2016

Dressed for Sketch-cess (repost)

Are you ready for the seminar? If you’re still deciding on what to wear and what to bring-Here’s a repost from Wes Douglas that might be of help:

Hopefully you already know what to bring, how to pack and what to wear. Fear not because, thankfully, urban sketching is nothing like going on vacation or climbing Mount Everest. All you really need is something to draw on and something to draw with…a pencil and a sketchbook. Done. Beyond that it is a personal preference for your style of sketching and whatever your workshop instructor has suggested for you bring.

If you scan through the past Tuesday Tips & Tricks, you will see a vast collection of techniques and how-to’s that mention recommended brands of art supplies. And as long as you trust the Chicago Sketch Seminar Sponsors*, you just can’t go wrong. But unless you want to drag a rolling suitcase around with you all day, decide how you plan to sketch that day and simplify your supplies to fit in your shoulder bag or backpack.

So how about that third question: “what to wear?” Perhaps you have heard the phrase “travel light?” This is very good advice when you will be walking the streets of Chicago with a few too many art supplies. And yet with Chicago weather you never really know what to expect so you have to plan for contingencies. Here then is my survivor’s guide to urban sketching in Chicago.

> wear something to protect your head
> wear something to protect your eyes from the sun
> wear something to protect your skin from the sun and possibly insects
> wear something because we are a casual group, just not THAT casual

The diagram below shows the anatomy of the properly outfitted Urban Sketcher:


A collection of Urban Sketchers’ Popular Seats, Stools and Chairs:


Sponsor Announcement: Dudek Modern Goods

Dudek 6x6The+Daily+Promo

Urban Sketchers Chicago is excited to announce Dudek Modern Good’s sponsorship of the Chicago Sketch Seminar!  Dudek Modern Goods is a small business based in Arizona which produces hand crafted pen, pencil, notebook and inkwell holders.  These modern, and unique holders are perfect for keeping your most used urban sketching tools organized and ready to use on a a daily basis.  Visit Dudek Modern Good’s website to see the full line.

Participants at this year’s Seminar will have the opportunity to enter a raffle for a chance to win “The Daily“, a pen and notebook holder in one.

Many thanks to Mike at Mike at Dudek Modern Goods for sharing his work with our group and for his support of the arts and small businesses.

Make sure to visit Dudek Modern Goods website, and follow them on social media!

Website: http://www.dudekmoderngoods.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=dudekmodgoods
Instagram: @dudekmoderngoods

Our Sketch Seminar Crew

We thought that you may want to know who are the elves toiling in the background to bring you USk Chicago Sketch Seminar 2016. Here is our Sketch Seminar Planning team – everybody:

Adriana Gasparish – workshop instructor

Alex Zonis – planning coordinator, USk Global liason, Workshops team

Andrew Banks – workshop instructor, Sponsorship lead, Seminar Correspondent

Barbara Weeks – workshop instructor, Workshops team

Deirdre Fox – workshop instructor

Don Yang – workshop instructor, American Academy of Art representative

Donald Colley – workshop instructor

Ed Brickler – workshop instructor

Joan Stachnik – Registration team

Joann Sondy – workshop instructor

Jodie McGovern – workshop instructor

Joel Berman – workshop instructor, Hospitality team

Keelan Kaiser – workshop instructor

Kordt Larsen – Seminar Correspondent and videographer

Lisa Flahive – workshop instructor

Mark Jones – workshop instructor

Mary Russo – Registration lead, Communications team

Mary Longe – PR team, Hospitality team

Paul Ingold – Communications team, Seminar Correspondent

Peggy Condon – Registration team, Hospitality team

Rick Russo – Rick is Mary’s husband, he just helps with everything. Amazing!

Ted Gordon – workshop instructor

Wes Douglas – workshop instructor, PR lead, Seminar Correspondent

This all looks well organized and we try. In reality we juggle numerous jobs that sometimes can be categorized only as “something that needs to get done right now” and does not fit into any other defined category. Our Registrar Mary worked as our Editor-in-Chief and blogger! Our PR lead Wes produces the Seminar map. Several crew members from various areas  will be making gift bags for our participants.

We are looking forward to welcoming you on July 9 for two days of sketching, learning and fun!

Meet Our Instructors: Wes Douglas

wes-introWes has been the artist in residence for brainstorming sessions, business meetings, and TEDx conferences for the last eight years.  He also develops concept sketches for consumer testing and client presentations for the last 30 years.  He is co-founder and innovation director at the innovation consultancy, Maddock Douglas Inc., located in Elmhurst.

Wes became an Urban Sketcher in January 2013, but has been a sketcher his entire life.  He has sketched and created art in many types of media, and his favorite has always been markers and pen & ink.

According to Wes, sketching with markers is a passion of his, and he is continually amazed at the different effects that can be achieved with them.  In addition, marker clean up is as easy as clicking the caps back on.  He is excited to share all that he has learned, and is our instructor for the upcoming seminar workshop, Sketching With Markers for Beginners.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.29.04 AM


Meet Our Instructors: Barbara Weeks

barbara-introBarbara received a BFA from St. John’s University, New York, and is happy to have worked in the field of art in many capacities ever since.  For two decades, she worked as art director and production manager in the magazine publishing industry.  In 2005, Barbara took that experience and founded Remarque Design, LLC, a company dedicated to personal and corporate design services, including illustration.

Barbara has been a member of Urban Sketchers Chicago since its inception.  She is a member of the Illinois Watercolor Society, as well as Urban Sketchers, is a correspondent to the USk Chicago blog, and a contributor to Tuesday Tips and Tricks.  She has been a guest blogger for GoodFoodFestivals.com as “Urban Sketcher Meets Urban Farmer.”

Barbara teaches private sketching and journaling classes that use watercolor and sketching to record everyday life.  During the summer seminar this year, Barbara will be teaching the workshop, The Poetry of Speed Sketching.


To see more of Barbara’s work, please visit barbaraweeks.blogspot.com.

Meet Our Instructors: Mark Jones

mark-headshotMark is a licensed architect in Chicago, working with the firm of Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED).  He has over 26 years of experience in various project types, primarily focusing on affordable senior housing.  Mark graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and learned his drawing and sketching skills through those architecture classes.  The instructors emphasized the importance of documenting the environment by requiring students to maintain an active sketchbook.  He filled it with ideas, inspirational quotes and designs, in addition to using it as a journal.

While in school, Mark participated in a nine-month, study abroad program based in Versailles, France, documenting his travels through Europe in pencil sketches and watercolors.  He was drawn to the medium of colored pencils while working on his thesis project, and has used it predominantly since that time.  Mark continues to keep active sketchbooks filled with conceptual drawings, urban sketches, journaling, and anything else that inspires him.  He routinely utilizes freehand drawing to develop project designs and details in his work, and always encourages younger architectural staff to draw by hand.

Mark is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Construction Specification Institute, and he resides on the northwest side of Chicago.  He will be utilizing his extensive experience to teach the workshop, Urban Sketching with Colored Pencils.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.33.51 AM

To see more of Mark’s work, follow him on Instagram, @markjones4125.

Extra!! Extra!! Registration will open on May 1st!

Sketchers! Can this get any more exiting!

Chicago Sketch Seminar 2016 will open Registration on May 1st, 2016! Mark your calendars and don’t miss the day!

Between now and May 1st we will be sharing our workshops descriptions, so you can learn what’s on offer and plan which workshops to choose. This year we went over the top and are offering 16 workshops!

May flowers by Barbara Weeks

Flowers by Barbara Weeks

What Does the Chicago Sketch Seminar Look Like?

New to the Urban Sketchers Chicago or Urban Sketchers communities?  Thinking about attending the Chicago Sketch Seminar and curious what a Chicago Sketch Seminar looks like?  Look no further. 

On July 9-10, 2016 USk Chicago will host it’s 3rd annual Chicago Sketch Seminar, a weekend filled with workshops and activities which will teach participants a wide variety of sketching techniques used in on location sketching.  Our Seminar brings together a diverse group of people with a wide range of skill levels, professional backgrounds and sketching experience.  Workshop instructors are Chicago based USk Chicago members, and participants will gather for a weekend of camaraderie, community and of course improvement of sketching skills.

Here is a short video from last year’s 2015 Chicago Sketch Seminar!

Many thanks to Kordt Larsen, USk Chicago’s resident photographer and videographer for his generous donation of time in producing this wonderful video.

Stay tuned for more Seminar announcements and information!


REMINDER: Workshop Proposal Deadline – February 2nd, 2016


Urban Sketchers Chicago is accepting workshop proposals for it’s July 9th-10th Chicago Sketch Seminar, however, the February 2nd deadline for submissions is approaching fast! See the full workshop proposal below and email all submissions to: alexandrazonis@gmail.com


Urban Sketchers Chicago is a community of artists and sketchers dedicated to raising the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing, promoting its practice and connecting people around the world who draw on location where they live and travel. We are a part of the global Urban Sketchers movement.

This will be our 3rd year conducting the Sketch Seminar.  Once again we are inviting instructors and people who want to become sketching instructors to submit proposals for sketching workshops.

This year we are trying something new and invite you to submit proposals for workshops and activities, similarly to our previous Seminars, and also proposals for Demos and Lectures if your content folds better into these new formats.

Things to keep in mind while designing your workshop

Workshop site: Chicago IL – most likely outside

Dates: July 9 – 10, 2016

Workshop duration: Workshops (activities, demos and lectures) are 2-3 hours long and may be offered twice on different days

Maximum number of participants to expect per session: 15

Minimum number of participants to expect per session: 4


  • Name:
  • Phone:
  • Email address:
  • Website/blog/FB page of your sketches or art
  • Bio (200 words or less)
  • Area of specialty in sketching (pen&ink, watercolor, people, architecture, etc)


  • Workshop Title:
  • Workshop description:
  • Learning goals (What are skills and concepts you would like your participants to learn from their experience?):
  • Supplies list (What supplies do you suggest for participants to bring with them for the workshop?):
  • Please submit two or three sketches that are representative of your workshop.