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

Getting a bite to eat in Istanbul

Food is an important part of Turkish culture, and in Istanbul, you are never far from a tasty place to sit down and enjoy a meal. From tables piled high with various cheeses, olives and spreads for breakfast, to a soup or kebab for dinner, there is no shortage of ways to fill your belly— and while you're at it, the sketching opportunities are endless.

The man in the above sketch was behind the counter of a börek salonu, a savoury pastry salon. He left before I could colour in the drawing, and though his coworker ran off with my sketchbook to show a host of people, I am unsure if he ever saw it himself.

Now, this man is the most dedicated and serious waiter in all of Turkey. He works over at an Anatolian breakfast joint which I frequent, intensely serving patrons copper dishes of eggs and sausage, and making certain that you understand the olive oil is ONLY for use in the salad— nothing else. After nearly two years, I finally gathered up the courage to sketch him, much to the delight of his fellow waiters. Upon seeing his portrait, he remained as stoic as ever, and continued to fiercely wipe down a table.

And finally, this man man was simply a diner at one of my favourite dürüm places, where perfectly seasoned kebabs are wrapped up snuggly with tomatoes, onions and spices in a flat bread. The guy was barely conscious, and made for an interesting subject.

By the way— since my return to Nepal this summer I've been using various sizes of Fabriano Venezia sketchbooks, and the paper is a dream with watercolour and ink. I was able to fully abuse the book with drippy washes during a monsoon, and everything held together. If you are partial to watercolours, ink or pencil, try these books out. They come in a variety of sizes— I now have three! My Nepal book is a little bigger than A4, and in order to scan my sketches, I have to piece together about four to six scans of each spread. This has been taking me since August to accomplish—I hope to share them soon!

Visit my blog Harika for more sketches, stories and photos!



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