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

Train sketching in the North East

Things are a bit mad here and just to make a busy period even more fun, towards the end of last week, my computer decided to take its ball home and refused to start. We got it sorted eventually, but by then I was away to Leeds, to start a week of storytelling and drawing events with children.

I took a train straight from Leeds to Durham, where John had booked me into a hotel, ready for a couple of days doing the Northern Children's Book Festival in the North East. 

Actually, neither of my festival events were in Durham, but my first day was in Middlesbrough, while day two was in North Tyneside: a fair way apart. Durham is about half way between, so I made that my base. I didn't want to trail my suitcase around different hotels: all that packing and unpacking and repacking, when I'm already pretty zonked from the children's sessions - just too grim. 

So I was up early again the following morning and back on the train to Middlesborough: plenty of opportunities for more train sketching, as you can see.

My festival events all went really well: 3 sessions a day, each with up to 60 children, all between 4 and 7. 
One group of 60 all arrived in pyjamas, including their teachers - I felt very overdressed! 

Between the storytellings there were frantic book-signing sessions, trying to draw a little picture in each, in time for the first batch of children to get back to school and the next lot to arrive! 

Pretty full-on, but excellent fun. I was full of beans right up to the moment I got back to my hotel each evening. It's like pulling a plug: I collapsed in a heap. Not even energy for food sketching! 

I was really pleased to be home come Friday night and John took me out for a cocktail and a curry as a reward. 

Mind you, I was up early again the very next morning, to take a train to Hull for our November SketchCrawl, but that's another story...



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