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".
Blog
Flickr

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

My many Indias: A week in Bombay

I spent a week in Bombay, the city where I was born. It was such a luxury to just wander around all day, stop when I wanted and settle down to as long or short a sketch as I wanted. Here are a few pieces from that week:

The iconic Gateway of India, built to welcome King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. Completed in 1924. By Indian standards, a very 'recent' monument. 

Gateway of India, Bombay

The Rajabhai Clocktower, a wee bit older, completed in 1878. What I love about these monuments is that they are at the very center of life even today. The clocktower stands by a large ground where there are hundreds of cricket matches being played simultaneously, at almost anytime of the day. The strange curved modern building behind the tower is the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Rajabhai Clocktower again.

Built around the same time is the huge railway terminal, Victoria Terminus. If the name sounds familiar it might be because this is one of the sites of an awful terrorist attack on Bombay. 2 million people (yes I checked my figures) pass through this station everyday.
VT Terminus

St. Thomas Cathedral at Hornimon Circle.  You're stepping back to 1718 now. Outside the church is about as noisy as it gets. Inside, it is shockingly peaceful. And the walls are lined with eulogies to fallen British soldiers.

St Thomas Cathedral, Hornimon Circle

This is Crawford Market, built in 1869 and until recently, THE wholesale fruit and vegetable market for the huge metropolis of India. I was served many cups of hot chai as I sat and sketched this piece.

Osmanbhai holds up a pomegranate.

This is Khotachiwadi, an old neighborhood in Bombay, that, miraculously, hasn't changed much in decades. It has narrow lanes and old Portuguese style homes. I visited on the last day of Sankranti, the kite-flying festival. Kite flying in India is a highly competitive sport. Kite string is coated with a mixture of rice paste and very finely powdered glass, and the whole purpose of kite flying to get your kite high up in the sky and then cut down another kite with your kitestring. This guy on the balcony to the left got 2 kites up in the sky while I was sketching, but both got cut down. I am told my dad was an expert kite flyer when he was a kid. And a ruthless kite cutter. He lived right by here, and as I watched grown men and little kids fly kite, it was not hard to imagine him running around the narrow lanes, flying his kite...

Khotachi Wadi on Sankranti Day

I have so many sketches from Bombay, I have 5 or 6 blogposts on my site sketchaway.wordpress.com about them.

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