The above piece of paper was my first encounter with graphic recording and the most unexpected gift I ever received at work. Hannah Kordes, an art student in Linz and member of the “spring 2011” group for a sustainable town, attended the “Reform your city” seminar of Südwind, 11 January 2013. It was beyond my attention that she, or anybody else, drew what was discussed that day. One week later, she came in the office and asked if I could do something with the record she had made. I was speechless and honoured. Hannah was OK to give us the rights to publish it, as long as her name was mentioned. The image is still decorating the website banner of the Südwind homepage, now, six years later. As present as it is, it is a good start to celebrate Urban Sketchers.

Felix Scheinberger really got my hooked after having read is book “dare to sketch”, which is absolutely fabulous in putting a pencil in your hand. His style is wild and easy, which gives you the feeling you are able to reach his level of grasping reality as well. For me, he is the king! Pieter Rotthier, my nephew and fellow university student in Antwerp, already draws his entire life. I felt the urge to copy his self made comics each time when we came back home from visiting him, until I understood I would never be able to catch up with his story telling abilities. Martin Staufner is not the guy taking his sketch book out to fit the streets, he assembles layers of color, pastes lines over a fracture of a city scene. I bought his book “Strich trifft Fläche” because of the fascinating cover, and found out afterwards that he lives in the surroundings of Linz. Maybe we´ll shake hands once. Other artists that keep my desire for sketching up are Christoph Niemann and Craig Thompson. Christophe combines small scale sketching with found objects, creating three dimensional loopholes in the perception of reality. He truly is a clever magician. Craig Thompson is a huge artist. Although he is not an urban sketcher, he drives my attention towards day to day situations by poetic and elegant drawings.

If you want to find urban sketchers, there is one gateway to go: www.urbansketchers.org. It is a world wide collective of contributors who live the principles of their shared manifesto. They commit to only draw things within their direct sight. Their drawings tell the story of their surroundings, the places where they live and travel. They are allowed to use any media and style, as long as they share one drawing at a time. The two Belgian contributors on urbansketchers have shard amazing work. Jeroen Jannsen lives in Gent and calls himself the slowest journalist of the country. I was impressed by his work on the last inhabitants of the forsaken village of Doel. Gérard Michel lives in Liège and has a formal, accurate style of depicting street scenery. His drawing are architectural studies of houses and villages of Belgium and Portugal. No registered contributors in Austria, although some people tried to set up a scenius of urban sketchers in Linz, grouped around the illustrator´s network Lohnzeichnergilde OÖ. Since 2015, three Viennese women visit caffee houses and museums with their pencils and grasp faces and gestures of the guests. Their work can be seen on the wordpress page of the Vienna urban sketchers.