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

Drawing Attention – December 2013

Urban Sketchers in Action

Murray Dewhurst of New Zealand reports that a new Urban Sketchers group has formed in the land of Kiwis: “Aotearoa, a Maori word meaning ‘the land of the long white cloud,’ is also called ‘The Shaky Isles,’ or more commonly, ‘New Zealand.’ Whatever you call our country, you can take some joy in the knowledge that it has finally grown its own Urban Sketchers group: Urban Sketchers Aotearoa.

“We are a collection of hardy sketchers spread randomly amongst numerous volcanic islands separated by treacherous waters and long winding gravel roads, where people happily drive on the wrong side of the road whilst negotiating flocks of flightless Kiwi and Moa. In this arduous frontier landscape, sketchers work furiously in an attempt to draw everything and anything, not just our old colonial buildings, lest some rampant earthquake should destroy it all forever. Check us out before we disappear beneath the Pacific Rim of Fire.”

Murray also mentions that the publication Journey Magazine published his article about an endurance mountain bike race he and his team participated in. “I had quite a lot of fun sketching soaked, exhausted cyclists in the rain in between my race laps,” he said.

Diane Perin Hock, Phil McDonel and Richard Sheppardin are excited about the formation of the brand new group, Urban Sketchers North Bay. “This area of California is so beautiful and has so many wonderful sites to sketch. I’m delighted to be part of a group dedicated to sketching it and sharing it with the world,” Diane said.

Girona Urban Sketchers are gathering at the Col.leccio d’Automomobils Salvador Claret museum of classic cars Dec. 21. Check out their blog and Flickr group after that date to see their sketches of classy old autos.

Sketchers in Vancouver, British Columbia, are enthusiastically posting their sketches on the Vancouver Urban Sketchers blog.

Tim Richardson reports that a new Urban Sketchers group has just formed in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Their second sketch crawl is planned for Dec. 7, and they will be posting their sketches on Flickr and Facebook, with a blog forthcoming soon. “Quite a few excellent local artists and illustrators are in the group,” Tim said.

Don Walls and 69 other Spokane, Washington, sketchers have gotten out their sketchbooks together weekly 41 times since February. However, they don’t limit themselves to urban sketching. “We don’t post on USK because we are a diversified group and are unable stick to the USK guidelines,” Don said. “We are now doing a lot of indoor tabletop sketches with still life and such.”

Our hearts go out to residents of the Philippines who are recovering from the devastating typhoon there last month. Urban sketchers post sketches on their 600-member Facebook page and their blog

Members of Urban Sketchers Portugal are gearing up for the 47th meeting of Diários Gráficos (Sketchbook Journals) on Dec. 7. 

Urban sketcher Christine Deschamps’ blog reveals that in November she participated in Rendezvous Carnet deVoyage, the world’s largest travel sketchbook festival, where she was happily reunited with other urban sketchers. The event takes place annually in Clermont-Ferrand, France. 

Hot Off the Press

Scott Wilson's book of Tombow marker sketches.

Urban sketcher Scott Wilson has published a book called A Pen Full of Light, in which he shares sketching techniques using Tombow markers to create a watercolor effect. The book, which evolved from blog posts he wrote for the Tombow pen company, includes his travel sketching, which Scott calls the “Esperanto of travel,” plus weekly regional expeditions. (To see a sampling of Scott’s colorful Tombow sketches, check out his posts on the aforementioned Urban Sketchers Aotearoa blog.)

Seattle artist and urban sketcher Steve Reddy launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to publish his new book, Now Where Was I? A Sketchbook Memoir. “I’m very proud of the work and the book. I think people, not just sketchers, will enjoy it. It’s big!” Steve said of the 288-page book filled with nearly 700 full-color drawings. The limited press run is for a few hundred copies only, so don’t miss out. It’s available for pre-order now on Steve’s Etsy site.

Steve Reddy's Kickstarter-funded book.
Get ready to party in Paraty! That’s the location of the Fifth International Urban Sketching Symposium in August 2014. Stay up to date on symposium news on the blog and sign up for the e-newsletter.

Share Your News in Drawing Attention and Subscribe!

You know you can read Drawing Attention here on the USK blog – but did you know you can have it delivered straight to your in-box? Subscribe by going to the USK Members page, and use the link near the top. Please send your urban sketching news items with links and images to: drawingattention at urbansketchers dot org. Or tag me, Tina Koyama, on news you post on the Urban Sketchers Facebook page. Happy sketching and happy holidays!





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