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

Pinewood Derby racing with my 6 year old

My 6 year old is a boy scout, so we were introduced to our very first Pinewood Derby Race this year. If you grew up in the US and were a scout, or had a scout for a sibling, you probably know how this works ( and might even have a few little pinewood cars tucked away in a box somewhere), but it was all new to me: you get a block of wood and a set of wheels and a list of dos and don't : no using batteries, no engines, no building cars weighing over 5oz. You have a few weeks to turn the block of wood into a car and take it to the races.
Race Day is VERY exciting: looking at all the cars, finding out their names, ( my son named his Death Stalker, which kinda worries me) and best of all, racing them on the tracks.

There are so many race categories, but every little scout (and his dad) wants to win the race for the fastest car. A pretty high tech ramp races the cars against each other and times them to the microsecond.

Besides "Fastest Car" there are other things you can win at: "Go the Distance" measures how far your car goes down a ramp and then along a flat plane. "To the Line" measures how close you can get your car to a given point. Older scouts with very serious titles like "Vehicle Escort Official" and "Security" help measure and record distances.

The winners and awards? They're a month away at our next meeting, and with prizes for slowest car, funniest car and best car that doesn't look like a car, every little scout is going to go home with some award!

More sketches and some photographs from our first Pinewood Derby, on my blog.



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