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".
Blog
Flickr

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

panoramarathon

3rd street Davis panorama

Davis, CA: You know when you have those periods where you don't sketch much, you feel uninspired, the busy-ness of life just gets in the way and you can't seem to derive pleasure from that blank page and that bag of pens? I feel like I've had a bit of that the past few months (ok, as was pointed it out to me, I still draw all the time even when I think I'm not). And then you know when, despite being even busier with work and all the other things you have to do, you suddenly get kickstarted into life again in an unusually energetic way? I've had a bit of that lately. Just before New Year I cycled downtown on a crisp clear sunny day (we get a lot of those in Davis, this is the land that weather forgot) and sketched a two-page spread of some buildings on 3rd Street that I've meant to sketch for a while, buildings painted in a colourful and unusual way. Then a couple of days later I went down to C St, just around the corner on the same block, and sketched the view below, featuring a frat house built on the site of an even older building I had never sketched, and 'Panoramarathon' was born.

C St panorama dec31 2013 sm

I had a bunch of spreads left in this Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook I've been kinda putting up with, but I am determined to finish with a flurry, so each page must be full-on panorama. I like the word panoramarathon, and I invented it so there. It's always more fun when there are so many bare leafless trees to draw as well. I've generally been doing all the ink on site and finishing off the colour at home but I have been going pretty quickly, with gritted-teethed determination.

sophia's bar, davis

Oh, they don't have to be outside; I have at least one interior bar panorama already, the bar at Sophia's, on E St Davis. That was a fun evening, in a place I last sketched in 2012 (and they still remembered me, one bar staff member even had that older sketch on her phone! Or just Googled it, maybe). I really wanted to make sure I had the fishtank in this one.

olson and sproul, uc davis

Above is on the UC Davis campus, the big white blocks of Olson and Sproul Halls. I think Sproul (on the right) is the tallest building in Davis, not counting the water tower. I say I think, like after eight years I wouldn't know, but I don't see myself falling over any other big skyscrapers in this town.

E St Davis panorama

These two (above and below) form a pair, mirrored (look at the signs), as in fact they are on opposing sides of the same block, one on E St and the other on D St. Go through the alleys in the top picture and you will end up coming through the alleys in the bottom picture. Incidentally the bottom one was sketched over two sessions, a Sunday afternoon and a Monday lunchtime. The top one was a Saturday afternoon session, during which an odd person approached me and asked if I was 'pretending to be an artist' (to which I replied 'are you pretending to be funny?'). The next day the same bloke (I think it was the same bloke) spoke over my shoulder while I was in the newsagents buying a Snickers bar, he said something about Snickers being good sh*t and that he survived at the top of a mountain eating only Snickers. Odd fellow, but little did he know I was on a Panoramarathon, not a Panoramasnickers.

D St panorama: PANORAMARATHON continues!

Then there is 1st street, an old building with a Dutch Colonial roof and a Sorority house (Delta Delta Delta) which has, as you can make out, been "tee-peed". Someone has imaginatively redecorated parts of the house in toilet paper (a common prank in the States they just can't wipe out).

1st st panorama, davis CA

Back onto the UC Davis campus below, the rear end of Walker Hall.

panoramarathon: walker hall

Panoramarathon continues! There are more to come. Still a few pages left in this book and then I might collapse in a heap on the floor frothing at the mouth. I hope you are having a Happy 2014.

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