Artists from around the world will bring their tools and sketchbooks to the Bay Area this weekend for a sketchcrawl that will take participants on a journey from Berkeley to San Francisco and finally Oakland.
Motivation for the Bay Area event comes from Jim Bumgarner, a member of Urban Sketchers, a network of artists around the world who draw the cities where they live and where they travel.
Bumgarner decided not to attend the Fourth International Urban Sketching Symposium taking place this week in Barcelona, Spain, which motivated him to create an alternative event: the first West Coast Urban Sketchers' Sketchcrawl.
The weekend will kick off on Friday in Berkeley, where artists will meet one another and sketch if they so choose. Then, on Saturday morning, the group will head to the Ferry Building in San Francisco to sketch again. Finally, on Sunday, artists will finish up at Lake Merritt in Oakland.
"This just enriches the lives of anybody involved," Bumgarner said. "I think art has this wonderful tendency to enhance the lives of everybody if they are so inclined and accepting of that concept."
Bumgarner, who lives in Washington state, has been working with the Urban Sketchers San Francisco Bay Area group to put together the event. More than 100 people from around the world have indicated that they will attend the event, Bumgarner said.
The event is free and open to anyone who has a pencil and a piece of paper, regardless of skill level.
Sketchcrawls originated about 10 years ago in San Francisco by Pixar artist Enrico Casarosa. They are held worldwide every four months, and the 40th World Wide SketchCrawl will take place Saturday.
Originally, Bumgarner's plan was only to sketch in San Francisco, as part of the larger sketchcrawl happening worldwide. However, soon after, members of the Urban Sketchers San Francisco Bay Area group also decided to add the Oakland Lake Merritt Draws event.
"The people in our group who live in Oakland wanted to add Lake Merritt for the third day," said Jana Bouc, administrator of the Urban Sketchers San Francisco Bay Area group. "It just seemed like a good way to cover the Bay Area. A little in Berkeley, a little in San Francisco and a little in Oakland."
Members of the San Francisco Bay Area group also organized a pre-sketchcrawl event last week in Oakland, in which guest speakers discussed the history of Lake Merritt and members of the group showed off their sketches to the local community.
"I'm really excited to be getting back into art and trying to bring it back into my daily life," said Debora Gordon, an Oakland resident who attended the pre-sketchcrawl. "I like the idea of doing a sketch, then moving to a new location and doing a new sketch."
Some members of Urban Sketchers said they hope the sketchcrawl will draw a large number of artists, professional or not.
"One of the things we really stress is that drawing and art isn't reserved for a certain group of people who have had formal training in it," said Sonia Tamez, member of Urban Sketchers and an organizer of the sketchcrawl. "Everybody can draw, and everybody contributes to drawing and seeing the world around them."
Friday: Meet 5 p.m. at the Golden Bear Inn, 1620 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. Artists who arrive early can gather at 3 p.m. to sketch in and around the surrounding neighborhood in Berkeley.
Saturday: Meet 10 a.m. on the large traffic island in front of the Ferry Building, 1 Sausalito, in San Francisco. Sharing at 4 p.m.
Sunday: Meet 10 a.m. at the Camron-Stanford House, 1418 Lakeside Drive, in Oakland, to get a list of suggested drawing spots that highlight Lake Merritt's cultural and natural resources. Groups will meet at 1 p.m. at the Camron-Stanford House to share sketches.