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 - February 2014

Urban Sketchers in the News

James Hobbs sketching like a speed demon.
James Hobbs and Simone Ridyard have exciting news to report from the UK. On Jan. 25 they were interviewed about Urban Sketchers on Saturday Live, a national BBC Radio 4 program (the UK's leading radio station). “It has about 2 million listeners,” James said, “although I’m glad I didn’t think about that at the time.” The seven-minute interview occurs about 15 minutes into the program. In addition, the radio station’s website includes a time-lapse video clip of James sketching in the studio (we all wish we could sketch that fast, James! :) ) as well as sketches from the London Urban Sketchers.
Tony Underhill in
Leisure Painting magazine.

Meanwhile, the Manchester Urban Sketchers were recently covered in the online newspaper Mancunian Matters in an article called, “Ready, steady, SKETCH! Manchester artists embrace Urban Sketching to capture city's gems and skylines.” Visit Manchester USk, 450 strong, on Facebook.

The January issue of the monthly painting magazine Leisure Painter includes an article about urban sketching by avid UK Urban Sketcher Tony Underhill. “I thought this would be a good way of spreading the word about the aims and enjoyment of urban sketching,” Tony said. Since the article came out last month, Tony has “had e-mails from a number of readers saying how interesting they found the article and how keen they are to give urban sketching a go.” Part 2 of the article just came out in the February issue with a step-by-step sketching demo by Tony.

James Richards' art on Ft. Worth's
2014 Book of Lists
USk correspondent and Advisory Board member James Richards writes feature articles that include his sketches for the Fort Worth Business Press on the city’s architecture and urban development. One of the sketches depicting the opening of a new downtown urban plaza was chosen as the cover for the Business Press’s 2014 Book of Lists, which lists the area’s largest and fastest growing businesses.  Jim is writing and illustrating the articles in his capacity as a faculty member at the University of Texas at Arlington to help build ties between the school and the Fort Worth/Dallas business community.

Brooklyn (US) Urban Sketcher and USk President Jason Das was recently featured in DNAinfo New York: “Urban Sketch Artist Captures Crown Heights in Living Color.” The article compares urban sketching with Instagram – “capturing the ephemeral moments of city life as they unfold.” “It’s much more documentarian or even journalistic than it is trying to create a beautiful still life,” Jason said of urban sketching. “It’s going to be inevitably less accurate than a photo, but hopefully more expressive.”

Ken Avidor and the Twin Cities (US) Urban Sketchers as well as the Metro Sketchers were featured in the Minneapolis City Pages. The article ends with Ken’s statement on one reason why urban sketching is growing in popularity: “It grounds you when you spend a great deal of time in one place,” he said. “It’s about connecting people with the place they are sketching, and how the person feels about the place.”

Urban Sketchers Malaga


Patrizia Torres reports that Urban Sketchers-Málaga has a group exhibition called "Viviendas sin Vida" – "Houses without Life." The show focuses on “empty houses, old and new dwellings in Malaga, forgotten and abandoned,” even by local authorities.  Check out this video from the exhibit’s opening.

Spanish USk correspondent Isabell Seidel has a solo exhibition of urban watercolors in Ourense.

In Germany, Omar Jamarillo reports that members of USk Berlin recently had an exhibition at the Akademie für Illustration und Design Berlin. Participants included Anja Rieger, Bo Soremsky, Catalina Somolinos, Detlef Surrey, Florian Afflerbach, Katrin Merle, Olga Prudnikova, Omar Jaramillo, Rolf Schröter, Sven Swora, Jens Hübner, Thomas Lensky and Oona Leganovic. See images from the exhibition opening.

Urban Sketchers Singapore
Members of Urban Sketchers Singapore have a group exhibition called “We Drew the World Together” through Feb. 19 at Glocal Connect Village, Temasek Polytechnic. Parka Blogs includes photos from the opening. 

USk membership director Jessie Chapman, who has the first line on new Urban Sketchers, pointed out the sketches of German USk member Dr. Manfred Scholz, who recently had an impressive exhibit. See his Flickr photostream for examples.

Workshops and Other Happenings

Aliette Gousseau is crowdfunding a project with the Mayos Indians.
French Urban Sketcher Aliette Gousseau is crowdfunding her participation in a unique project. According to the Ulule crowdfunding site, Aliette will illustrate a book on the ethnicity of the Mayos Indians of Mexico. She and principal author Francisco Morales Borbon will live three months with the Mayos, sharing their lives and being immersed in their culture. The book will take the form of a travel diary.

Seattle architect, artist and urban sketcher Anita Lehmann is offering a number of workshops in drawing, design, field sketching and watercolor painting in her Seattle studio. Visit Anita’s website and e-mail her for details.

USk-Spain publishes its own monthly newsletter for Spanish sketchers and other interested subscribers. They also publish the fanzine SKETCHER about three times a year. So far the ‘zine has featured Malaga, Barcelona and Zaragoza. The next issue will focus on Galicia.

Melbourne sketchers drawing BIG.
Lee Kline enthusiastically introduced the fledgling North Central Florida (US) Urban Sketchers group. “We want to hear from more artists who live anywhere between Ocala and Orlando,” Lee said. “Since Florida is a place where folks come to stay for winter, we welcome snowbirds.” Interested sketchers can e-mail kkreidler44 (at) gmail (dot) com for info on future sketchcrawls. Check out their blog and Flickr stream.

Liz Steel reports that 70 – 80 Melbourne Urban Sketchers recently participated in “The BIG Draw” event in Federation Square organized with the National Gallery Victoria. They sketched in deck chairs while their sketches from a previous event were projected on a large overhead screen.

Simone Ridyard's workshop at Selfridges.

When Simone Ridyard taught a sketching workshop at the UK department store Selfridges as part of its annual “Festival of Imagination,” her students did a sketch show-and-tell in the ladies' changing rooms!

On the Blog

On the Urban Sketchers blog, a couple of excellent examples of reportage sketching caught my eye in January: Asnee Tasna reports on the Bangkok shutdown, and Inma Serrano continues reportage sketching on Seville’s Corrola Utopia, where 36 evicted, homeless families have taken refuge.

Urban Sketchers groups around the globe participated in the 42nd World Wide SketchCrawl on Jan. 25, a quarterly event. Take a look at what they sketched that day in the Philippines, Japan, Argentina and Austin, Texas (US), among many.

What's Going On? 

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. To receive Drawing Attention by e-mail, subscribe here. Happy sketching!





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