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

Walking among a million people.

I never thought I'd walk the street of Bangkok the way I did recently. Of course, it was fun walking in the middle of street on a car free day or by the side for a sketchwalk, but what about taking up the whole street with thousand others? In the protest rally demanding the ousting of the present lady prime minister and her entire cabinet that took place since Nov 1st.
Something of some similarity, but with great differences, happened 40 years ago in October 1973 with the students' uprising against the military regime that cost many lives and dark scar in Thais' political history. Today Thailand, once again, witnessed the near repeat of history in the massive rally of hundreds of thousand of its citizen across the country raising their voice of distrust on the conduct of the ruling political party.

I took part in two of the major events with a sketchbook in hand, the first date was on Sun Nov, 24 and the second day was Mon Dec 9.
Sun 24, 2 PM, Pramote and I took a river boat to the main rally venue as land traffic would prove unwise. We then walk a short distance from the river pier to Ratchdamneon Ave. where lots of things already took place since morning. The rally aimed to amass a million people to the rally site but the figure was never really being verified.
Several mobile platforms with powerful loudspeakers passed by with its rabble rousing propagandas, people cheered with whistles, seemingly the symbolic novel expression tools of the day.
Despite the debatable claim by the protester camp, it was indeed a turn-up of really huge crowd, it must a at least hundreds of thousand if not a million, judged from the aerial photos appeared in the next day's papers. Every now and then, the crowd would get excited by some new large congregation from various provinces outside the capital Bangkok. It was rousing and spectacular indeed.
We walk as if swimming in the sea of people with backs bumping the others' fronts and shoulders rubbing shoulders. No one minds and indeed smiling to each others. Faces were everywhere with all kind of features and emotion. Most adorn some form of symbolic red, white and blue stripes of out national flag. It just occurred to me with surprise and alarm of the implication and meaning of their action. These hundreds of thousand of people were showing their hatred and distrust of the country's lady PM and her exiled brother who was said of being the hand behind all that's happening in Thai politics and all the mess country is running into. Do they really believe in what was said and are what was said is really true?
The rally took place along one of the major avenue with the length of about 1 KM with the main stage situated about 2/3 point of the length. Several smaller stages with large projection screens and powerful sound systems spread along the entire length. The best thing is, in addition to in between music and entertainment stuff, there's also numerous free hand-out food and drink tents everywhere too, so it's the party time feeling in the air.
As night approached, I thought I had enough for the day and started to walk away from the site, figuring out how to get home. Kept walking and found with no surprise that the entire area was a great mess of solid traffic block. Cars were every where, bumpers to bumpers and in all directions. Line of people kept streaming still into the rally site and can be seen filled up the whole bridge across the Chao Phraya River.
I knew instinctively that there was nothing to do but just walking, and I did just that for the next hour to find, at the fringe of the rally site, long row of double decker tour buses that lined up on the road length with bright disco like lighting and blaring political satiric songs.
So, I made the sketch below, just for the road, while enjoying the music of the evening before heading home.
 This blog is part 1 of 2 blogs on the on going civil protest rally in Bangkok.





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