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

Drawing Attention: Exhibitions, Books and Awards


Seoul Urban Sketchers formed 2 years ago, and is now meeting together twice a month to sketch Seoul’s old relics and new skyline. The group will have two exhibits this summer – both supported by the Seoul Foundation of Arts and Culture. "Seoul Urban Sketches" will be in Dasom Gallery in Songpa Library from June 26 to July 3, 2011 and Namsan Library Gallery from August 10 to August 16, 2011. USK Correspondent Byung Hwa Yoo thanks all for the hearty support and encouragement from Urban Sketcher followers and members, saying, “We’ll do our best for successful exhibits.”

Penang, Malaysia USK Correspondent Ch'ng Kiah Kiean will have a solo exhibition of sketches July 10-24 at the Galeri Seni Mutiara in Penang. In conjunction with the exhibition, he will publish his second book Line-line Journey, a compilation of recent Penang and travel sketches.

Urban Sketching Blogs/Groups

USK Philippines launched its new blog after beginning with its first sketchcrawl on May 21 in Manila. Janeil Arlegui says the group’s aim is to “really remind people again that sketching is the main way you can maximize your observations of things, people and places.” The group plans to have monthly sketch walks at different sites in Manila at first. Janeil reports that they’re already working on 2 exhibits, networking with people from the provinces for contributions of additional sketches.

The Seattle Urban Sketchers were invited by the Seattle Architecture Foundation to participate in their annual fundraiser – a model exhibit and Napkin Sketch Auction. Seattle sketchers donated framed sketches on napkins (yes, I said napkins!) to a silent auction and exhibit that will be up through July 24. Proceeds go to Seattle Architecture Foundation and also Urban Sketchers so if you’re in the Seattle area, take a look and bid on your favorite napkin! Napkins below by Gail Wong (left) and Beth Polusladkaia (right)

We welcome Urban Sketchers Cleveland as the newest blog to join the Urban Sketchers network. They'll be sketching all over Cleveland, OH, USA and its surround suburbs. We look forward to seeing Cleveland through their sketches!


USK founder and Seattle Sketcher Gabi Campanario’s sketches were honored for the second year in a row by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ Western Washington Professional Chapter). Gabi’s "South Park Loses a Lifeline" (pictured left) got 2nd Place in the category of Personalities Reporting. (pdf with full list of winners). Congrats Gabi!

New York City USK correspondent Veronica Lawlor was the nominee representing the United States in the recent Prix Canson 2011, sponsored by Canson Paper. The Prix Canson is an annual prize presented to an international artist whose works contribute to the position of contemporary drawing and works on paper in general. An exhibition of all the nominees’ work was held at the Hôtel de Sauroy, Paris from June 6 - June 19. Congratulations Veronica for being nominated for such a prestigious prize!

Boston USK Correspondent Fred Lynch just released a book of his drawings from Central Italy where he teaches each Summer as part of Montserrat College of Art's Summer Studies Program in Viterbo. Drawing Viterbo: Sketches from a Medieval City features many of Fred's favorite Italy drawings and shares some amusing stories of their creation. Many of the sketches in the book were featured first on our Urban Sketchers blog.

Kansas City USK Correspondent Cathy Johnson has a new book just out called Artist’s Journal Workshop. She included dozens of images as well as insights from 27 artists. Among those included are several other Urban Sketchers correspondents, including Lapin, Laura Frankstone, Danny Gregory, Nina Johansson, and Liz Steel. Because journaling is so important to Johnson (she’s been keeping diaries and journals for more than 40 years), she started a blog to continue the work of the book with the same 27 artists involved in the blog as co-authors and an open Artist’s Journal Workshop group on Facebook.

Have urban sketching news to share in Drawing Attention? Send fully written items with links (and graphics, if possible) to drawing attention at urbansketchers dot org.

Happy sketching,
Lisbeth Cort, member of the Whidbey Island Sketchers





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