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


Patrick Greene who is the curator at The Gallery at Avalon Island, 39 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, FL, asked me to be a part of the TrIP Project. The TrIP Project has artists and writers ride the Lynx bus system to report on the mass transit system in Orlando. The first plan was for me to sketch Benoit Glaser and several other musicians who were going to play their instruments on the bus. Unfortunately Patrick gave me the wrong date and I knocked on Benoit's door a day early. A second option was to sketch Genevieve Bernard's Voci Dance who did an interpretive dance performance on a bus. However, a close friend and artistic spirit, Mary Hill, took her own life and I needed to go to her memorial service that day. The bus tickets sat in my pocket unused for the longest time.

Finally, I saw that there was going to be a reading at The Gallery at Avalon Island called, "There Will Be TrIP" on January 14th. I decided I would take the bus downtown for this reading. When I graduated high school, I decided to go to the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I stayed with my parents the first two years and took a bus to the city everyday. The bus ride and consequent subway rides took well over three hours out of the day. Since I also had to get back, that was six hours in transit. Sketchbooks at the time became filled with sketches of fellow passengers. I didn't own or drive a car for the entire decade I commuted to and stayed in NYC. When I came to Orlando to work for Disney Feature Animation, I got off the plane, took one driving education course and then got my drivers license at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Within the first week I had purchased my very first car, a sweet Honda del Sole convertible. Not once did I ever take a bus in Orlando.

On the morning of January 14th, I got ready for my TrIP adventure. It was raining, so I put my sketchbooks in a zip top plastic bag and put on a full set of rain gear that included plastic pants. I looked like I was ready for an Arctic Expedition. Google Maps on my iPhone said the closest bus stop would be near Universal Studios. It was a four mile hike. The reading downtown was going to be at 7pm. I left at 2pm since I had no clue what I was doing. I hiked through isolated suburban side streets and marveled at all the McMansions surrounding a lake I walked around. The rain was persistent but light. I felt a little uncomfortable walking with my hoodie up since Trevor Martin had been gunned down for walking in a neighborhood much like this I imagined. Someone was just recently shot for texting during the previews at a movie theater. People with guns are crazy in Florida.

Besides raining it was also hot and humid which meant I was getting wet from the inside out rather than from the outside in. When the rain became the faintest mist, I took off the rain jacket to vent some body heat. One of the side streets leading to the bus stop turned out to be the entrance to a gated community. I would have to walk around the gated community adding more miles to my hike. I realized when I was maybe one mile from the bus stop that, had I driven, I would already be downtown and parking,

I walked past a bustling middle school with long lines of cars waiting to pick up children. I realized this was a prime sketch opportunity although I imagined some parent might question my motives. When I arrived at the bus stop it was 3:30pm. I had been hiking for an hour and a half. Five construction workers in bright green vests were at the stop. Conversation was about car envy. A female worker lamented a friend who had a job and makes money on the side. Her friend could afford a Honda Civic. The construction workers make about $150 a day helping build a huge new motel right next to Universal. A large SUV driven by a fellow construction worker pulled up and they all piled in. The 21 bus that I was waiting for didn't arrive for another hour at least.

On board, the large female driver had to help me figure out how to insert the ticket into the column shaped payment device. Digital lights and numbers gave me too much information to look at. The ticket got sucked in and then spit back out. On the back of the ticked, I found out I could board any bus until 3am in the evening, after that the ticket was void. On the bus, people sat in tight constrained poses clutching bags with arms crossed.  A mom boarded with her excited little girl. They likely had just been at Universal. The child's eyes were filled with delight.  This bus trip was a fresh adventure for her. They sat next to me and I saw the girl motioning to her mom to look at what I was up to. She sat on her moms lap and watched every line and wash as it splashed on the page. At the Valencia College bus stop a gorgeous woman got on and stood right beside the driver checking her phone periodically. I sketched her quickly, so happy she had brightened the scene. Sketching on the bus got me motion sick. The bus lurched and pitched every time it stopped and it stopped 65 times on the route downtown. The driver also had a lead foot. Perhaps she had learned to drive at the Daytona racetrack.

At 5pm I arrived at Central and Garland Avenue downtown near Church Street Station. The walk to Avalon was less than a mile, so I figure the TrIP probably took three and a half hours whereas a drive downtown usually takes me half an hour but I park in the suburbs to avoid meters and being towed, so the walk can be an extra half an hour or so. So my assessment is, Bus = 3 1/2 hours and Car = 1 hour. The good news is that if I ever got drunk downtown, I know what bus would get me to within 4 miles of my home. But why would I get drunk downtown? Since I was early, I decided to go to Jimmy John's to get a sandwich. I checked into Avalon where artwork and poetry was being hung on the walls. A poem by Naomi Butterfield was hung by a painting by Parker Sketch. The show is titled "I Believe."





USk News$type=blogging$ct=0$au=0$m=0$show=


[Workshops Blog]$type=two$c=12$ct=0$m=0$show=