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

Diary of a Dodgy SketchCrawl Organiser: Squished Buses and Nearly Squished Children...

For this month's SketchCrawl in my region, I had an idea for something a bit different: a bus-hop. The plan was to buy a Derbyshire Day Ticket, then take the no. 65 from Sheffield's bus station out into the countryside ajoining the city, stopping off at various little villages for 1hr drawing stints. Sketchers who lived out that way, could meet our bus along the route and join in - great idea or what? 

I spent ages with the timetable, trying to work out a schedule: Sheffield to Eyam, to Foolow, to Buxton, to Tideswell, back to Sheffield. It was very nearly a disaster: at the last minute, I realised our final bus home didn't run on a Saturday. Oops. Hasty change-round: miss out Tideswell and get the earlier bus back (note to self: always check out funny little symbols on timetables...). Sorted. 

But fate had her mischievous eye on me. On the very morning of departure, my careful plans began going skew-whiff once again. Although the bus company advertised that we could buy the Derbyshire ticket in Sheffield, the bus driver's computerised ticket machine wouldn't let him sell it to us until we crossed the border into Derbyshire! 

It was lucky that only the computer was a job's-worth: the driver was nice (and a little embarrassed). He agreed to let all 18 of us get on without tickets and let us pay once we got to Eyam, our first jumping-off point.

We all trouped up to the top deck, like kids on a school trip. We had intended to draw on the bus and I did manage a couple, but it was INCREDIBLY bumpy, so I gave up. It didn't matter - it was a glorious day and we soon left the city behind. I was delighted with the large turn-out, especially as we were meeting another set of people at Eyam and more at Buxton. It was going to be great. Then...

...the bus stopped. A moment later, the driver poked his head up the stairs. 
'Sorry folks,' he said, 'but you won't be going to Eyam. I've just heard there's a tree across the road - we are taking a diversion along the main road straight to Tideswell.'

This was bad enough news: not onl
y were we no longer supposed to be stopping in Tideswell, but we would miss two other sketching stops, both Eyam and Foolow, which we were now going to by-pass. Worse still, there were 4 more sketchers expecting us to arrive in Eyam in less than 5 minutes! 

Someone pulled out a map: if we got off at the next stop, just before the anti-tree diversion kicked in, we could walk up the hill to Eyam in about 10 minutes. Disaster averted, again.

It took a while to get off the bus: 18 tickets had to be bought. We then trudged up the pavement-free, country road, trying to prevent the 3 young children in the party from getting squished by traffic, until at last we reached the village and found our friends. Time to draw. 

Except... with the children, the 10 minute walk had taken 20 minutes and, since we had to assume we'd have to walk back down again to get our next bus, that used up most of our hour's sketching time. My already dented schedule crashed about me on the ground.

We had a conflab. We decided to miss out our 2nd stop, the pretty village of Foolow, and get the bus-after-next straight to Buxton. That bought us an extra hour to draw in Eyam (the village famous for introducing the plague to England via an imported bolt of contaminated cloth). I bought coffee in a cafe to steady my frayed nerves and got out my sketchbook.

It was a good job we noticed the bus go by. We no longer wanted to catch that one, but it meant we didn't have to walk back down the hill for the next one. The tree must be gone from the road. Things were looking up.

At 12.10, all 22 of us were standing at the bus stop in a virtually deserted Eyam. 12.15 came and the bus was now late. I was getting a bit twitchy. 

Then a massive tow truck trundled by with a no. 65 bus strapped to its back: a 65 bus with its roof caved in! My heart sank. Then I realised it was travelling the other way - this bus must be the reason the tree had been in the road in the first place. 

When we got to Buxton (with quite a sign of relief), we met 3 more sketchers. They took us to a cafe for some lunch, then we walked into the older part of town to draw. I found a sunny spot on the pavement opposite Buxton Opera House and relaxed with my watercolour pencils. I was half way through this drawing, when a woman stopped in front of me. 'Excuse me, but do you illustrate children's books?'

Now, I am not used to being recognised in the street, so I was quite chuffed. It turned out she had seen me 2 years ago, doing a children's festival event in Huddersfield. 'I work at a school there,' she said. 'Can I book you to come and visit us?'. I have never been offered a job whilst sitting on the pavement like a tramp before!

We made the 3 o'clock bus back to Sheffield without further mishap. It was, if anything, even bumpier than the previous ones, so the drawing games I had planned for the long journey home were unfortunately a non-starter. Ah well. More chatting.

People got off along the way and so a much-reduced band of SketchCrawlers crossed the road from the bus station and headed into The Sheffield Tap to share the sketchbooks. 

I have to say, it wasn't quite the day I had envisaged, but everyone said they had a good time anyway and at least I got them all home in one piece. Despite spending more time on the buses than in the villages, I can see now that I managed a fair bit of sketching. So, success of sorts.





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