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

Urban Sketchers 2011 Year in Review

Lisbon hosts the world: II International Urban Sketching Symposium

Nearly 200 sketchers from more than 20 countries gathered in Lisbon in July for Urban Sketchers' second international sketching symposium. Three days of intense sketching workshops, lectures, panels and sketch outings led by a diverse team of international presenters with backgrounds in art left participants inspired for another year.

Symposium participants received sketchbooks and art supplies provided by Moleskine, Stillman & Bim, and Canson. Local media took notice in the Metro newspaper and several TV broadcasts.

(sketch above by Pete Scully)

In the media

In 2011, media outlets around the world continued to draw attention to the art of urban sketching and its practitioners. Our blog correspondents and members were featured on TV and radio broadcasts and in newspapers and magazines, including the following as well as numerous arts-related blogs:

By the numbers

Since our launch in November of 2008, volunteer correspondents have published nearly 8,000 entries on the Urban Sketchers blog. More than 7,000 readers subscribe to our blog feed.

The urban sketching community has grown to 4,780 Urban Sketchers flickr group members and 15,769 Urban Sketchers Facebook fans.

Regional Blogs

Drawing together is part of our USK manifesto, and our regional blogs have grown tremendously in 2011, thanks to the initiative of many urban sketchers who have started sketching groups where they live. This year, USK blogs were added in Basel, Berlin, Cleveland, Paris, Brasil, Israel, Philippines and Portugal-Beiras, plus Urban Sketchers Sydney became Urban Sketchers Australia. Our first USK high school blog was launched when Amino Urban Sketchers came online this year.

These new groups join 11 other country, 11 city or state, and 2 other regional USK blogs that are already active. A full list of USK blogs can be found on the sidebar of our Urban Sketchers website.

Several USK groups have their own Facebook pages or flickr groups as well.

Group exhibits

The work of Urban Sketchers correspondents, groups and members has been featured in group exhibits featuring urban sketching around the world this year, including:
  • Manila Metropolitan Museum


Several Urban Sketchers blog correspondents, members and groups published books this year, including: Drawing Viterbo: Sketches from a Medieval City by Fred Lynch (USK Boston), Artist's Journal Workshop by Cathy Johnson (USK Kansis City), Top Drawers on Tour: Italy by the Eugene, Oregon sketch group called The Top Drawers, One Drawing a Day: A 6-Week Course Exploring Creativity with Illustration & Mixed Media by NYC USK correspondent Veronica Lawlor, Urban Sketchers Singapore, Volume 1 (photo, left) by USK Singapore and La Sagrada Familia de Gaudi by USK Barcelona correspondent Lapin and 2 other editors.


This year Urban Sketchers became a United States 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Here's a breakdown of our nonprofit's 2011 finances as of December 19, 2011.

  • Google Ads: $877
  • Blog Ads: $1,359
  • Symposium registrations: $38,668
  • Symposium silent auction: $1,789
  • Donations: $532
  • Give a little, Get a sketch fundraiser: $2,469
  • Seattle USK/Dalvero Workshop: $595
  • Seattle Storefronts grant net income: $360
  • Total: $46,650
  • Symposium scholarships: $3,599
  • Symposium expenses (space rental, instructors' travel, lodging and fees, promotional materials, site hosting, etc.): $37,053
  • Miscellaneous expenses (post office post, flickr account, shipping, wire transfer fees, etc.): $224
  • Total: $40,876
Balance as of December 19, 2011: $12,771

Board of Directors

We are also pleased to announce our board of directors that will serve for the next two years:

Elizabeth Alley (Memphis, USA)
Tia Boon Sim (Singapore)
Matthew Brehm (Idaho, USA)
Gabi Campanario (Seattle, USA)
Simonetta Capecchi (Naples, Italy)
Jason Das (NYC, USA)
Orling Dominguez (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
James Hobbs (London, UK)
Marc Holmes (Montreal, Canada)
Julian Fassel aka Lapin (Barcelona, Spain)
Isabel Fiadeiro (Nouakchott, Mauritania)
Omar Jaramillo (Berlin, Germany)
Cathy Johnson (Kansas City, USA)
Nina Johansson (Stockholm, Sweden)
Veronica Lawlor (NYC, USA)
Mário Linhares (Lisbon, Portugal)
José Louro (Lisbon, Portugal)
Kim Marohn (Paris, France)
Víctor Martínez Escámez, aka Swasky (Barcelona, Spain)
Shiho Nakaza (Los Angeles, USA)
Jim Richards (Fort Worth, USA)
Luis Ruiz (Málaga, Spain)
Cristina Urdiales (Málaga, Spain)
Paul Wang (Singapore)
Steven White (Virginia, USA)

Thank you to all urban sketchers across the globe who enjoy and share the art of urban sketching everyday. Happy New Year!

(Year-end report compiled by Gabi Campanario and Lisbeth Cort).





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