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

Expressive Urban Sketching - Cockatoo Island Workshop

SOLD OUT! - We are happy to announce the Expressive Urban Sketching workshop is now full. Sorry to those who have missed out. 

If you are interested in signing up for a waiting list please mail uskaustralia(at) and we will contact you in the event any current students have to cancel.
Hopefully we will be able to run this workshop again!

Workshop description

Cockatoo Island is a spectacular heritage listed island right in the middle of Sydney harbour with a fascinating history including convict imprisonment and decades of shipbuilding.  There are many layers of the past, all kinds of interesting industrial and historical structures, amazing spaces, an abundance of textures and materials – all with a story to tell. It is an exciting place to visit and an inspiring location to sketch.

Join Urban Sketchers Paul Wang and Liz Steel for a 2 day workshop which will explore ways of capturing the amazing fabric and texture of Cockatoo Island on the page. 

(Photo by Tim Mooney –

We believe that sketching should be personal, spontaneous and a lot of fun. This experimental workshop is aimed to give you the tools and the confidence to take risks and express yourself when urban sketching.

It will involve
•    experimenting with alternative drawing tools in order to create an arsenal of expressive marks and expressive mixes.
•     exploring ways of creating a sketch with a strong focal point and allowing for expressive design.
•    creating a bold & fluid exchange between sketching, mark-making and painting – one that suits your own personal approach to urban sketching.

The workshop will include both directed exercises that expand the creative mind as well as spontaneous experimental sketching from the heart.

Each session will begin with a discussion/ demonstration of various techniques by the instructors followed by an exploratory exercise for the participants.  These techniques will then be applied in a more finished sketch during the second half of the session - each session occurring in a different part of the island.

Expressive Marks
Explore: the range of lines and marks with one simple tool and then expand this to a creative matrix for all tools and mediums
Apply: Line Drawing using a combination of these marks

Expressive Mixing

Explore: Different properties of media and water - watercolour pigments and water soluble tools. Using resists. Mixing colours, Combining different media to create texture and colour
Apply: Mixing Lines and Colours and working back and forth between drawing and painting

Expressive Design
Explore: How to simplify a complex scene into shapes and choose a strong focus. How to develop the sketch working out from the focus using a spiral or crossword design.
Apply: Choose one method and sketch the scene

Express Yourself

Explore: Ways of implementing some of these experiments into your own work.
Apply: Free sketching in afternoon


Learning Goals

•    To explore a range of marks and lines that can be created using alternative drawing tools, medis and techniques -  eg twigs, bamboo pens, different inks, water soluble pencils, crayons
•    To understand the different properties of mixing various media with each other and with water - splashing, mixing colours on paper, scratching/scraping, using resists
•    To learn ways of combining techniques and media
•    To be able to simplify a complex scene and identify a single strong focal point with a story
•    To develop the story moving out from the focal point with a spontaneous approach to composition
•    To implement these experimental techniques to your own sketching


Workshop Schedule

Thursday 20 March
Pre-Workshop Meet and Greet – An informal gathering at a restaurant/café to provide a chance to meet other participants. Location TBA

Friday 21 March  9:30am - 4.30pm

9.30am -10.00am     Workshop introduction
10.00am-12.30pm    Expressive Marks 
1.00pm- 2.00pm       Lunch
2.00pm - 4.00pm      Expressive Mixing
4.00pm -4.300pm      Review

Saturday 22 March 9:30am - 4.30pm

9.30am-1.00pm       Expressive Design
1.00pm- 2.00pm      Lunch
2.00pm- 4.00pm      Express Yourself
4.00pm -4.300pm    Review

Saturday 22 March 4.30 - 8.00pm

Open Sketchcrawl on the Island - more details will be posted separately.


Workshop location

Cockatoo Island, Sydney Australia

Getting There: Regular ferries to the island from Circular Quay(in the downtown of Sydney) along the F3 line to Parramatta. Use  the trip planner to check ferry times.
There will be additional ferries because of the Biennale of Sydney which starts on the same weekend as the workshop. The last ferry from the island leaves at around 9pm.

Suggestions for Accommodation: Staying in the city (or areas easily accessible from Circular Quay) or anywhere on the F3 ferry line. Or maybe you would like to camp or 'glamp' (glamorous camping)  on the island. We do expect that there will be some participants that will be camping on the island but recommend book your tent as soon as possible as spots are limited (the houses/ apartments are already booked months in advance) 

Cost and Registration:

$230.00 AUD

including a sketchbook from Stillman and Birn, a Daniel Smith 'Paul Wang Palette'  dotcard,  and a small kit containing 3 special Daniel Smith watercolour paints and some salt, wax and Chinese ink.
Email Liz uskaustralia {at} gmail {dot} com
Payment can be via cheque, internet transfer or paypal

Cancellation Policy: All fees are fully refundable if cancelled prior to 7 March 2014. If cancelled after 7 March, a $25.00AUD cancellation fee will be retained. In the event of too few registrants, all monies will be refunded.

Maximum Number of Participants

25 participants maximum. Any level welcome but some drawing experience is recommended.



Stillman and Birn will be giving a sketchbook to all participants

About the Instructors:

Paul Wang has loved art since he was a child and is now actively sharing this passion as an art and design educator both in Singapore and abroad. He spent his younger years studying both Interior Architecture and Technical Theatre Design. With his multi-disciplinary and multi-sensory training, his sketches and paintings are always bursting with dramatic colours, just like a scene on stage. Urban Sketching is his unique way of encapsulating the urban landscape on paper and retelling stories. He is both an active Urbansketchers’ blog correspondent and a board member.


Liz Steel  graduated in Architecture at University of NSW and has spent 18 years working as an architect in Sydney, specializing in media projects. She is currently teaching regular on-location sketching classes and workshops throughout Australia as well as doing architectural illustrations for clients all around the world. She is the founder and coordinator of the Urban Sketchers Australia .






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