Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

Meet the correspondents: BERKELEY, California > Gary Amaro

"The Snail Circus taught me a lesson. Afternoon at an open air café under the canopies and among the barber chairs, Christmas lights, and cactus flowers, two young kids charging admission to their “performing” snails while a third flipped through pages of a heavy phone book like she was about to preach a sermon. One of those magic moments and me without paper or pencil.

Now I carry a sketchbook and a handful of pencils and brushes with me wherever I go, which is not to say that I can always make time to draw what catches my eye, but at least I’m prepared. Observational drawing is a constant practice and a kind of meditation.

I’m interested in history and a sense of local color and place, how cities and towns move through time, and the ghosts of their past: the classical, the monumental, the ornate, the rustic, the repurposed, the industrial, the functional, the natural, the ramshackle, the abandoned. Portraits and landscapes alike, I see my sketches as fragments of stories.

I live in the East Bay, working as a concept and storyboard artist in the video game industry and teaching comics storytelling at Academy of Art University. I sketch all over Northern California. Look for posts by me from San Francisco, the Sonoma Coast, the Sacramento River delta, the gold country foothills, and wherever else I roam. Also, expect me to stretch the “urban” factor with views from the rural fringes, the roadsides, and points between the places on the maps.

I'm amazed and impressed by the work on Urban Sketchers, and pleased to be part of this community."

• Gary's blog.



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