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: Around the World Sketching News

USK Symposium Wrap-up

Nearly 200 sketchers from more than 20 countries gathered in Lisbon from July 21-23 for the II International Urban Sketching Symposium. Three days of intense sketching workshops and lectures left the enthusiastic group with enough inspiration to draw for at last another year.

Local media took notice of our presence on live TV broadcasts and in newspaper articles, including Metro which featured a sketch by Lisbon's Filipe Leal da Faria on the its cover. Here are some links to great TV coverage about the symposium by TVI 24, RTP, and Renascença.

Symposium Correspondent

Our Sao Paulo correspondent, Joao Pinheiro (right), received an Urban Sketchers scholarship to travel to Lisbon and report on the Symposium experience as it happened. You can see and read his dispatches here in Portuguese and English.

From Blog to Book!

The Symposium closed with the announcement of our first book! The Art of Urban Sketching, a 320-page volume with more than 600 sketches from 55 cities around the globe. The book will come out next February and will feature sketches and drawing tips by correspondents of the Urban Sketchers blog and some contributors to the USK flickr group. It is being published by Quarry Books, an imprint of Rockport Publishers. You can pre-order your copy now on Amazon.

Sharing Symposium News

Symposium sketches by USK member James Richard (Fort Worth, TX) were highlighted on Land8, the largest blog catering to landscape architecture professionals, academics and students around the world. Jim said he "hopes the post encourages more landscape architects to get involved in USK and, more importantly, to DRAW!"

News from USK Groups Around the Globe

Sao Paulo-based sketchers Eduardo Bajzek, Joao Pinheiro and Juliana Russo just launched a new USK blog, Urban Sketchers Brasil. In their welcome post they make a passionate call to all sketchers is Brazil, saying: Brazilian designers, obsessive artists who portrait everyday life, come join us in this endeavor, bring along your sketchbooks and invade the streets of this huge Brazil. We have much work ahead, so many things to portray."

USK Correspondent Omar Jaramillo has started a group for urban sketchers on CouchSurfing. This group is open to everybody - sketchers and non-sketchers - who want to support Urban Sketchers traveling in their region, would like to meet people to sketch together, or would like to invite sketchers to draw in their city or town.

Seattle Urban Sketchers will be displaying original sketchbooks from now until the end of the year in a storefront located on Thomas between Terry and Boren in South Lake Union thanks to a grant from Storefronts Seattle. The grant included free rental of the space for 6 months and $500 to cover costs of display. Here's a post on their blog covering the installation day (left).

Urban Sketching in the Media

The August 8 issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer include a feature story (right) written by Augusto "Toti" Villalon, a heritage conservation architect and writer, about urban sketching and Urban Sketchers Philippines. The article used sketches of some Manila scenes from USK-PH members Buz Walker-Teach, Carlo Martinez and Janeil Arlegui.

Manfred Schloesser and other Urban Sketchers Bremen were filmed by a German TV team on one of their recent sketch outings in Oldenburg. Have a look below.

St. Louis, Missouri USK member Michael Anderson was featured on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's website His son Joel shot and edited the video of Michael drawing the statue of baseball legend Stan "The Man" Musial. The statue is a popular "meet me" place at the entrance of Busch Stadium, home of the Major League Baseball team, St. Louis Cardinals.


San Antonio, TX USK Correspondent Paul Heaston has a great exhibit of his sketches at the ECU Art Department in Ada, Oklahoma. Go see it if you are in the area!

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

Happy sketching,

Lisbeth Cort, member of Whidbey Island Sketchers





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