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 - January 2014

Happy 2014, sketchers! Looking back on 2013, Urban Sketchers had an amazing year! Here are the highlights:

Urban Sketchers Organization Achievements

The 4th International Urban Sketching Symposium in Barcelona, Spain, was a huge success, with more than 200 participants, instructors, interpreters and organizers in attendance at the three-day event. Ten participants earned scholarships to attend, and one correspondent reported on the entire event with sketches, thanks to sponsorship from USk.

Urban Sketchers also helped instructors in Montreal (Canada), Seattle (U.S.), Naples (Italy) and Sansepulcro (Italy) bring exciting workshops to their local sketching communities.

A call for the 2014 Urban Sketching Symposium host drew applications from 10 cities worldwide – and Paraty, Brazil, is excited to be selected as the host city! Planning is well under way for the Aug. 27 – 30 event.

To better fulfill its mission of “raising the artistic, storytelling, and educational value of location drawing, promoting its practice and connecting people around the world who draw on location where they live and travel,” the USk Board of Directors reorganized into two boards: an Executive Board and an Advisory Board. 

Worldwide Community Expands and Shares Sketches

Plenty of new Urban Sketchers groups formed in 2013, including New Zealand, North Bay (USA), San Diego (USA), Vancouver, B. C. (Canada), Birmingham (U. K.) and Swansea (Wales). Look on the right-hand border of this blog to see the growing number of communities that meet, sketch and share!

Urban sketchers in Barcelona (Spain), Malaga (Spain), Singapore, Penang (Malaysia), Portland (USA), Memphis (USA) and Seattle (USA) were among artists who showed their work in group exhibitions in 2013, raising awareness of the art of urban sketching in their communities.

Sketchers Publish Books, Exhibit Their Works

Matthew Brehm's book.
Two landmark books on urban sketching were published in 2013: Sketching on Location, by Matthew Brehm (USA), and Freehand Drawing and Discovery: Urban Sketching and Concept Drawing for Designers, by Jim Richards (USA).

And what seems like a record-breaking number of books by urban sketchers was announced for publication in 2014: Steve Reddy’s (USA) Now Where Was I? A Sketchbook Memoir, James Hobbs’ (USA) Sketch Your World, Lapin’s (Spain) Oldies But Goldies and Thomas Thorspecken’s (USA) Urban Sketching: The Complete Guide to Techniques.

Several urban sketchers had solo exhibitions of their work, including Alex Raventós (Spain), André Sandmann (Switzerland), Marcia Milner-Brage (USA), Kiah Kiean (Malaysia), and Jane Wingfield (USA).

What a terrific year for Urban Sketchers! And now, on to new happenings:

Urban Sketchers in Action

Veronica Lawlor's new book.
One Watercolor a Day, part of the One-a-Day series, is a new book by New York urban sketcher Veronica Lawlor.

Montreal sketcher Marc Holmes’ sketches from the Barcelona symposium are published in the current issue of The Artist’s Magazine, which also includes Kansas sketcher Cathy Johnson.

Marc also reports that the science fiction and fantasy illustration magazine ImagineFX published a short article about the Barcelona symposium.

Cathy McAuliffe's sketch
at Mandela's memorial.
Cathy McAuliffe, member of the San Francisco Bay Area Urban Sketchers, reports that the group sketched at a memorial for Nelson Mandela Dec. 11. The South African anti-apartheid leader died Dec. 5. “The San Francisco Bay Area played a big part in the anti-apartheid movement,” Cathy said. “In 1986, California became the largest government in the U.S. to require divestment of South Africa-related investments.”

Wes Douglas announced that Urban Sketchers Chicago will host a sketching weekend June 7 – 8. The event will attract local and visiting urban sketchers from near and far, Wes said. While sketching at various locations throughout downtown Chicago, respected and qualified instructors will teach workshops on location sketching.

A toast to Twin Cities sketchers!
Twin Cities sketchers Ken Avidor, Roberta Avidor, Lisa-Marie Greenly and John Miller have created a series of drink coasters featuring their urban sketches. “Fans of downtown St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood can now set their beers down on a likeness of Mears Park, the St. Paul Farmers Market or the century-old Union Depot,” reports the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Seattle architect and urban sketcher Stephanie Bower is offering a series of workshops at the iconic Pike Place Market this winter with a focus on architecture. The first weekly series in February, “Good Bones,” filled immediately, so a second workshop, “Good Bones 2,” has been offered on March 14 – 16.

Suhita Shirodkar's sketch kit
as shown on Parka Blogs.
James Hobbs, Swasky, Richard Sheppard, Francis Theo, Suhita Shirodkar, Favian Ee, Liz Steel, , Khoo Cheang Jin, Ch'ng Kiah Kiean, Marc Holmes and Marvin Chew are all urban sketchers who have recently been featured in an excellent series of interviews about their art materials on the popular Parka Blogs. If you love peeking into the art kits of other sketchers, check out these interviews!

Tina Koyama's sketch of Gabi's exhibit.
The Museum of History and Industry and USk founder Gabi Campanario invited Seattle Urban Sketchers to attend and sketch at a members-only opening reception for Gabi’s exhibit, “Drawn to Seattle,” on Dec. 3. Better known locally as the Seattle Sketcher, Gabi is exhibiting sketches that have been published in his Seattle Times column since 2009. In celebration of the exhibit and to further involve the community, members of Seattle Urban Sketchers will be leading weekly mini-sketchcrawls at the museum during the next several months. Check out the Seattle Urban Sketchers blog for sketches and photos from the opening reception.

Sketch by Kumi Matsukawa.

Blog Surfin’

A random sampling of USk regional blogs brought up images of food and café sketching in Japan and Eskilstuna, the canals of Venice, enviable (for this Pacific Northwesterner) summer scenes in Australia, and commuters dozing in Taiwan.

Shout it Out in Drawing Attention

Not seeing anything about you or your Urban Sketchers group in Drawing Attention? Then we want to hear from you! 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!





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