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

Chinese New Year Parade

[By Veronica Lawlor] Saturday was the Chinese New Year parade in Flushing, Queens, home of one of the largest Chinese populations in the western hemisphere. "This is going to be good!" I thought, and hopped on the 7 train to do a few drawings. When I got out at the Main Street station expecting crowds, I thought I had missed it - even when I rounded the corner to where the barricades were set up, it was pretty sparse, not the mad tourist scene of the parade in Manhattan's Chinatown. Which was kind of nice, actually, it felt like a very home town celebration. (Also, it was about 10 degrees fahrenheit, so maybe all the smart people stayed home, ha ha!)There were the requisite policemen of any New York City parade, a marching band, a few civic groups, and of course, the lions and dragons that are the highlight of any Chinese New Year festivities. But it seemed the most important part of this parade were the flyers that were handed out to all the bystanders. Ads in Chinese for everything you could imagine, join this religion, hire these lawyers, eat at these restaurants, consult these life coaches...on it went. A bonanza of junk mail wound it's way up Main Street along with the revelers. Even ads for a hospital in the area. The infamous Ronald McDonald got in on the act too, you can see him at the left of the drawing below...
I think the funniest part of the parade was the group of high school students from Francis Lewis high school. Marching along in the midst of the overly-exuberant middle aged parade marchers, they moved silently in their puffy jackets, each with their heads bowed down low, enduring the excruciating pain of being forced by their parents to march in the parade. It was so funny to see them - you can catch a glimpse of a few of them in the midst of my drawing above. It was like they were on a death march. I'm really not exaggerating that much!
The interesting thing about the New Year's parade in Flushing is that the tail end of the parade is made up of Koreans and Korean-Americans. They celebrate the lunar New Year too, of course, and there are many Korean people living in Queens as well. It was so interesting to me to see the total change of graphics between the Chinese and the Korean sections of the parade. The Chinese part was all red and gold and decorative curves everywhere; the Korean section was all blues with large, angular shapes and oversized details. Somewhat like the differences in their calligraphy.The cutest part of the Korean section of the parade were the little boys doing their Taekwondo kicks up the block. Look out!! My favorite though, was one man who was the master of ceremonies of some kind, wearing a large teal robe, a tall black hat, a surgical mask, and a pair of 2014 glasses from January 1. Quite the get up, and he really seemed to enjoy wearing it all and twirling down Main Street.
You may also notice the planes flying overhead in my drawings - we were very close to JFK airport. All in all it was a very enjoyable morning, although I froze to death and dropped my pad into a snow bank more than one time. A few more drawings on my blog here if you're interested. By the way, it's the year of the horse. Kung Hei Fat Choi!





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