Wednesday, September 7, 2022

September SketchCrawl -- Riverplace, September 17

Sketch by Carrie Holst
At our last sketchcrawl I asked participants what they wanted to do next, and discovered there's clear consensus that we can never get enough time along Portland's waterways.

So let's draw boats at Riverplace!

This location offers us coffee, food, restrooms, outdoor seating, and views of the marina. There's a pedestrian walkway along the marina with good views of bridges and the southern prospect of Portland's Waterfront Park.

Sketch by Vicky Porter
Saturday, September 17

10am - Meet at the US Merchant Marine Memorial, 1510 S Harbor Way, at the entrance to the Riverplace Marina Public Dock. See map below. 

12pm - Return to meeting place for sketchbook throwdown.

Food & Drink (& Restrooms)
Just down Riverplace from our meeting location are Little River Cafe, which has restrooms, and Upstream Coffee. There's also a public restroom 5 minutes' walk south near Pajaro.

This is an 8-minute walk from the Streetcar 5th & Market stop, and about 10 minutes from the Yamhill District MAX station. Many buses that cross Hawthorne Bridge will have a stop within 10 minutes of Riverplace.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

August SketchCrawl - Multnomah Village, August 20

Please join us on Saturday, August 20, to sketch at Multnomah Village during the "Multnomah Days" celebration!

This street fair first took place in the 1920s, so it's one of Portland's oldest extant neighborhood street fairs. There will be live music, street performers, food, and vendors. Expect great people sketching with a backdrop of old Portland neighborhood charm.  

Sketch by Deb Rossi

Sketch by Alanna Randall
Parking is expected to be tight so please take public transport if you can (Trimet bus 44), or leave some extra time to find street parking. 

10am - Meet in front of Multnomah Arts Center

12pm - Reconvene at same spot

Sunday, June 26, 2022

July Sketchcrawl - PSU Campus, July 16

From time to time, we've sketched at the farmers' market on the PSU campus, but someone recently requested doing the Walk of the Heroines, which is also on the PSU campus. 

Note that, with the pandemic still on, PSU has closed most of their buildings to non-students.  But the the Fariborz Maseeh Hall, across from the library, will be open for customers of the farmers' market.  Coffee and food will also be available from multiple booths at the farmers' market.

Karl Miller Center at PSU, by Vicky

Saturday, July 16

10:00am: Meet at the Walk of the Heroines.  Probably on the platform at the center.
12:00pm: Sketchbook throwdown at same location

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

June SketchCrawl - Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, June 18

Sketch by Kalina Wilson

This month we will be returning to Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden! The garden offers beautiful landscaping, a lake, bridges/walkways, ducks and geese, and plenty of people. It'll be a lovely sketchcrawl, very much worth the effort to get there.

The challenge is that there's extremely limited parking (not even enough for our group alone) and no neighboring coffee house, so we are asking participants to find alternate transportation and take care of their beverage/breakfast needs before arrival. (They do have restrooms though.)

The closest bus line is TriMet Line 19, which can be transferred to from MAX Orange Line.


  • Please find a way to avoid parking at the venue! Bus, Rideshare (Uber/Lyft), bike, park in the neighborhood and walk in, or coordinate rideshare in our email list.
  • Entrance fee is $5.00
  • NOTE early meeting time -- I'd like the bulk of us to get inside at 10am so we can find a good space to talk and disperse, to avoid blocking up the entrance area. But if you arrive after 10am, please come on through and find us.
  • Take care of any food/drink needs early since there's nothing on site


Saturday, June 18

9:45am: Gather at the garden entrance
10:00am: Enter the gardens ($5 fee).
10:15am: Intros just inside the entrance -- we will be easy to find.
12:00pm: Sketchbook throwdown at same location

Sketch by Deb Rossi
Sketch by Deb Rossi

I look forward to seeing you at the Garden!

Saturday, May 7, 2022

SketchCrawl - West bank of Willamette River, north of the Pearl

Saturday, May 21

Let's go to a spot that we haven't been before (that I can remember) - the stretch of the left bank of the Willamette from the Fremont Bridge extending to the north.

There are newer apartments there, with old warehouses and docks nearby, scattered sculptures, river views, and, of course, a big honking bridge.

There's one coffee shop nearby, Cascadia Coffee Pub,  across from the Dockside, at NW 17th and Front.  Parking along Naito/Front is dicey, but there's street parking on the other side of the RR tracks, and a pay lot off Thurman.  The 16 has stops at 17th and at Thurman on Front/Naito, and the 24 and 26 stop at Raleigh, which is maybe a half-mile away.

  • 10am (or a little later, depending on bus time) meet under the Fremont Bridge, close to the river.  The closest intersection is Thurman/15th and Front/Naito.
  • Noon, meet again for an optional sketchbook throw-down, the same place if it's raining, or somewhere quieter if it isn't.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

SketchCrawl - Saturday, April 16 - Director Park

Let's take a break from doing our taxes (or celebrate having gotten them done) and meet at Director Park to sketch.

It's a couple of blocks west of the bus mall, so there are vast options for getting there by transit.  We won't meet in a coffee shop.  But you can pick up a caffeinated beverage on your way there at Flying Elephant across the street, Case Study a block to the west, or the Nordstroms coffee window or Starbucks a block to the east.

Andrea Matthews, 2014

10am - meet at the Teachers Fountain (or, if it's raining, under the canopy), for introductions

Noon - meet up again, for an optional sketchbook throw-down

Monday, February 21, 2022

SketchCrawl - Saturday, March 19, Waterfront and Cherry Blossoms

Sketch by Jessica, 2016 (see blog post)

We're feeling great about meeting again in March, just in time for our annual visit to the Waterfront to try to catch the cherry blossoms in bloom at the Japanese American Historical Plaza!  

Normally we meet at Floyd's coffee, but let's meet at the Plaza this year and keep it all outdoors for maximum safety as the omicron numbers continue to come down.

Floyd's will still be a great spot to grab a coffee or breakfast item on your way to the meet-up location (and to use the restroom!) 

Sketch by Vicky Porter, 2017 (see blog post)
10:00 am - Gather and do intros in the central square of the Japanese American Historical Plaza
(NW Couch and Naito Parkway, then head towards the water)

12:00 pm - Gather again at same location for optional sketchbook throwdown

Friday, December 10, 2021

December Sketchcrawl - Pioneer Courthouse Square, 12/18

Sketch by Ellie

For December, we'll go back to another long-time tradition of ours -- downtown's Pioneer Courthouse Square.  We meet at the tables outside Starbucks, where our options for sketching include the square itself, courthouse, holiday tree, weather vane, and people gathering for holiday performances taking place in the square starting at noon.

I have a special (very optional) request: wear your most colorful coats, scarves, and/or hats. Not only will this keep you cozy in the probably chilly outdoor seating area, but also anyone that includes you in their sketch will get to add a punch of color!

For this sketchcrawl we usually just stay put at those tables, but additional sheltered areas nearby that could easily be explored during the crawl include Pioneer Place Mall and Director Park.

Sketch by Ali Corbin

9:30-10: gather at the tables outside Starbucks, on the northwest corner overlooking the square

10-12: Sketch!

12: Sketchbook throwdown, optionally stay on to sketch or just enjoy the performances in the square

I hope to see you all for our last crawl of the year and perhaps chat about your art plans for 2022!

Sunday, December 5, 2021

How to Join a Sketchcrawl

Doing something for the first time is hard. You're not sure if you can. You don't know the right people. You are wondering what to bring or what to wear. Add in strangers and performance and it seems like a recipe for awkwardness.

The good news is that joining a sketchcrawl is easy. 

Showing up is first thing to do (and possibly the hardest.) If you can do that, everything else will just flow. And do show up on time/early. That's when people gather and talk informally- it's a good way to meet other sketchers. First timers are welcome.

There's no secret handshake or Urban Sketchers badge- your ticket is a piece of paper and a pencil. Look around for people carrying notebooks or backpacks and you'll know you've found us. Sidle up to a group, eavesdrop if you like, but don't be afraid to say hi, we're a nice bunch of people. It's that simple.  

As for materials, you can get started with the most useful and cheapest art materials: a Dixon Tigcongeroga #2 pencil and some white paper. (Many sketchers come with a notebook of mixed media paper, a pencil, some Micron pens, and a small watercolor set, but don't let your lack of art supplies stop you.)

After a critical mass has arrived, there's a brief time when we introduce ourselves, then disperse to sketch for about two hours. (Bring an extra layer of clothing or a hat, sitting still and drawing for a long time can be chilly.) Some people like sketch alone, sometimes I find that sketching with others lets me learn new techniques or is just more fun.

When the time is up, we have a "throw down,"where people put their notebooks out for others to see what they drew.

It sounds intimidating to put your artwork out for public viewing. Let me assure you that there is no more welcoming community than Urban Sketchers. The focus is always on what people like. Among our group, variety is valued. Participation and enthusiasm count. 

Sharing creates community: It gives people ideas about how to be better artists, it forms bonds of trust, and it's just fun to see.

So now that you know what a sketchcrawl is all about, won't you come out and join us in 2022?

Saturday, November 6, 2021

November Sketchcrawl - one last time at Lloyd Center, 11/20

Our last sketchcrawl before the pandemic shut us down was at the Lloyd Center.  Let's go there again for its swan song, before it's closed and turned into whatever dying malls become.

Kay French, Feb 2020

Even more stores have left the mall in the past year and a half, but the ice skating lessons are still scheduled, so there should be kids to sketch, even if shoppers are scarce.  And those up for a real challenge can do a one-point perspective of one of the arms of the mall.

Capitalism, CC BY 3.0
The Starbucks that we met at last time is closed now, but google tells me that there are other places to get caffeine nearby.  So let's have everyone manage their own beverage and meet at the SW entrance - the one with the pile of coins (inside or out, depending on the weather).

Saturday, November 20
Lloyd Center Mall -- SW Corner entrance near Capitalism statue

10am: Intros, then sketching
12pm: Gather at same location for sketchbook "throwdown"