Laurie Wigham started the SF Sketchers Meetup two years ago after deciding to focus on doing more art on paper, without a computer. After 30 years as a graphic designer, she found herself drawn to creating offline, “without an undo button.” When her friends didn’t want to sketch with her, SF Sketchers was born. Laurie’s Meetup format is simple. Every event begins with three hours of sketching followed by a half an hour of show-and-tell at a local café. They follow a strict “no-criticism” rule and have a great time.
Over two years, Laurie’s community has grown to more than 900 members and she’s organized more than 150 events. When it comes to organizing, Laurie is a pro. Instead of trying to tell her story ourselves, we’re bringing her tried and true advice straight to you below, in her own words:
On June 2, Apple changed the lives of thousands of developers. At the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage and introduced a brand new programing language called Swift. Over the next few weeks, more than 50 Meetups dedicated to learning about Swift sprung up around the world.
One of those Meetups was the Swift Language User Group in Silicon Valley. Arwa Jumkawala, a co-organizer of the Meetup, was “glued to the screen” during Apple’s keynote. As soon as the event wrapped up, she teamed up with a few developer friends and hopped on Meetup to start her group.
Christian, a native of Paris, joined the Los Angeles French Quarter Meetup back in 2003. In 2008, at the Meetup’s annual Christmas dinner, the previous Organizer announced that she was stepping down. She also announced that Christian would be taking over in her place. The announcement was news to Christian. “I was really, really caught by surprise,” he recalls, laughing. Despite the unconventional handover, Christian embraced the opportunity. “When I was just a member of the group I organized a weekly Meetup that became very popular – every Sunday we’d have lunch and bike ride on the beach. So I already knew how the group functioned and how to get people together. When she said that I was going to be the Organizer I said ‘no problem.’”