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

Finally, a little report form Workshop J, Barcelona Perspectives

A couple of months ago, I was so happy to hear that I was going to be a teacher again at an Urban Sketching Symposium, this time in Barcelona, Spain. Arno Hartmann and I, we did a workshop proposal about drawing architecture in perspectives. Fortunately, our workshop proposal was elected to be a symposium lesson.

Now the real work began. We had to think about where our workshop was supposed to happen. We wanted to chose a place where a simple building could be seen and drawn separately without touching any other buildings in order to be able to teach perspective in a way we wanted it. Another aim was to draw not any architecture, but to draw a building with a certain meaning. After a while of debating, we chose the so called Barcelona Pavillion as the main subject for our workshop.

The Barcelona Pavilion (also known as Mies Pavilion or German Pavilion) was the German contribution for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, an architect from Germany who already caused sensation with minimalist housing architecture, was awarded the design of the pavilion. With its simple form, the spectecular use of extravagant materials and basic spatial elements of modern archicture (roofs, walls, pillars, glass), the Barcelona Pavilion demonstrates perfectly Mies’ idea of the flowing space. The building is silhouetted heavily against most of the other pavilions of the 1929 exposition.

As it was only a temporary building for the nine months of the exposition period, it was torn down after the show. From then on, it only existed through a couple of photos and so it could only be perceived through this kind of communication medium. Over the decades, it had become an icon for moderist archiecture; even the chairs that Mies created for the pavilion have a become a classic in the history of chair design. During the 1980s, architects and urban planners Cristian Circi, Fernando Ramos and Ignasi de Solà-Morales from Barcelona had the idea of a reconstruction true to the original pavilion. They rebuilt it on the original site (old basements were found in the ground) and established the former layout using drawings and those photos that showed also materials, furniture and proportions. Today, the pavilion is considered an accessible copy of the archetype.

Barcelona Pavillion 3

Fortunately, in these days we are able to visit this icon of modern architecture by ourselves and make our own experience with it. We do this with all of our senses, but we were there to do architectural drawings which means we perceived the architecture and produce individual drawings of it. But, Arno and I, we didn't expect how tricky it would be draw the pavillion correctly. Before the workshop, we did some trial and error drawings of it and we realized how difficult it is to transform the proportions of the building correctly onto the paper. We felt all the more fortunate for seeing what our participants did during our workshop!

One unpleasant thing that we didn't recognize before was the fact that our workshop was the farthest of all workshops from the CCCB, where the meeting of the symposium was. So we lost about 30 minutes each day to get to the pavillion - still a good chance to get to know our participants. We also shared our lecture notes before the metro ride.

During all three days of the symposium, we had workshops in the morning session. We were about 12 to 15 people (which is perfect for a group size with two instructors) each day. Due to the organization team of the BCN symspoisum, we could also enter the pavillion for free and draw inside. We also had an excellent interpreter, Jenny Adam from Germany, who helped us to commmunicate with the locals. I hope our workshops helped the sketchers to complete their skills and their thoughts about architecture and the display of it.

I felt so enriched to meet all those great people from our workshops seeing how they interpreted architecture in their individual way. And of, cource, any other participant, instructor, organizer etc. from the BCN symposium. I had a great time! Here's a video documentation of the workshops where you can see some results of Barcelona Perspectives in the end:

by Florian Afflerbach





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