Meet the Correspondent: Marina Grechanik > Tel-Aviv, Israel$show=/search/label/Marina%20Grechanik

"Sketching is one of my passions. I don't feel comfortable when I leave home without a sketchbook and some pens in my bag. I think that my way to put things in my memory is to draw them. And taking pictures isn't the same thing.

I live in a very dynamic surrounding — Israel is a warm country with warm weather and warm people. Of course, we have seashores, which calm us a little bit. I love to sit in a corner of some Tel-Aviv coffee shop and explore relationships: between people, their environment, between myself. All this unique local mix of cultures, languages and styles is always a great source for inspiration. You need to be fast, because, as I said, everything is very dynamic. But that's why I love it so much.

Sometimes, I look around, and I find some usual items like sugar bags or napkins. I use them in my drawings to show the atmosphere. Sometimes I draw directly on placemats."

• Marina's art on Flickr.
• Marina's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Tina Koyama > Seattle$show=/search/label/tina%20koyama

"The dictionary says that a hobby is “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation.” Although urban sketching certainly provides both pleasure and relaxation, I don’t think of it as my hobby. I think of it more as a way of life – something that has become such a normal part of my everydayness that it shapes how I view the world.

For most of my life I had both the fear of drawing as well as the desire to draw. In 2011, inspired by Gabi Campanario’s Seattle Sketcher column, I finally decided to overcome the fear. His drawings of Seattle – my birthplace and lifelong home – were of sights that I had seen many times, yet had never truly seen. I wanted to learn to see, and therefore experience, those locations (and any new ones that I travel to) more completely. Part 8 of the Urban Sketchers Manifesto, to “show the world, one drawing at a time,” has a flip side: Sketching enables me to see my own world, one drawing at a time.

In the last four years, it is not an exaggeration to say that Urban Sketchers has changed my life. I have met and sketched with many wonderful people around the globe, either at symposiums or during other travel, because the USk network brought us together. I sketch almost weekly with my local group, sharing sketches, art supplies and friendship. Even when I stay home and enjoy sketches online, I am still a part of that rich network, learning with every sketch about other people’s lives.

In May, my husband Greg and I went to France for the first time, and I sketched the Eiffel Tower. Sketching one of the world’s most famous icons felt like a dream come true – the ultimate in urban sketching. But although I can’t resist sketching world-famous icons whenever I’m fortunate enough to see them, for me, urban sketching is much more than that.

Urban sketching is a tree with its middle chopped away to accommodate Seattle’s ubiquitous power lines. It’s about a couple of women chatting over coffee, or about workers roofing the house next door. It’s about an excavator filling a hole where a cherry tree once stood. Or the Tibetan monastery I drive by frequently that I couldn’t resist because it’s bright orange. Urban sketching is a string band performing at a local farmers’ market – or perhaps in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Celebrating the mundane as well as the famous is what urban sketching is all about. My sketches are not necessarily about “special” moments; they are moments made special because I sketched them."

Tina has been editor of Drawing Attention since 2013 and now serves on the Urban Sketchers editorial board. See more of her sketches on her blog, on Flickr and on Instagram.

Meet the Correspondent: Pete Scully > Davis, Calif.$show=/search/label/Pete%20Scully

"I am from urban north London, but now live in urbane Davis California. I sketch, I write, sometimes do things and go places and my name is Pete.

When not Davis, I sketch Sacramento, San Francisco, London, or anywhere else I happen to be. I tend to erase people and cars from my cities, but I'm starting to get over this.

Davis: calm, old-fashioned, progressive, quirky, very very hot in the summer. I use micron and copic pens, with watercolour."

• Pete's blog.
• Pete's art on Flickr.

Meet the Correspondent: Suhita Shirodkar > San Jose, Calif.$show=/search/label/Suhita%20Shirodkar

"I was born in Mumbai (Bombay) and lived in different parts of India until I moved to San Jose, California, where I now live.

Travel inspires my art, but, traveling or not, I try to view the world around me as a traveller would; so whether I’m capturing a moment of calm on the banks of the Ganges in India, or sketching over coffee at my local coffee shop, I aim to look deeply, and with wonder, at both the everyday and the exotic, the old and the new.

I love color. My sketch kit consists of Extra Fine Sharpies (the fact that they bleed into the paper as soon as they touch it works really well for me—it forces me to work super-quick), a small set of Prismacolor pencils and a little watercolor travel set".

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

Fifth-grader John Woolley, 10, sketches beyond his years

'' S.F. GOURMET DOGS '' by John Woolley / 10 years old
"S.F. GOURMET DOGS," by John Woolley / 10 years old

Interview by Rob Carey
USk Kandern (Germany) correspondent [blog]

As a fifth-grade teacher who loves to draw, I am always interested when I see students of mine who show a certain talent and special interest in the arts. As a young boy growing up, my school papers were often covered with doodles and drawings, to the annoyance of my teachers. It is for this reason I often encourage my students to draw when they are finished with their work, so long as it's not in the borders of their school work, that is.

Recently, I have encountered a frequent contributor to the Urban Sketchers Flickr pool who shows amazing talent. He is only 10 years old, and his name is John Woolley.

A quick perusal of John's sketches reveals his pure love of drawing. He draws almost everything and anything, filling sketchbooks and journals with sketches of animals, cars, buildings, kitchen appliances, bongo drums, fire hydrants, and motorcycles. He even drew a tooth after he had lost it. After showing some of my students samples of John's sketches, they were amazed a boy their own age had such talent. His sense of proportion and perspective, and his use of cross-hatching and composition are exceptional.

Having grown up in California, John's sketches include scenes from Lake Tahoe, Balboa Park, San Francisco, and Yosemite. Living now in Temecula affords him the opportunity to sketch at local wineries and horse ranches. I recently interviewed John about his developing talent in art for Urban Sketchers, and he was excited for the opportunity.

'' TREFETHEN WINERY '' by John Woolley / 10 years old
"TREFETHEN WINERY," by John Woolley / 10 years old

Q. When did you first start drawing and why?
A. About a year or more ago I went into a backpacking store and found up on the counter a little stapled booklet called Moonlight Chronicles. The book was free so I grabbed one and began looking through the pages. I got so into it that I stapled my own booklet, called it Backyard Journals, and began flipping through and began writing and drawing about my daily life. That’s how it all began. Soon after buying more “Moonlight Chronicles” from Dan Price I sent him some of my drawings. He liked them a lot and wanted to put me in one of his Chronicles as guest artist. I ended up being in two of them, issues 66 and 68. I started to research more artists, began using different size moleskines and using all the different pens I could find. Then I started using watercolors and eventually ended up on Flickr.

Q. What locations do you like to draw?
A. Because I am so young it’s kind of hard for me to have my dad just drop me off to sit and draw by myself. My mom and dad do spend time with me drawing outside though. I draw while they walk around. I like all kinds of areas, cities, small towns, parks, zoo’s, the mountains.

Q. How did you find out about Urban Sketchers?
A. I’ve known about Urban Sketchers for awhile, but I never really got into it. I found out about them from my Flickr gallery. I put all of my art pieces on Flickr and then put them into groups. Urban Sketchers is one of the groups.

'' EUBIE IN CONCERT '' / New Orleans / by John Woolley / 10 years old
"EUBIE IN CONCERT," New Orleans, by John Woolley / 10 years old

Q. What are your favorite subjects to draw and how do you go about sketching them? What materials do you use?
A. I wouldn’t say I have a favorite subject to draw, but sometimes I’ll draw an item a couple of times, like maybe a pinecone, or a key, etc. When I sketch I’ll do it in a number of ways depending on what I am drawing. If it is something very detailed I’ll come in and I’ll finish one section first, then move onto the next, slowly building up the drawing. Then other ways I like to get the foundation down first and then fill in all the details. So I’ll use a number of different things to draw and paint with. I have lots of pens, microns, uni-balls, rapidographs, pitt pens and dip pens. Then I’ll color them in with watercolors or ink jar. You could say that I have a good sized studio that is filled with things. I like to draw and paint a lot of different things. I don’t have any favorite subjects.

Q. What artists or particular style of art most inspires you and why?
A. This would be hard to say. Most of the artists I’ve come to know are very good, generally people who can go supreme in detail like Mattias Adolfson and Tommy Kane. Then the other artists like Leslie Brenden ( GunnerGirl ), Dan Price and Tim Cantor amaze me just the same. Very detailed. Ralph Mcquarrie was the guy that did the Star Wars and he is a big inspiration for me.

Q. What goals do you have for yourself with art? What do you picture yourself doing in the future with your talent for art?
A. I’d like to see how many sketchbooks I can make over the years. I would like to be successful and be able to do my art professionally so that I have a nice life. I would like to be a famous artist one day if possible.

" SWIMMING POOL" by John Woolley / 4th grade.
"SWIMMING POOL," by John Woolley / 4th grade

Q. What could you tell us about your family?
A. My mom is an accountant and she likes to do arts and crafts. My dad works at home. He is a consultant for buyers and sellers around the world who want to sell or buy land in the Fiji Islands. He likes music and plays the piano and drums. The only other person in my house is me.

Q. Who has motivated you to draw?
A. My friend Dan Price. My Mom. My Dad. Tommy Kane. Mattias Adolfson. Leslie Brendon. Ralph Mcquarrie. Tim Cantor. Gay Kraeger, Capt. Elaine, Socaloca, Hope Carr, Margaret Storer Roche, Wendi Wells, Rymann, all my Aunts and Uncles, Grandma and Grandpa.

Q. What other interests do you have besides art?
A. I like percussion instruments so I have a set of Conga’s and Bongo’s that I like to play. I like playing pool. I also have over 200 magic tricks. I started buying them and working on them when I was three years old. I like “sleight of hand” using sponge balls, coins and cards. I like to swim in the ocean and in our pool. I like to hike also. We hike a lot in the mountains.

• John's art on flickr.
• John's Backyard Journals.





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